Spada have been selling helmets and clothing to motorbikers since 1994 and now they’ve added an MTB line. This includes the Howitzer enduro/trail helmet which offers a decent balance of venting and MIPS protection at a reasonable price.
Design and build
Spada are rightly proud of the 17 well spaced vents that cover every aspect of the Howitzer. There’s a bug mesh across the front three vents too. Separate upper and lower hard-shells for protection of the foam liner is a win at this price and the straps are anchored in the outer edge. All the mouldings are clean and sharp and the plastic is decent quality rather than translucent – as it can be on low budget helmets. The strap Y-buckles get a cam-lock for easy ‘around the ears’ adjustment and there’s a removable padded chin sleeve.
A big dial adjusts the back padded cradle which can be adjusted slightly for height too. The four-piece pad set is removable for washing and while it doesn’t claim to have any anti-microbial elements, it looks like there’s bug killing silver threads embedded in there. The yellow MIPS slip plane skull cap is claimed to reduce the chance of brain damage from a slam too. Again it’s good – if not totally unheard of – to see it at this price too.
My only concern is that while the peak is replaceable and attached with adjustable metal screws either side, it sits against a relatively deep ‘notch’ on the shell. That makes it much harder for it to flip up/pop off if you face plant. The Howitzer meets all the relevant safety standards though and you can loosen the attachment screws if you want. Three colors cover pure, dark and military bases and most heads will fit into the two size 55-61cm range.
Presuming you fit into that size range and rounded form, the rim mounted straps and rear dial make settling your head into the Howitzer very easy. The cradle is not quite as micro-accurate or adjustable as the best MTB helmets, but it secures the helmet fine without obvious pressure points. The same applies to the vents too. There’s no obvious Venturi effect (different sized internal and outer bore) and no connecting channels to promote airflow either. That means no dramatic rush of cooling air over you head, but the overall cooling effect from the well spaced positioning means heat radiation is decent even at slower speeds. If you don’t need the bug mesh that can restrict frontal flow, it’s easy to cut out and while there’s more padding than some, it’s easy to wash if it gets sweaty.
The MIPS layer and decent depth to the shell coverage ensures good protection and the complete hard shell coverage gives cosmetic protection too. While I’m slightly worried about the stiff peak at least it does provide some weather/glare coverage unlike a lot of purely decorative beaks on recent lids I’ve tested. Spada also offer a 50 percent price reduction if you need to replace your helmet after a crash which is a great to see for an affordable lid.
More good quality, sorted performance helmets with enhanced protection at affordable prices is a great thing and the Spada Howitzer is right up there. Some people might be caught between (or outside) the two sizes and the firmly fixed peak causes some concern, but otherwise it’s a really decent lid with more premium features than most at this price.
Tech specs: Spada Howitzer MTB helmet
- Price: $98.00 / £79.99
- Sizes: S/M (55 to 58cm) and M/L (58 to 61cm)
- Colors: White/grey, matt black, olive green
- Weight: 365g S/M (tested)