The new Specialized Tactic sees major updates in terms of looks and safety all at a moderate price point. A redesign also means that the three sizes should fit a greater scope of riders, plus the "Round Fit" shells, tailored to the Asian markets, will now be available worldwide in all colors. Larger vents and a single-position, horizontal visor lead the way to a higher volume, modern style helmet that is offered in six earth-inspired colors with minimal logos.
In the event of a crash, Specialized has all angles covered. The helmet is certified for a higher E-bike safety standard, NTA8776, mandated in the Netherlands, something Specialized believes will grow to other regions. Retailing for $110 USD, you'll find MIPS C-solution. a minimalist version of the proven safety feature and the retention system has a specific mounting point for an angular G-force indicator (ANGi). Available separately, this sensor will detect the forces of a crash and send out an alert to emergency contacts through the Specialized Ride app.
Specialized Tactic Details
• 17 vents
• Breakaway visor
• MIPS C-solution liner
• Weight (size M): 380g
• Sizes: S, M, L
• Colors: Black, White, Dove Grey, Oak Green, Doppio, Cast Blue
• Price: $110 USD
• Certifications: NTA8776 (Dutch E-bike standard)
The strap system is now mounted on the outer edge of the helmet and not inside the helmet shell, at the high point. This should lead to less side to side movement of the helmet shell and is connected with a traditional buckle with the TriFix connection around the ears. The bottom rim of the EPS foam is capped to prevent dents and chips to the EPS when it’s laid down on rough surfaces, something normally reserved for higher price point helmets. Up top, the visor has one position, but stays out of view and blends well with the outer surface. In the event of a crash, it will disconnect without breaking off or destroying the mounting clips. PERFORMANCEFIT
It's obvious when you pop a new helmet on for the first time if it's going to work for you or not, and the Tactic immediately felt comfortable. It has a less oval fit, front to back, than the Fox Speedframe. Sitting at a medium depth on my head, the volume of the helmet was well balanced and neither the visor or brow impeded my vision.
Out back, the coverage is suitable for a mix of riding styles and stayed in place through the roughest sections of trail. However, the helmet did sit a touch further forward on my head than most, even with some vertical tweaking of the adjustable occipital strap or what Specialized calls the Integrated Fit System.
Storage for eyewear is well thought out with ample space under the visor for goggles, and glasses fit in the two outer intake vents when they're flipped upside-down. When I donned glasses of goggles for a descent there were no clearance issues around the entire bottom trim of the helmet and the arms of the glasses didn't touch the Integrated Fit System.ADJUSTMENTS
Specialized uses a trick dial built into the back of the helmet's EPS to cinch down that strap and is vertically adjustable to maximize the fit window per shell size. It's easy to reach and I would often tweak it on the fly, loosening it up slightly for long climbs and a couple clicks tighter for descents. Another bonus of the larger volume EPS on the back of the helmet is the shielding offered to the Integrated Fit System against damage during transport.
The TriFix chin strap was comfortable, but doesn't articulate around the ears. This made the forward strap tension more than rear one as a I tightened the chin strap, causing the helmet to ride lower on my forehead. It wasn't a major concern since the helmet stayed put, but some adjustment here would take this helmet up a notch.
The single position visor use snaps that disconnect before breaking off, in the event of a crash.
Integrated Fit System has an easy to reach dial and has a specific mounting place for the ANGi sensor.
Compared to the previous Tactic 3, the vents are broad and give a modern look to the helmet, delivering plenty of air flow. This also increases the density of the EPS foam and therefore the safety level. Specialized says that the new Tactic is ranked very highly by the stringent Virginia Tech Helmet rating system. I also appreciate the absence of a vent directly in the dead center of the helmet, where you're more likely to encounter a protruding object, even while riding right-side up.
Inside the shell, there isn't a lot of padding toward the back of the helmet, but that's not a negative point. The retention system keeps the rear portion raised off of your head slightly and allows air to flow in that area, although the liner didn't absorb as much sweat as something like the X-Static pads found in other helmets. However, they are easily washable and didn't irritate my skin, even after long hours in the saddle.PRICE
$110 is a very reasonable amount of money to spend on vital protective equipment for your head. I felt totally confident and covered in the new Tactic with the extended portion at the back of the helmet. Concessions do need to be made to meet price brackets, so the liner and fixed strap position are evidence of that.
The paint and finish has been top notch and durable against many branch strikes and being bounced around in gear baskets during transport.WEIGHT
Given the large volume appearance and price point, you'd expect the Tactic to be heavier, but at 380 grams for the size medium, it's very respectable. Compared to the previous generation Tactic 3, it only gains 13 grams, but the overall package looks and feels more refined.
An unbranded sweat pad is comfortable, but less absorbing than others I have tried.
Meets stringent safety certifications +
Overall packaging and features per dollar+
Durable and sleek visor mount
Sweat pads are not as absorbent as other materials-
TriFix strap connector can make the helmet sit forward