Two years ago, Smith debuted the Forefront and Overtake helmets. While they put them into the helmet space, and did so with panache; the helmets were striking, using a new safety material called Koroyd. The colored, cellular material made for big ports with colorful designs while telling a new safety story; the cellular design serving to port air, at the same time with a superior crush capability that studies have shown to have survivability superior to that of EPS foam. But pair the two up, and you have a damn safe helmet. Add MIPS shear impact technology, and Smith’s helmets are among the safest in the world.

At PressCamp Park City, Smith was present to debut a new helmet, one that takes the Koroyd story to the masses. Enter the new Route road helmet, and Rover MTB helmet.  The helmets are effectively the same, save for the Rover mountain bike helmet having a bit more aft protection, and a visor. And at a fraction the price of their predecessors, it gets top-shelf technology in the hands of more people.

(Oh, and that tri helmet we’ve seen the likes of Bella Luxford, Callum Millward and Jodie Swallow wearing at races this year? Patience, grasshopper. It may or may not be ready for prime time. Think Kona. Maybe. I dunno.)


Back to the Route and Rover: a clever video shown to the media identified the core consumer. It’s not targeted at the triathlete, the roadie, the racer, the age grouper. Rather it’s the former pro skier. An accountant. A barkeep. An art director. A commercial finance director. Just, people. Every day people. You may rock the Forefront. But shouldn’t your spouse, your kids have supreme protection as well?

Additionally, when we’re not racing, we’re getting coffee. Or riding with the kids. We’re people, too.

“We wanted to bring our protection story to a user group that’s less thrill seekers, a broader audience,” says Smith road/tri marketing manager Mallory Burda. “They care about clean styling and protection—but they’re real people.”

And that’s important; just because you A) aren’t racing or B) can’t afford the best doesn’t mean you can’t have close to the same level of impact protection. The honeycomb Koroyd technology is solid (a technology that will prove to have an interesting testing and development backstory soon) and has a unique look to boot. But as with anything this advanced, technology costs money. As much as some may want it, a price of upwards of  $280 for a helmet with a MIPS liner was simply too expensive.

Read more…