Tip of spear. Ahead of the curve. Leader. All are accurate descriptions for the new Forefront. A full-coverage helmet ideal for all-mountain riding or racing, the Forefront's AEROCORE construction featuring Koroyd creates a low volume helmet with ventilated protection that fully integrates with your sunglasses, goggles, light, or POV camera.
The Forefront uses what Smith calls Aerocore construction to provide its impact protection. A plastic shell and inner
EPS layer forms the helmet's exoskeleton, and three sections of Koroyd (the bright green material in the photos) are situated underneath this shell, directly above the rider's head. Koroyd is made using thousands of co-polymer tubes that are thermally welded together, forming a honeycomb like structure claimed to offer up to 30% more impact absorption than EPS. The material's straw-like hollow tubes are also claimed to allow for much greater breathability than EPS or foam.
The multiple adjustments on the Forefront make it easy to dial in the perfect fit after a few minutes of tinkering, and the rear retention strap dial has a nice solid, positive click at each position. Despite the minimal amount of padding, the Forefront was quite comfortable, and although it doesn't reach the pillow-like level of cushioning found in Troy Lee's A1 helmet, it faded into the background nicely, becoming barely noticeable over the course of a ride. As would be expected from a helmet made by a company that has the word 'Optics' in their name, the Forefront worked well with both sunglasses and goggles, providing enough room over the brow and around the ears to prevent any interference. Regarding ventilation, we never felt overheated on any of our rides, although the bulk of our testing did take place during the more mild fall and winter months. Still, we did take the helmet on numerous warm rides in the Arizona desert, and Forefront proved to be up to the task. The helmet doesn't feel quite as airy as the large external vents would suggest, since the inner Koroyd layer dissipates the wind a bit, but the ventilation and breathability are still excellent - the open structure of the Koroyd gives the heat rising from a rider's head plenty of channels for escape.
Smith's Vaporfit retention system uses a ratcheting dial at the back of the helmet to adjust the helmet's fit around the head, and the positioning of the strap can be further customized by choosing from three different height options at the back of the helmet and four options on each side. A low profile, removable liner uses X-static fabric to help ward off bacteria and the general helmet-funk that can be caused by hours of sweat buildup. There are three positions for the Forefront's compact, removable visor, and it can be adjusted without fiddling around with tiny screws that inevitably get dropped onto the forest floor. Hidden under a plastic cap at the top of the helmet is a small threaded insert that can accept a helmet camera or a light mount, which Smith will be selling as an aftermarket accessory for $14.99.
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