Smith wanted to offer the benefits of the Forefront at a lower price point, so now offers a cheaper Rover helmet
Smith already offers a highly-rated helmet using its eye-catching, tubular Koroyd Aerocore technology. This looks like a load of drinking straws glued together, which collapse on impact.
The technology is also excellent at expelling moisture and heat and, combined with superb fit and security, the Smith Forefront has become my go-to helmet over the last couple of seasons.
Smith wanted to offer these benefits at a lower price point, so now offers a cheaper Rover helmet with a more traditional shape. It significantly reduces the amount of Aerocore material, targeted only at the key impact areas around the temples. The overall volume is different too — more pronounced ventilation channels drive air well over the head, but the shell protrudes further from the skull, particularly around the forehead.
For extra cash, the Rover is available with a MIPS insert, which can reduce rotational forces by twisting around the scalp in an impact, and Smith custom- trims the plastic liner to further increase ventilation, which is a neat detail.
The Rover’s cooling and fit is decent, and it’s easy to tighten and adjust with one gloved hand. A major drawback is the fixed visor — the tilting, two-position system found on the Forefront is preferable and doesn’t protrude into your eyeline. The bulky section of EPS at the forehead is also very visible when looking a long way down the trail.
Obviously, the Rover is designed to a price point, but with so little Aerocore shell, there’s actually not that much in common with the performance of its excellent stablemate, and no escaping the fact the Rover feels, fits and performs like a cheaper product.
If you want the full Smith helmet experience you need to stump up the extra cash since there are other similarly priced products that offer better vision, breathability and performance.