The Smith Engage MIPS is the latest mountain bike helmet from a brand that built its reputation on snow goggles, but has since developed sophisticated, high-end cycling products.
The Smith Engage MIPS uses the popular MIPS liner, which refers to a slippery plastic layer able to twist internally and slide across the scalp to absorb potentially harmful energy in a crash. MIPS adds a fraction of extra weight, but is now well accepted by most riders for its boost in protection.
The Smith Engage MIPS helmet is a cheaper and slightly less feature-rich open face than Smith’s Forefront 2 we’ve tested previously in our famed best mountain bike helmets group test, but shares that lid’s slick styling and retention system.
Smith’s lid fits every bit as well as its pricier siblings, and stays absolutely rock-solid whatever shapes you pull. Even with minimal tension on the rear dial (that cinches in all the way round the skull when twisted) the Engage doesn’t jiggle or wriggle, and it also has thinner, lighter and less obtrusive straps. The Engage’s densely-padded and absorbent interior perfectly cradles your skull and soaks up sweat impressively.
Smith’s lid is marginally less well ventilated than some other premium helmets (and also significantly less airy at the forehead than its sister Forefront 2 helmet with its double brow ports).
The Engage is a very refined product that more than makes up for having slightly less ventilation compared to other helmets with better stability, comfort and (to my mind) styling. If you like Smith’s approach and fit and have more money to spend, you can also look at the (much) pricier Forefront 2 for extra features like Koroyd and better cooling.
In terms of construction quality, fit, comfort and styling, the Smith Engage MIPS helmet looks every bit as polished as helmets costing much more. It’s not quite as airy as some lids, which won’t suit the sweatiest riders, and it’s also a bit heavier and more cash than rival lids. None of these drawbacks stop us recommending it though, and the snug, rock-solid Engage is a top-quality helmet for a big chunk less cash than Smith’s top-end offerings.