When it comes to choosing helmets, I have a few requirements before I am willing to enter the public eye while wearing one. First and foremost, it has to fit my head correctly; I can’t stand a helmet that sits too high or too low, making an already awkward accessory that much more so. Second, aesthetics count, I want a helmet that looks good, color, shape, it all matters and last but certainly not least it better be comfortable. There is nothing worse than having a brain bucket that is irritating or causing discomfort during a long day on the trail.
Smith Forefront 2: $230.00
Enter Smith’s Forefront 2 Helmet. My previous trail helmet was also a Smith in the form of the Session, a helmet that I quite enjoyed, so when allowed to upgrade to Forefront 2 a happily accepted. The Forefront 2 is a robust trail helmet with ample protection without ever feeling cumbersome. The dial closure system makes for precise and easy adjustment while on the move, and there is plenty of space for goggle and glasses storage with a simple flip of the visor.
Perhaps what I like most about the Forefront 2 besides it’s Matte Gravy color and copper accents is that it is virtually unnoticeable while riding. The Forefront 2 fits snug, there is no rattle or squeaking of any kind, and for a bonus, it comes with Mips technology in the off chance you bounce your skull off the earth.
I have been sporting the Forefront 2 for the better part of the year, and it goes with me on trips across the country and to the local trails. If TSA happens to do a Hulk Hogan style leg drop on my luggage and break it, I won’t think twice about ordering a new one up.
Smith Attack MTB: $249.00
In combo with the Forefront 2, I have been wearing the Smith Attack MTB Sunglasses. Sunglasses on the trail in Pennsylvania can be tricky business. The woods here are thick and lush in the summertime, leaving the same amount of light available in the middle of the day that one finds at dusk making a dark lense more of a handicap than an advantage. With the Attack MTB frames, lenses are interchangeable, and the ChromaPop low light Amber lens is just what the doctor ordered or maybe, in this case, the optometrist.
The Amber lens gives just enough light protection transitioning from openings in the canopy to the dark woods, and the wide frames provide ample coverage for protection against everything else that one may encounter on the trail. The Attack MTB has an ideal fit for trail riding, no part of the frame obstructs the riders view and the ChromaPop lenses seem to enhance vision. I realize that may sound silly or come off as marketing speak, to me, that is the sign of excellent optics. You can compare and contrast if you wish, grab a pair of shades at the dollar store and then head to the bike shop or local mall and try on some high-end athletic optics and tell me there’s no difference.
The Attack MTB’s have been my go-to for trail riding, and the Amber low-light lens has made the difference for riding on the east coast. When I head to the open mountain trails of the west, I pop in the darker lenses, and I’m good to go.
You can find both products on smithoptics.com