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Road Gear

Specialized Prevail II Vent: Details and first ride review

Same fit and tech-heavy function; now with more airflow thanks to Aramid replacing foam.

More than a decade after the original Prevail launched, Specialized has again fine-tuned its top-end road helmet, now with more air flow thanks to removing some foam parts in favor of an Aramid structure.

The Prevail II Vent retains the ovalized shape and overall vent structure, including the port at the forehead. But removing some foam makes for a 20 percent increase in the overall vented areas, Specialized says.

Also carrying forward are the MIPS SL pads. Instead of using a yellow plastic MIPS insert to reduce rotational impacts, there are small pads that rotate to accomplish the same goal.

And still here is the ANGI crash sensor, a small electronic device at the back of the helmet that can detect a crash and send a text message when paired with Specialized’s app. It also works with Strava (and the Specialized app) to provide GPS-based activity tracking.

Specialized ditched some foam in favor of these Aramid skeletal supports, thus opening up the vents.

Also carrying forward are the Tri-Fix strap system (which isn’t adjustable under the ears), the Mindset HairPort II adjustment system, and the $250 price.

A medium CPSC version weighs 265g.

So yes, it’s basically the same helmet as the Prevail II but with better venting. Thus, the name.

What’s not carrying forward are the bold, racy colors Specialized often uses. Gone are the ‘rocket red’ and the ‘acid pink’, and in their place are more subdued matte blacks, whites, and cream.

The four color options.

Prevail II Vent ride impressions

I like this helmet for some basic reasons: It fits me well, I appreciate how it looks, and it’s comfortable (and, yes, ventilated).

The Prevail II Vent sits relatively low on the head, wrapping down over the temples.

When wearing enormous sunglasses like the POC Aim, there is basically no gap between the two. I like that.

I appreciate how a medium (55-59cm) fits my 59cm head. Often medium helmets with the same 55-59cm range don’t fit me, which I chalk up to a rounder shell. Your head obviously may be a different shape!

I also appreciate how sunglasses stay snugly in place when tucked into the vents just above the forehead. The Prevail II Vent doesn’t have any rubberized bits like the $110 Airnet (one of my favorite Specialized helmets), but POC, 100%, and Oakley arms stay in place just fine.

The dial adjustment works well enough, and can be adjusted vertically for fit. One thing I like about Specialized’s system is how you can pull the height-adjustment pieces clean out, then tighten the whole mechanism down and tuck it inside the shell for travel.

The straps are a mixed bag for me. The splitters under the ear fit me fine, so they are a non-issue; it’s a lighter, svelter solution than adjustable buckles. Some riders prefer to have adjustability. Where the straps attach to the sides of the helmet is kinda funky to me. I’m a glasses-over-straps guy, so having the straps protrude out away from the head wouldn’t be how I would design it. But that’s a pretty minor nit to pick.

All in all, the Prevail II Vent does what a great helmet should: it fits comfortably and securely, offers safety in a few ways, coexists nicely with sunglasses, and it looks good. And, yeah, the vents work, too.