Smith Forefront 2 helmet review – feature-packed Koroyd trail lid

Smith’s Forefront 2 combines Koroyd and MIPS for extra trail protection, as well as an excellent fit and sunglasses storage

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet review
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

BikePerfect Verdict

The multi-faceted protection approach and comfortable shape make the Smith Forefront 2 a superb trail helmet, although ventilation isn't quite as dialed as the breezier non-Koroyd lids.

Pros

  • +

    Surprising cooling from moving airflow

  • +

    Secure fit

  • +

    Simple sunglasses storage

  • +

    Tidy action camera/light mount (sold separately)

Cons

  • -

    Heat radiation could be better

  • -

    Sunglass storage only works with straight arms

  • -

    Small peak

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Smith was the first brand to use Koroyd in a bike helmet and since then Smith has invested in the tech and used it throughout their off-road and on-road helmets. Inheriting a full Koroyd construction of the original Forefront, Smith’s Forefront 2 helmet has been around for a while now. Despite being released back in 2019 it still looks great and packs enough features for it to sit amongst the best mountain bike helmets.   

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet showing detail of the Koroyd through a vent

Koroyd structure is used across the helmets construction (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and aesthetics

Smith are one of the few brands that use Koroyd within the structure of the helmet, with the other being Endura which uses the tech in their Endura MT500 MIPS trail helmet and MT500 full-face. First developed in 2010, Koroyd says that its unique tubed construction offers better direct and angled protection as the tubes are able to crumple more on impact compared to standard EPS foam designs.

Smith are all in on the EPS alternative too and the Forefront 2 has complete Koroyd coverage across the entire helmet, with the exception of the two center vents, and is topped with a thin EPS foam liner. The EPS is protected with a comprehensive in-molded shell that covers the entire helmet surface and is very well-finished. Inside the helmet, Smith has equipped the Forefront 2 with a MIPS liner which should further reduce rotational forces on the head in the event of a crash. This all adds up to the Forefront 2 being both CPSC and CE EN 1078 certified.

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet upside down to show the MIPS liner

Inside there is a MIPS liner (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Being well known for making some of the best mountain bike sunglasses, it's unsurprising that Smith has incorporated some eyewear storage. The channel that extends from the sides of the visor and around the rear of the helmet is more than just an aesthetical cue or ventilation, it acts as sunglasses storage giving the option to stash your specs in the front under the visor or on the rear of the helmet facing backward.

Detailing on the helmet is thorough as well. The visor is adjustable with three positions and there is a screw thread hidden under a cover on the top of the helmet for attaching an action camera or lights. Unfortunately, the mount is sold separately but it looks to be a tidy solution for POV capture or night riders. The straps feature adjusters under the ears and the head cradle can be adjusted vertically between three positions.

Smith offers 13 color options including black and grey muted options, four Rapha collabs, and five brighter color options. We have the Matte Spruce - Safari which has a nice mat green and tan combo.

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet with sunglasses fixed to the rear

Straight legged sunglasses sit securely within the channel that runs around the helmet (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

I found the Smith Forefront 2 to be a very comfortable helmet, the shape really suits me and the 270-degree fit adjustment snugs the helmet up very evenly for a very secure fit. Sizing is accurate as well, with the medium (55-59cm) fitting my 58cm head well. The antibacterial X-Static fabric pads are used sparingly but are perfectly positioned to ensure comfort. 

From previous experiences using Koroyd, I wasn’t expecting the Forefront 2 to have such good airflow when riding. Usually, the straw structure doesn’t channel directional airflow well, however, the Forefront 2 has a noticeable flow of air passing over the head despite not really having any internal channeling. That said its ability to radiate heat when not moving wasn't as good and there was some heat build-up when I stopped moving or on particularly steep and slow climbs. 

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet pictured from the front

The two center vents are free of Koroyd for enhanced airflow (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

One big advantage of the Koroyd structure is that it stops lumps of mud and other trail bric-a-brac from getting into the helmet through the vents, with the exception of the two center vents which are left open to help maximize airflow.

The visor clicks nicely between the three positions and is easy to adjust while riding without rattling or feeling loose. It's a bit smaller than we would like although we must admit this is more down to styling preference as we didn't really notice the shortness when riding.

The sunglasses storage works very well, securely holding glasses under the visor or on the top of the helmet so that I felt confident enough to keep them there when climbing. However, it works best with glasses that have straight arms, as curved-armed glasses like the POC's Devour don’t sit as securely within the channel.

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet pictured from the rear

The Forefront 2 has a deep rear section to protect the back of the head (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

Smith’s Forefront 2 helmet is a comfortable trail helmet with a secure fit and some unique tech. We haven’t tested the compression qualities of Koroyd ourselves however if the claims are to be believed then the combo of the full Koroyd construction and MIPS liner should seriously enhance protection. Radiating heat isn’t the Forefront 2’s strong point so you will want to keep on the move in warm weather, the eyewear holder works best with straight arms and we would like to see a bigger visor however we still think the Forefront 2 is a superb helmet if you those things aren’t going to bother you.

The Forefront 2 is priced in a way that it’s pitched against the best trail helmets like the Giro Manifest, Troy Lee Designs A3, or Bell Super Air Spherical. Just like those helmets arguably the Forefront is packed with enough tech and features to justify that cost. If you want a more affordable option, Smith’s Session MIPS still has a great fit and features a MIPS liner and some Koroyd within the construction. 

Tech specs: Smith Forefront 2

  • Price: $250.00 / £189.99
  • Sizes: S (51-55cm), M (55-59cm), L (59-62cm)
  • Rotational protection: MIPS
  • Colors: Matte Cinder Haze, Matte Draplin, Matte French Navy/Black/Rock Salt, Matte Merlot/Aloe, Matte Spruce/Safari (tested), Matte Black, Matte White/Cement, Matte Cloudgrey, Matte Black Haze, Rapha Matte Microchip, Rapha Pacific, Rapha Pageant Blue, Rapha Asphalt
  • Weight: 380g (size M tested)
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. Based in Edinburgh he has some of the best mountain biking and gravel riding in the UK right on his doorstep. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.


Rides: Canyon Strive, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg