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New Protection from Smith, Leatt, Evoc and Alpina - Eurobike 2024

Jul 9, 2024
by Jessie-May Morgan  
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The EPS may look thin, but there's actually a second layer underneath the Koroyd that sandwiches it into position

Smith

In addition to the "World's lightest carbon shell downhill helmet", Smith also brought a prototype of the Forefront 3 open face helmet. This one is due in 2025, and will replace the Forefront 2 with improved ventilation and more coverage toward the rear. It will go for $270 USD.

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A polycarbonate shell, EPS, Koroyd and MIPS play their respective roles in impact protection. Smith went for the MIPS Air Node for rotational impact protection. It's my preferred version of the MIPS liners as it doesn't squeak when you move like some of the other MIPS liners do. Koroyd is distributed about most of the helmet, but the large vents down the center are completely open to encourage more airflow over the top of one's skull, and a couple of the exhaust vents are open too.

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Ventilation was a big priority in the design of this helmet. The Forefront 3 is said to offer a 25% improvement in breathability over the outgoing Forefront 2. Smith have achieved that by moving to a roll cage that the EPS is injection molded with, allowing them to add more vents that are a big bigger.

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Smith are using a BOA dial on the fit system. Unlike the stiff plastic cradles you see on most helmets, Smith will be using the flexible cradle borrowed off one of their snowsports helmets. What else? Errr, the rear cradle has vertical height adjustment with three possible positions, and the peak has a couple of positions it clicks into. It looks like Smith will be using a regular buckle for the chinstrap closure.



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Evoc

Evoc showed some promising new knee pads. Promising because they use a sleeved design, and because both the Lite and Enduro pads will be certified with Level 2 protection. Meanwhile, most other lightweight, pedal-friendly knee pads only offer Level 1 protection - notable exception being the Rapha Trail Knee Pads. Expect these in 2025.

The Lite version is a basic sleeve design with a removable pad, while the Enduro version is similar but with Velcro straps around the calf and thigh for added security, and a more durable material over the top of the pad itself. The pricing is competitive; the Evoc Lite Knee Pads will go for 100 €, while the Evoc Enduro Pads will go for 120 €. Both will be available in four sizes.



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Leatt

In addition to their new extortionately-priced magnesium pedals and stems, the Leatt logo was also brandished across some more familiar items; new torso protectors and knee pads. This is the new Chest Protector 4.5 Pro Evo. It has a hard shell on the chest and back, and then Leatt's own proprietary impact protection material called Flex Mesh Pro underneath. While the Chest Protector 3.5 was certified to Level 1, this new one is certified to Level 2 - for the front and back protectors. It is priced at $199 USD, available in three sizes for different torso lengths. There will also be a women's specific version that will go for $199 USD too.

On top of the improved impact protection, Leatt looked to make the protectors more breathable. The hard cap has more ventilation holes across the center now, and the Flex Mesh Pro material underneath has matching ventilation holes.

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For the first time in seven years, Leatt have updated their soft construction knee pads, the 5.0 3DF. They are a bit lighter now, with a better ventilated sleeve and extra padding added at the sides of the main pad. Unfortunately there is still no Level 2 protection to speak of; all of the knee pads you see here are certified to Level 1.That combined with the bulkier construction of these pads will make it difficult for Leatt to compete with the likes of Rapha, Ion, Evoc (see above) and the new D3O Diablo pads that Troy Lee Design and Race Face will bring to market soon. The pads you see here are priced from $99 to $139 USD.



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Alpina

For the first time, Alpina has an ASTM certified full face helmet. It's called the Pikes MIPS, and it weighs a claimed 800 grams in a size medium. It retails at a competitive 150 €. Key features include a breakaway peak, cheek pads of different thicknesses and the use of a D-Ring buckle for the chin strap. In addition to the above colorways, you can also get it in black.

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Every few years, Alpina collaborate with an athlete to bring a limited edition colorway to some of their helmets and eyewear. This season they've partnered with Max Nerurkar of the 50to01 crew on a design with a finish that could be likened to tie-dye. The process they use ensures that every single helmet shell and eyewear frame is totally individual. Get it on the Root MIPS 3/4 helmet, the Apax MIPS open face helmet and the Sonic range of glasses.

Author Info:
jessiemaymorgan avatar

Member since Oct 26, 2023
92 articles

72 Comments
  • 26 6
 I have an Endura Koroyd helmet and I find it rather hot, I wouldn't buy another helmet with Koroyd.
  • 11 0
 agree. Smith helmets fit really good, but that Koroyd structure is sweaty
  • 10 1
 Same, I bought it for the same "improved ventilation" that they marketed. Its the hottest helmet I've ever owned, and the 2nd most expensive.
  • 30 1
 After crashing into some undergrowth on a local trail only to find a large pointy stick that had been stopped by the Koroyd, I'll take that warm helmet...plus I live in the UK, we only get one warm day a year!
  • 6 1
 Same with Trek's Wavecell helmets, too
  • 15 6
 Koroyd helmets have saved my life twice, or at least saved me from being a vegetable. So, I'll stay with them. Warmth is noticeable when climbing, but this one looks even more open than even the forefront 2 so I am hopeful.
  • 9 2
 the spherical distribution of the tiny koroid holes, renders most of them perpendicular to the way air flows when riding - this is why they get hot. I'm sure the material is good, but the execution is poor.
  • 3 0
 It's funny. I was at the DH park the other day with my Smith Koroyd for the first time. It was a little over 90 degrees and I definitely had to take the helmet off between runs. Still an outstanding helmet though.
  • 2 3
 @wako29: I find my wavecell to be better than a koroyd.
  • 2 1
 @jokermtb: the new one looks slightly better, but it's hard to tell from the photos. Let's hope the claims of better airflow are true.
  • 6 1
 Koroyd is uncomfortably hot even in snow helmets! I have both a Smith Vantage Koroyd as well as two pre-Koroyd Variant snow helmets, and even though the Variant has notably smaller vent openings, it breathes at least twice as well. Why? Most of the hex-shaped tubes that make up the Koroyd honeycomb structure wind up perpendicular to the direction of airflow, effectively blocking/deflecting incoming air. I can stand it in cold/stormy conditions when I have vents blocked anyway, but I break out the older non-Koroyd helmets for spring skiing when I need proper airflow.
Oh, and as an added bonus, Koroyd clogs with snow when trees unload on you or you crash.
For dirt-only applications, this translates to Koroyd clogging with loam when you take a digger, and being a major PITA to clean when group riding in dusty environments.
TLDR: Koroyd = bad for helmets on humans with sweat glands.
  • 2 0
 I purchase both these and Wavecell helmets to protect against the slight chance of a wasp getting into the vents and causing an allergic reaction, which can prove to be way more important than a bit more heat. Something to think about for those who have allergic reactions from stings.
  • 2 1
 @blum585: my daughters’ helmets all have netting on the forward vents. I’d pay for the feature. I had a massive hornet fly into my helmet and sting me repeatedly. My wavecell will block that but my POC I use for commuting won’t do a thing.
In my experience the venting on the Blaze (Lazer, Blazer) Wavcell works pretty well, not as well as a typical helmet, but better then the MIPS helmet I had prior. And it doesn’t squeak.
  • 6 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I've had 1 wasp sting to the head in 38 years of competitive cycling, but sweat buckets every time I put on a helmet. If you don't have allergies, you're hedging the wrong bet w/ airflow obstructions.
  • 1 0
 @blum585: sure but you could also get a Halo headband, the full skullcap style, and have stinging insect protection plus sweat management.
  • 1 0
 been riding with an Endura MT500 helmet for about 2 years now with the Koroyd, never once have I found it too hot.
  • 6 0
 @sbermingham91: well, one look at your flag might explain that.
  • 3 0
 @pisgahgnar: hahaha true...although I can't complain even on the hot days, but, our hot days probably aren't warmer than your cold days
  • 1 1
 @DustOnCrust: Consider yourself lucky on multiple accounts. I'll continue to hedge my bet against anything that is trying to kill me is ways that are completely unpredictable. To be completely honest, the whole situation has taken my off my bike ways more than it should.
  • 1 0
 @intensemack10: I've ridden with them also, hell I've even worn long pants on days that I shouldn't just to have the freedom to ride.
  • 1 0
 @njparider: if they could mold in tiny air scoops that would funnel the airflow into the koroid holes, the helmet would ventilate infinitely better
  • 2 0
 @powturn: Indeed - I thought this as soon as those koroid helmets came on the scene - great idea if you aren't in motion. Never considered how insanely all those little holes would be packed solid with snow....slow drip drip into your hair.....
  • 1 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: Rudy project helmets from the 1990's used to have that screen - nice feature wish more helmets had
  • 1 0
 @DustOnCrust: I’ve been riding with a helmet for over 20 years and it’s only happened once. But it really sucked, especially the reaction that almost sent me to the hospital.
  • 2 0
 @BikesBoatsNJeeps: I've only ever had one wasp in my helmet, she got angry and stung me so many times I couldn't see how many times I got stung!

Some of her sisters also got my torso, the moral the story, clearing fallen trees off trails is a good thing, not spotting the wasps' nest is bad...
  • 8 0
 I really want to know why the makers of knee/shin pads feel the need to make the shin protection only a few inches long. It's damn near useless, because I end up having maybe 25-30% of my shin covered by the supposed shin protection.
Most of the rocks I've had kicked up into my shin hit the middle or lower part, even thicker socks didn't do a damn thing for protection, and these nasty buggers are the main reason I want shin protection

I met a woman at a park that felt the same way, even at like 5'1 she had nowhere near the proper coverage and she resorted to wearing elbow pads on her shins with regular knee pads.
  • 1 0
 Standalone shin guards to add to your current knee pads:
cambriabike.com/products/661-comp-am-shin-guards-black

Full length knee/shin guards:
cambriabike.com/products/7-idp-transition-knee-shin-pad-black
ixs.com/us/mtb/mtb-equipment/protection/3024/cleaver-knee-shin-guards-black

There are more options if you don't like the above.

You're welcome.
  • 2 0
 $10-15 will get you some basic soccer shin guards that slide into your socks, got the idea from Kade he said he was running some from Fila in an edit
  • 3 1
 Would be great to see some more informative pieces on what defines Level 1 & Level 2 protection. There is a lot of build up in this article and many others about how Level 2 is great, but is it? Or is it just a marketing fad to get consumers to spend more on protection that isn't necessary for its use.

What is important to remember, is that Mountain Biking is a niche sport. It does not have any officially recognized testing standards that have any real scientific data behind them. Most of the testing standards are borrowed from Motorcycle, which of course is not the same as mountain biking.
  • 4 0
 It does have some relevancy, as it tells us that the transferred energy does not surpass a certain threshold, with level 2 obviously being better. That said, where the standard is seriously lacking is in distinguishing between different products besides the very broad level 1 and 2 certification. A bad level 2 could be almost identical to an exceptional level 1, but the consumer will never know.
You can find the exact testing procedures and threshold via google if you´re interested in details.
I do agree though, we really need better testing procedures overall, especially when it comes to helmets. For body protection i can live with what we have now as the current standards and a simple first hand inspection usually will give enough of an idea of a products general capabilities.
  • 2 0
 @Loki87: It has very little relevancy other than the determined energy amounts transferred. CE 1621 is a motorcycle standard adopted by Cycling so that products can be imported and sold as 'protection'. Are mountain bikers exposed to the same levels of impact as motorcycle riders? Maybe. But what is crazy is that there is no scope for protection to be developed for the specific types of riding that are taking place because of the need to adhere to the certification.

I understand the testing procedures well after working in protective piece product development for almost 10 years, and unfortunately also understand too well how these certifications are limiting the innovation in protection.

There has been absolutely no research carried out in regards to the levels of impacts that riders are exposed to when mountain biking. In order for a pad to pass Level 2 certification, the density of the impact element needs to be increased. With a denser pad, you're losing an element of protection to lower speed impacts, the same with Helmets. Whilst it's not as important on your body as it is on your head, using denser impact foam on your body can still lead to more significant bruising and pain in lower energy impacts.

All in all, there needs to be more done to educate on what the certifications are - I would be willing to bet that most people don't even realise that CE 1621 is a motorcycle standard in the first place.
  • 1 0
 @timlake: Are you able to share any examples of innovations that could not be brought to market due to standards? Are we talking comfort or safety features? Even broadly speaking it would be nice to have some informed points instead of whatever we might imagine.
  • 3 0
 @hardlylikely: both, mainly specific features for use cases. I.E not being able to make more breathable, lighter-weight protection for all-mountain/XC.

There are a number of points within a CE 1621 test that don't relate to impact protection too. One that was the biggest frustration for me was impact site size.

If you take a look at a D3O Knee pad insert, or any other brands for that matter you'll see they're all a similar shape and size. That's because the 1621 test specifies the size of the impact protection and it can't be any smaller.

Of course that is fine for gravity riding, but for lighter riding, you don't want/need such a large impact protection area, but HAVE to as determined by the standards. This means we can't create XC/AM pads with a smaller area (i.e thinner side and under-knee coverage).

The worst part though is that it essentially puts a complete stop to creating effective kids (and I'm talking ages 3-Cool pads. Because the size HAS to be what the standard determines, you effectively can't create a decent kids pad that is certified as protection. That means that you either have to adhere to the roller sports standard, which has an abrasion test (which is why we see so many cheap kids pads with hard caps) or have no certification at all (which means you can't import/sell as protection, increasing MSRP's as import duties for clothing are significantly higher than protection)

If a child at the age of 5 was to have a pad that passed CE 1621, the size of the impact pad would likely extend their entire leg, making it uncomfortable and heavy.

There are plenty more cases where designs have been limited due to the need to pass the certificaiton, but those are two big ones that can give you an idea of what limitations are imposed.
  • 3 0
 Love the fit and feel of my current Smith helmet. However, the Koroyd gets annoying because can't scratch my head. Especially bad when dirt is flinging up onto the helmet or small bugs are getting in there.
  • 5 0
 alpina helmet looks real good
  • 1 0
 Is this Alpina, the XC ski company?
  • 3 0
 @VtVolk: No. This Alpina here is a German company, part of Uvex group.They make Ski helmets and goggles, however.

The other Alpina, making cross-country skiing boots and poles, is a Slovenian company.
  • 3 2
 Leatt already have the patent on the best knee pass, the one with two axis. Feels very free.
The 3DF pads don’t work as good as hard plastic when you crash, and one 3DF elbow pad I had even removed a few layers of skin from the friction.
  • 1 0
 Opinion vs opinion. My race face knee pads and elbow pads are the reason I walk and ride MTB. And it wasn't a single crash but multiple. And it's not hard plastic.
  • 1 0
 @goroncy: I feel nothing when I land on hard plastic. With 3DF I can still feel pain because rocks go through the material, and also, it stick to my skin so that it ripped a few layers of skin off. But these days most elbow pads are 3DF arm and leg stockings. Considering making my own. Another standing ovation to the bike industry.
  • 5 3
 The Forefront needs a better way to hold glasses or fuggetaboutit. It's funny to me that a company that makes some of the priciest glasses also wants you to store them in the most precarious place possible.
  • 2 0
 Passed on Forefront in a major part b/c of that. Find my Smith glasses hold phenomenally on my Spec Tactic, upside down in the front vents. Easy to get in/out one-handed too.
  • 10 0
 The Forefront 2 already holds them really well in 2 different positions. One on the back/top of the helmet facing backwards, and one underneath the visor facing forwards. I'm on my 3rd Forefront 2 (broke one, aged out another, on my third currently) and have never had issues storing sunglasses, and I've used a range from Smith glasses, Ryders, Tifosi, Tinelli, and even some prescription glasses.
  • 4 1
 @the-other-skier: Going to have to agree to disagree about it holding them well in 2 positions. The Spec tactic has a way more secure system that cannot be defeated by the faintest brush of a tree branch or wind gust.
  • 1 0
 @H2o1199: Totally fair, some people can have completely different experiences and use cases. I’ll only store the glasses up there when riding to/from the trailhead, I’ve worn contact lenses the past 8 years and recently had laser eye surgery, so any time the trail gets narrow or closed in I put my glasses back on to prevent any damage.
  • 4 0
 I'm on my second Forefront 2. I'm plenty happy with how they store my glasses under the visor. The slot at the back leaves the glasses sticking up higher than the top of the helmet though, making them vulnerable to being swept off when brushed by a low branch. Also, it's worth making the distinction that they store my riding glasses great. My cyborg-looking shield style Oakleys with straight temples. If I want to stow my more casual Goodrs or the like, with more of a curved temple, I'm out of luck. Those types of glasses are kind of hit or miss for many helmets, not just Smiths, so I don't hold it against them too much. Overall, the Forefront is the best helmet I've worn, and the sunglass storage situation is adequate, but there is definite room for improvement there IMO.
  • 2 0
 Might just be the glasses but I wear the forefront 2 with smith shift mag glasses and the hold is fantastic. Haven’t tried other glasses with the helmet yet.
  • 2 0
 The chest/back protector looks great. Options right now for an over the shirt level 2 protector are very limited. I’ve been really happy with my 100% tarka for the bike park but it’s too hot.
  • 1 0
 Yeah it does look promising. All depends on the back though, so many of them are like ninja turtle shells.

The Alpinestars a-6 plasma that was launched this spring is level 2 back, but annoyingly is only level 1 front..
However, Loic has been spotted wearing a prototype level 2 front & back protector the last three rounds which is ann evolution of that, which I am assured is being launched ‘soon’.
  • 2 0
 @Leaveamessage:
Got any pictures or a link to that proto Loic´s been testing? Would be interesting to see.
As far as the level 1 front goes, i think that´s fine honestly. Most important feature for a front protector is penetration prevention. I´ve seen more people harmed from a stick to the chest or abdomen and really none from frontal blunt force trauma really. It´s always more the impacts to the side which crack ribs, where i´d gladly sacrifice frontal impact protection to a degree in exchange for some more coverage around the rib and abdominal areas as well as longer back protection which actually covers the entire spinal column and not just the upper part.
The Scott Softcon Hybrid is something you may wanna check out. It´s level 2 front and back and seems to have a decent length back protector as well.
  • 1 0
 @Loki87:
I do actually have some photos of the prototype -looks pretty good. Ronan was wearing it in Les gets this time too, so it’s getting nearer.

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  • 1 0
 Alpinestars a-impact plasma elite shield, (or the a-impact plasma elite, if you want to skip the outer harder layer) are probably the best pads on the market right now, and they are both CE level 2.

Loic, Finn, Ronan, and Vali, to name just a few of this years World Cup field who are using them. I’ve had zero issues with mine - best I’ve ever worn.
  • 3 0
 Can't find any info on the protection levels for knee pads. What does the Level 1 or Level 2 category mean?
  • 5 0
 They are actually motorcycle certifications: www.redbull.com/gb-en/understanding-mtb-protection
  • 3 0
 Level 1 & Level 2 are basically categories that define the amount of energy dissipated in an impact. There is a threshold that is needed to pass CE 1621 Level 1, and a higher threshold needed to pass Level 2.

There is a lot of marketing hype about passing Level 2, and mountain bikers seem to buy into it because they think that Level 2 must be better.

In reality, MTB protection is held back from being truly optimal for mountain biking by the fact that it has to adhere to Motorcycle standards like CE 1621 is.

It would be good to see more information shared on sites like PB about what these certifications are and what the positives and negatives to each are, especially when it's people's safety. Instead of just assuming that bigger means better, which often isn't true.
  • 2 0
 CE Level 1 joint protectors: The mean value for transmitted force must be below 35 kN
CE Level 2 joint protectors: The mean value for transmitted force must be below 20 kN.
  • 3 1
 Really like that Smith helmet but my Fox helmet's Fidlock latch is so much better than a buckle that I'll pass.
  • 2 0
 Yes, the Kororoyd Is hotter and more uncomfortable. But you know it’s really uncomfortable – brain damage.
  • 4 3
 Sorry for this off topic question.
Where do I find the pinkbike articles about this year's Megavalanche?
  • 1 0
 Click the "Future Articles" button under the "Originals" tab.
  • 1 0
 most probably magavalanche organization are being lazy sending their report...
  • 2 0
 Alpina stuff looks great, can't find it in canada.
  • 3 5
 Leatt needs to spend more time working on their helmet retention system and customer service. Poor reliability for both. It’s tough to buy anything from them when other brands do everything better.
  • 7 3
 What are you talking about? I love my leatt helmet, so does everyone I know who wears them. I've also had no issues with their customer service.
  • 2 1
 @RonSauce: The ratchet on the retention strap fails. It’s a pretty common problem and they make you buy another one. Glad yours is working properly though.
  • 4 7
 Does anyone else dislike the high sleeves that seem standard on knee pads now? I find them a faff to do up under shorts (especially current slimline ones, Troy Lee Motos off the noughties would be fine!), interfere with liners and are generally a bit hot
  • 13 0
 I enjoy the fact that I can pull the high sleeve up enough to put my liner cuffs over them a bit, helps even more to keep them in place. I hate having a gap between the two under my shorts
  • 2 0
 I also don't like them, but we're in the minority it seems.
  • 1 0
 Dainese Trail Skins series pads are so far ahead of the curve, the others are only now beginning to catch on......
  • 1 0
 I'm a fan of the high sleeves. They seem to stay up better and I prefer if they overlap with my liner/chamois.
  • 2 0
 @jokermtb: Trail skins were the worst knee pads i have ever tried on in the last 23 years.
I think a cut to size milk carton would be more comfortable and likely offer as much protection.
Glad you´re happy with them, but god damn i really hated those things.
  • 1 0
 @Loki87: I'm lactose intolerant! ha ha..........Having not been a knee pad wearer, except for those massive knee to ankle Fox plastic knee/shin guards from the 90's, I love em' as they're the only tolerable pad for 1000% humid hot michigan summers. One person's vinegar is another's wine







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