Koroyd, MIPS and reflective details are the standout features of a versatile bike helmet that prioritises safety above all else, writes Charlie Allenby…
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Smith Network MIPS review
$170 / £139.99, amazon.com
- Koroyd and MIPS protection
- Reflective detailing
- Yellow viz colourway offers extra visibility
- Eyewear storage system optimised for Smith sunglasses
- Sizing comes up small
Extra features: 4/5
Smith specialises in helmets and eyewear for adrenaline-fuelled sports such as cycling and snowboarding. So it’s no surprise that its Network helmet goes big on features that’ll keep you protected in the worst-case scenarios. It’s also ideal for wearing while riding the best e-bikes.
Although it comes in an array of colour options, the matte neon yellow viz colourway is its boldest and brightest and helps you stand out from the crowd. After dark, large reflective panels to the front and rear provide added visibility for other road users.
Featuring MIPS and Koroyd safety features, it’s technically one of the most protective helmets around. I wanted to see if its focus on staying seen and safe came at the cost of functionality and comfort.
Smith Network MIPS performance
In a world of black and dark helmets, the Network’s matte neon yellow viz finish really does stand out. In urban environments, it cut through the noise, while on quiet country lanes it offered a bright contrast against dark green hedgerows. Its real strength though came after dark, when the reflective panels at the front and rear lit up brightly when headlight shone on them. When combined with the webbing’s reflective detailing, that gives you 360 degrees of visibility.
This all counts for nothing if the helmet is so uncomfortable you won’t want to wear it, but at no point did I have any issues with its breathability or ventilation. Five long vents run from front to back and each is split into three, leaving 15 in total that ensured that there was a great amount of airflow even on warm or high-intensity rides. The lining absorbed any sweat, and its antimicrobial finish kept it smelling fresh between rides.
Smith Network MIPS fit
My head is 59cm in diameter, which puts it squarely in the middle of the Network’s medium and large sizes. The test unit I was sent was a medium, and it was quite a tight fit, with slight pressure points just above my temple. Adjusting the dial at the rear of the helmet did little to change this issue, so I’d recommend ordering a size up if, like me, you fall between sizes.
Sunglasses storage was also a bit of a mixed bag with the Network MIPS. Optimised to work with Smith-branded shades, it worked well with a pair of Oakleys, but struggled with the thicker arms of some sunglasses I use for gravel riding and it felt like I was forcing the arms between the vents and the Koroyd protection beneath.
Smith Network MIPS value
At $170 / £139.99, the Network MIPS sits at the midway point in the brand’s range. Compared to other helmets that feature MIPS and Koroyd, it’s slightly more affordable than the Endura Pro SL (£165) – the Scottish company is the only other major manufacturer to have combined the technologies. Its versatility and reflective features make it more of an all-rounder too that will help to keep you safe wherever or whenever you’re riding.