SPECIALIZED S-WORKS EVADE II
£200 > Drag-evading helmet
ONE OF THE ORIGINAL AERO road helmets, the Evade looked fast, but Specialized designed it with software, only ratifying the finished product in its, then newly-built, wind tunnel. For the S-Works Evade II, aerodynamics took centre stage from the start.
It’s said that of ventilation, light weight and aerodynamics, you’ll only achieve two in one design. Specialized went for a full house, and with our large sized 59-63cm example weighing 291g, it’s made a decent start. The Evade could never be feather light since it has fewer vents and more EPS and outer shell than a regular helmet, but its mass isn’t noticeable.
Multi-density EPS foam and an internal Aramid-reinforced skeleton provide impact protection around the shell, and the Mindset HairPort 2 retention system adjusts to five heights as well as for volume with a rear dial.
The new Evade is compact, sitting low on the head and barely protruding further than our ears. It’s a good fit for a round head circumference, and simple to adjust for a secure feel. The suspended Gutter Action brow pad allows airflow to evaporate some moisture, and it extends to the ears to help disperse sweat. Tri-Fix splitters locate the straps ideally, and the magnetic buckle can be flicked shut with one hand. We did find the lightweight DryLite webbing straps slipped a little in the buckle, loosening it occasionally.
Ten vents are aligned with five internal channels, and the cowled triple exit port removes heat fast. It feels surprisingly airy, and more like the best ventilated helmet than a typical road aero model. Specialized says the Evade is as cool as a bare head, and although that’s a bold one to quantify, even when climbing hard at slow speeds on days when the temperature exceeded 30 degrees, it does retain a cooling effect. At high speed there’s no wind noise or air pressure on the tail when looking behind.
The new Evade is said to be six seconds faster than the original one over 40km, but 50 seconds faster than a traditional road helmet. Whether factual or placebo, the Evade feels rapid, and its fit and comfort when riding hard make it our first choice road aero helmet.