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.
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.
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.
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.
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’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)