I had recently came into the possession of a sweet looking S-Works helmet courtesy of Specialized after cracking my other beloved helmet, and in the past month, the S-Works Prevail had accompanied me on numerous trail rides and mountain bike rides. As promised, the goal was to see if the Prevail is indeed the right helmet for me and I also wore the S-Works Prevail at the 2015 Singapore National Mountain Bike Championships (XCO), where I managed to clinch the National Championship title. So, did cooler heads truly prevail? Read on to find out!
Superior ventilation is one of the biggest selling points of the race-day optimised S-Works Prevail. In my first impressions I commented on the incredibly high number of vents on the helmet. Throughout the month, the Prevail proved that its 31 vents were highly effective in keeping my head cool. It is not only the number of vents that made the difference, but also the size and placement of the vents. If you look carefully, the vents are arranged very neatly in a straight line, channelling air over your head as smoothly and as quickly as possible through them.
Lorong Asrama is known to be a notoriously hot course. Although the Men’s Elite XCO race started at 8am in the morning, by 9am, the sun was already high above us and roasting the participants. The Prevail did well in keeping my head cool, allowing me to stay calm and stick to my race plan. Post-race, despite being sunburnt and thoroughly exhausted from a fierce battle, I did not suffer from any headaches!
The only downside I can find with the huge vents is the helmet hair it gives you a very bad hair day. So, just keep this good looking lid on your head until you get home!
2. Comfort and Padding
I’ve worn this helmet exclusively for all my rides the past one month. Never once did I have the urge to remove the helmet due to discomfort or stuffiness. The light weight of the Prevail also contributed to the comfort as I did not experience any neck or shoulder aches. Although the padding was thin, it proved to be very comfortable. With some helmets, I experience some discomfort or irritation near the forehead area where the padding contacts the skin. However, I did not experience this with the Prevail.
In my first impressions, I commented about how I was surprised that the Trifix system did not offer much adjustability. After taking the helmet for so many rides, I have reached a conclusion that this is a minor niggle that would only irritate the most fussy of heads, such as mine. While I was not irritated by the fact that the Trifix plastic pieces rested on my jawbone instead of higher up, I was slightly annoyed by the loose strap at the back of my ear which flapped in the wind and tickled the tip of my ear.
I normally hand wash my helmet pads, but I decided to put the Prevail’s pads to the washing machine test as I believed some of you readers would use your washing machine. I placed the pads in a wash bag and into the washing machine. The pads were undamaged after the wash and smelt nice. The pads also did not shrink in size or become limp, indicating that the sponge and fabric was of a good quality.
Frankly, I wasn’t used to the shallow fit of the Prevail. It sat higher on my head as compared to my other helmets, it had the feeling like it would slide off any moment if it were not for the retaining straps. However, helmet fit is a matter of personal preference.
Although the Prevail doesn’t fit my head perfectly, it does fit reasonably comfortably. Objectively, I would say that Specialized had done an extremely good job in ensuring that their Prevail fits a wide range of heads. In my first impressions, I noted how the Mindset adjuster seems very flimsy being made of such thin plastic. Now, I realized that Specialized had to do that to ensure that the entire cradle that wraps around your head is flexible enough to conform to your head shape.
The S-Works Prevail indeed deserves to be classified as a top-shelf premium racing helmet. The ventilation it provides is truly unparalleled. The Prevail is also highly competitive in terms of weight, weighing a mere 202g. At USD200, the S-Works Prevail is priced very similar to top-end helmets of other brands. Fit is a very personal matter, but I would say that Specialized had done a good job in ensuring the Prevail fits as many head shapes as possible with their highly pliable and adjustable cradle and Mindset Adjuster.
The fact that I won the championships in a notoriously hot race wearing this helmet pretty much proves “Cooler Heads Prevail” right? So, if you’re looking a top of the line, championship-winning racing helmet, and you do not have ticklish ears…then look no further, for we have found the S-Works Prevail.