Select Page

Table Of Contents

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS ReviewBest Open Face Mountain Bike Helmet Review

Tie for Best MIPS Open Face Mountain Bike Helmet

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 90% 90%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Features 100% 100%

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 340g

Vents: 20

Price: $230.00

What We Like: Very lightweight, comfortable fit, innovative safety technology

What We Don’t: Sub-par ventilation, Expensive

The Smith Forefront 2 provides great coverage, it is lightweight, and it is one of the most safety feature rich helmets on our list. You might think of Smith as an eyewear company, but they are just about as innovative as anyone in the mountain bike helmet game, and all of that innovation can be found in the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet.

Compare to Similar Products

See Our Best Open Face Mountain Bike Helmet Review HERE!

POC Tectal Race Spin

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 90% 90%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Features 90% 90%

Pros

Innovative

Well Ventilated

Great Coverage

Cons

Price Tag

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 354g

Vents: 15

6D ATB-1T EVO

  • Coverage 100% 100%
  • Safety Tech 100% 100%
  • Weight 50% 50%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Features 90% 90%

Pros

Innovative Safety Technology

Best in Class Coverage

Cons

Hot and Heavy

Category: All-Mountain

Weight: 484g

Vents: 15

Troy Lee Designs A2 MIPS

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

Well Ventilated

Great Coverage

Great Looks.

Cons

Limited Visor Adjustability

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 377g

Vents: 13

Smith Forefront 2 MIPS

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 90% 90%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Features 100% 100%

Pros

Very Lightweight

Comfortable Fit

Innovative Safety Technology

Cons

Sub-par Ventilation

Expensive

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 340g

Vents: 20

Kali Interceptor

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 100% 100%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Insane Safety Tech

Great Ventilation

Cons

Subpar Visor

Slightly Less Coverage than Other Top Picks

Only Available in Two Sizes

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 388g

Vents: 18

Leatt DBX 3.0 All Mountain

  • Coverage 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech 100% 100%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Features 100% 100%

Pros

Epic Safety Innovation

Lightweight

Well Ventilated

Cons

Not quite as much Coverage as our other Top Picks

Category: All-Mountain

Weight: 360g

Vents: 18

Kali Protectives Maya 2.0

  • Coverage 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech 90% 90%
  • Weight 90% 90%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Features 40% 40%

Pros

Premium Helmet Protection with a budget Helmet Price Tag

Cons

Two-handed Retention System

Category: All-Mountain

Weight: 360g

Vents: 12

Giro Chronicle

  • Coverage 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech 70% 70%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

All of the Features of a Top of the Line Helmet at half the Price.

Cons

Warmer than average, not the greatest helmet liner.

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 371g

Vents: 14

Bell Sixer MIPS

  • Coverage 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Features 70% 70%

Pros

The tried and true features of the Super 3 in an updated package

Cons

Average Weight and Pricing

Category: All-Mountain

Weight: 411g

Vents: 26

Smith Session MIPS

  • Coverage 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Features 60% 60%

Pros

Great Ventilation

Cons

Price to Performance

Chin Strap

Category:  All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 377g

Vents: 15 vents

Giro Montaro MIPS

  • Coverage 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech 80% 80%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Features 90% 90%

Pros

Decent Coverage

MIPS Tech

Well-Ventilated

Cons

Not as good of a value as the Giro Chronicle, and not on par with our Top Picks

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 369g

Vents: 16

Coverage, Weight, and Ventilation

While its coverage might be just behind that of the 6D ATB-1T EVO and POC Tectal Race Spin, the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS mountain bike helmet provides excellent coverage in its own right. And, unlike the 6D ATB-1T EVO helmet, the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS is extremely lightweight at only 340g. This puts its weight more in line with XC mountain bike helmets, rather than in the more robust all-mountain category, where its coverage clearly holds its own.

Unfortunately, it does not shine quite so brightly when it comes to ventilation. Despite its 20 vents, the Smith Forefront is not one of the cooler helmets on the market. This is due to its own innovative take on helmet safety.

Safety Tech

The Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet is, as you might expect, outfitted with a MIPS liner to protect against rotational impacts. It is worth noting that Smith was one of the first adopters of MIPS, and it shows. The MIPS integration on the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS mountain bike helmet is as smooth as any that you will find.

Because of this, Smith has taken its own, unique approach to innovation in the helmet industry, developing its “Koroyd” lining. This is the bright green honeycomb-like liner, made from hundreds of tiny straws, that can be found in the Forefront 2 and Session helmets, among others. And, it functions exactly like you might expect a beefed up honeycomb would in the event of a crash.

In addition to the harder eps foam that will absorb some of a major impact, the softer Koroyd lining will take its own share of the impact. Each straw of the honeycomb is engineered to collapse in a specific way, creating a pattern that best absorbs impact, and Smith claims that it absorbs impact a whopping 30 percent better than traditional EPS foam!

The downside is that, naturally, air doesn’t flow quite as well through 1,000 tiny straws as it does through a large, open vent. And even though the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS mountain bike helmet boasts a whopping 20 vents, the bulk of them are backed up by Koroyd, through which air has to flow before it reaches your head.

In practice, this really means that air flows extremely well through the Koroyd that is moving directly toward air, or that air is flowing directly into, but not as well through Koroyd that it hits at an angle. This makes some of the Forefront 2’s vents much more useful than others.

Other features

Before Smith made some of the best helmets for action sports, they were busy making some of the best eyewear for action sports. So, it is no surprise that the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS helmet, like all Smith helmets, is designed to work well with your eyewear, particularly Smith eyewear. Like many all-mountain and enduro mountain bike helmets, goggles can be worn under the raised visor during climbs, held in place by a strap on the back of the helmet.  Meanwhile, the visor is easy to raise and lower, and its light weight means that it stays in place when the going gets rough.

For those who prefer sunglasses for eye protection, the Forefront 2 includes a channel made specifically to stow your sunglasses above the visor, should you want to take them off during climbs. Of course, this is made specifically for Smith sunglasses but should work with most cycling focused glasses. Furthermore, the issue of sunglass arms hitting the back of the helmet that is so common amongst high coverage open face helmets is a non-issue with the Forefront 2.

One side effect of the the Koroyd, is that traditional helmet camera and light mounting systems might not work on the Forefront 2. However, Smith solved this problem with a mounting screw hole on the top of the helmet, although you will have to purchase the mount kit separately. Many high-end helmets come with a mount in the box and, for the price, we would have liked to see the Forefront 2 to include this as well.

The Bottom Line

All said, the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS is an amazing helmet. It is lightweight, and it provides great coverage and loads of safety features. This all lands it in a tie for our choice as the best open face, MIPS mountain bike helmet.

That said, it is warmer than some helmets, though I would not go far as to call it “hot.” And at $230, it joins the POC Tectal Race Spin as one of the two most expensive open face helmets on our list.

Still, when all is said and done, the head is one place not to cheap out. If you want the best MIPS mountain bike helmet on the market, then you can’t go wrong with the Smith Forefront 2 MIPS.

Compare Prices From Retailers Below

You help support Gear Hacker by purchasing from our retail partners.