Smith make exceptional bicycle helmets and cycling sunglasses. I have used their accessories for many of my past trans-continental bikepacking tours, because they are exceedingly comfortable and built to offer the highest level of protection.
The Smith Trace MIPS Helmet and Smith Optics Attack Max Sunglasses are new releases from the Italian brand. They have fast become my go-to choice—offering the highest level of performance, comfort, design, and protection.
Review – Smith Trace MIPS Bicycle Helmet
The new Smith Trace MIPS Helmet builds on the strengths of my favourite Smith Overtake Helmet; with subtle design tweaks to supply added comfort and flair.
Like the Overtake, the Trace helmet uses Smith’s signature Koroyd technology. This honeycomb polymer structure material is built into the shell of the helmet; its superb impact resistance has allowed Smith to reduce the overall weight of the helmet by minimising the volume of the helmet’s shell material, yet still offering the highest level of protection. The reduced weight is an obvious benefit, but I have also found that the Koroyd structure helps to increase protection from the elements and from insects; allowing heat and moisture to escape, but reducing the influx of rain, snow, and flies through the vent holes of the helmet.
The Trace also utilises the same super-comfortable VaporFit cradle design found on the Overtake helmet. This highly adjustable cradle supplies a secure and stable fit, without pressure points or hotspots. The cradle is lined with X-Static foam padding with an anti-bacterial treatment, and it is also easily removed for frequent washing.
Where the Trace moves ahead of the Overtake (pun intended) is in the MIPS technology used in the cradle design. MIPS is a patented design that allows the helmet’s cradle to move independently from the outer shell; which means that in case of an impact there is less rotational torsion on the wearer’s skull—potentially reducing the level of trauma suffered. I have not tested this feature fortunately, but I have heard many health professionals sighting the significant benefits of the MIPS technology used in many top-end bicycle helmets.
Finally, it is worth mentioning the styling of the Smith Trace Helmet—because, it is super cool. I chose the classy matte blue colour scheme, which blends seamlessly with a multitude of outfits. The shape and vent design of the Trace is also stylish and subtle; with none of the outlandish shapes or profiles seen in many aero cycling helmets on the market today.
Summing up, the Smith Trace MIPS ticks all the boxes for a comfortable, stylish, and highly protective bicycle helmet. I have worn it all day without any hotspots or pressure points developing, and have matched it to more kits and bikes than I can count. Luckily, I have not had to test the impact-protection of the product, but I feel safe in the knowledge that the secure fit and patented MIPS technology, along with the unique Kyroyd design, will offer enhanced protection in the event of a crash.
A superb bicycle helmet for racing, gravel, and adventure cycling.
Review – Smith Optics Attack Max ChromaPop Sunglasses
To match the Smith Trace helmet, I invested in a set of Smith Optics Attack Max ChromaPop Sunglasses, after previously experiencing the superb standard Attack road cycling sunglasses. The Smith Attack Max Sunglasses use a similar design to the original Attack, but with larger lenses for increased protection and eye coverage.
The lenses use Smith’s ChromaPop technology to offer exceptional clarity of vision and impact resistance. Lenses are also highly interchangeable and available in photochromic versions; to allow for maximum adaptability to changing light levels.
In my opinion, one of the best features of the Smith Optics Attack Max is the fit and feel of these cycling sunglasses. The sunglasses’ arms attach with a neat click-on design—designed to disengage if the glasses were to be torn from your face. These arms also have a special adaptable wrap-around design, which offers great comfort on your temples—even with a variety of head shapes and sizes. The nosepiece has a two-width adjustment, to allow for differences in face shapes; something that also helps with best positioning for ventilation. I have found that even on extreme off-road descents the Smith Attack Sunglasses are secure and comfortably planted—perfect for gravel riding and all-day adventures.
Disclaimer: Smith Optics provided Life In The Saddle with a Trace Helmet and Attack Max Sunglasses for test and review