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Smith Session MIPS ReviewBest Open Face Mountain Bike Helmet Review

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

Category: All-Mountain/XC

Weight: 377g

Vents: 15

Price: $160.00

What We Like: Great Ventilation

What We Don’t: Price to performance, chin strap

The Smith Session is a cheaper alternative to the Smith Forefront 2, which is one of our top picks for best open face mountain bike helmet. The Session aims to give you all of the most important aspects of the Forefront 2, in a more budget-friendly package, and it does a surprisingly good job of it.

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 the coverage of the Smith Session is not quite on par with the Forefront 2, it is nothing to sneeze at. This is not surprising, when you consider the price difference, nor is the fact that it weighs a full ounce more than the Forefront 2.

What is surprising, however, is that the Smith Session actually features much better ventilation than the Forefront 2, resulting in a much cooler ride! On the downside, this comes at the expense of some of the Koroyd, which made the Forefront 2 one of our favorite open face mountain bike helmets.

Safety Tech

Not surprisingly, the Smith Session MIPS helmet features the standard MIPS insert, just like the Forefront 2.

Also, like the Forefront 2, the R&D money saved by not developing an in house alternative to MIPS, results in the Smith Session’s Koroyd lining.

Smith’s Proprietary, Koroyd liner is the honeycomb-like lining that can be seen through the vents of many of Smith’s helmets. The Koroyd liner is made from hundreds of tiny straws, it functions exactly like you might expect a beefed up honeycomb would in the event of a crash. 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 full 30 percent better than traditional EPS foam.

However, the Smith Session features much less Koroyd than is found in the Forefront 2. Smith says that the Koroyd found in the Session is in the areas where most of the impact of a fall should be centered, so the practical loss of protection should be minimal. And, this is what makes the Session cooler than the Forefront 2. Still, when it comes to protection, we are of the opinion that more is always better.

Other features

As with all Smith helmets, the Smith Session integrates wonderfully with almost any eyewear, especially Smith eyewear. There are no problems with sunglass arms hitting the helmet, and the easy to adjust three position visor easily accommodates goggles on your face as you bomb the gnar and under the visor, while you climb. Like the Bell Sixer, the Smith Session also provides a great place to stow your glasses under the visor, when you are not wearing them.

One of the low points for the Forefront 2 was the chin and ear straps and adjustments. This is also true of the Smith Session. While there is nothing terribly wrong with them, there are much better options available, such as on the POC Tectal Race Spin.

The Bottom Line

At ~ $160 the Smith Session is a solid alternative for those who love what Smith is doing from both a safety and eyewear integration standpoint, but who can’t see them shelling out over $200 for the Smith Forefront 2. And while we are more than willing to sweat a little for the added protection of the Forefront 2’s full Koroyd liner, the cooler, minimal application of Koroyd in the Smith Session might be right up some hot-blooded riders’ ally.

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