£200 > Drag-evad­ing hel­met

Cycling Plus - - NEW KIT -

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.

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