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Review: Sweet Protection Primer Mips Helmet

May 14, 2024
by Mike Kazimer  
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New ¾ shell helmets may be stealing the spotlight this season, due in no small part to their polarizing looks, but that doesn't meant that everyone has suddenly decided to stop wearing half shell helmets. There's still plenty of demand for a traditional trail helmet, one that doesn't look like you hit the trails after a sci-fi cosplay convention. That's where something like the Sweet Protection Primer Mips comes in. It's a newer addition to the company's helmet lineup, one that hits a slightly more affordable price point than their higher end offerings.

The $150 Primer is available in three sizes (SM, ML, and LXL) and in seven different colors, everything from the basic black shown here to a purplish 'Panther' color scheme. The Primer is both CPSC 1203 and EN 1078 certified, although it hasn't been tested to the NTA 8776 e-bike standard, a certification that's becoming more common.

Primer Mips Details

• 13 vents
• 360 Occigrip fit system
• Sizes: SM, ML, LXL
• Weight: 396 grams (ML)
• Mips Evolve liner
• CPSC 1203 and EN 1078 certified
• MSRP: $150 USD
sweetprotection.com


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DETAILS

The Primer feels like a high-end helmet, and even when compared directly to its $250 sibling, the Bushwacker 2Vi, it's not immediately clear which one would have a lower price. The plastic shell fully extends over the edges of the EPS foam liner, preventing dents or dings if the helmet inadvertently gets knocked around when it's not in use.

13 large vents, plus channels above the brow help keep air circulating. The vent positioning leaves a nice flat spot at the top of the head, which could be useful for mounting a light or camera, or providing some extra impact protection if you do the classic 'over the bars and straight to the dome' maneuver.

The breakaway visor is a little flimsy feeling, but thankfully it doesn't rattle, and it stayed put in whichever of the three positions I set it to. It's secured on each side of the helmet with rivet-style fittings that can be pushed back into place if it does come off, whether that's from a crash or something like a low hanging branch.

Sweet Protection's '360 Occigrip' fit system consists of a ratcheting dial at the back of the helmet that snugs up a plastic band that goes around a rider's entire head, and the system's height can be adjusted on the fly by pulling down or pushing it up into one of three positions.

The Primer uses the Mips Evolve Core system, which has a black low-friction liner attached to the inside of the helmet by four small rubber bands. The removable helmet pads are velcroed directly onto the liner, and once the helmet's on the system is unnoticeable. I didn't experience any creaking either, the bane of some other Mips-equipped helmets.

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The padding is fairly thin, but still comfortable.
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Three positions for the height of the Occigrip fit system.


FIT

The Primer fit my medium sized, oval shaped head very well right out of the box. For reference, the POC Tectal and Giro Source are two of my favorites when it comes to overall fit, and I'd say the Primer is right there in the mix, although the fit isn't quite as deep feeling as the Source.

I actually got along better with the fit of the Primer compared to the Sweet Protection Bushwhacker 2Vi – the Primer felt a little less top heavy, and didn't push as much into the upper back part of my skull. As with any helmet, it's always best to try before you buy – even within the same brand different models may suit different head shapes.

The Primer's four sections of padding aren't super thick, but they're well positioned, and I don't have any complaints about the overall comfort. Most of my rides have been in more spring-like conditions, but on the handful of warmer, sunnier days that I wore the helmet for it remained comfortable, with good sweat management.

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FUNCTION

The fit of the Primer worked very well for me, and I'm a fan of the low key looks, but there's one missing feature: any way to store sunglasses when they're not in use. Sweet Protection mentions the Primer's 'seamless eyewear integration' in their marketing copy, but that only refers to the fact that you can wear sunglasses with this helmet; it doesn't mean you'll actually have a spot to stash them when grinding up a steamy climb. The higher end Bushwacker does have slots specifically for stashing sunglasses arms – it's a real shame that design couldn't have trickled down to the Primer.

WEIGHT & PRICE

At 396 grams, the Primer's weight is fairly typical for a trail helmet. The price is a little higher than similar options, although not as pricey as a POC – for reference, here's a quick price / weight rundown of the Primer's contemporaries:

Lazer Coyote: $109 / 340 grams
Specialized Tactic: $110 / 380 grams
Giro Source: $130 / 351 grams
POC Tectal: $180 / 352 grams


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Pros

+ Comfortable, secure & silent fit
+ Lots of color options

Cons

- Three position visor is a bit flimsy
- No place to stash sunglasses




Pinkbike's Take
bigquotesThe Primer Mips is a solid option for riders searching for a good-looking trail helmet that ticks almost all the boxes. The lack of a spot for sunglasses is unfortunate, but if that's not on your list of 'must haves' then the Primer is well worth considering. Mike Kazimer


Author Info:
mikekazimer avatar

Member since Feb 1, 2009
1,744 articles

42 Comments
  • 46 3
 I thought the next product review would be a bunch of locks you can use in a van. Sweet helmet!
  • 25 0
 "What's mine say?"
"Sweet. What's mine say?"
"Dude. What's mine say?"
"SWEET. WHAT'S MINE SAY?"
  • 10 0
 Sweet are my go to for my oval head. Almost* every other brand I can barely squeeze into a med, but a large is like wearing a bucket. Currently wearing a Trailblazer with no intention to change anytime soon, but yeah sunglass storage would be a nice addition

*Specialized are good too, but sometimes you have to look at them...
  • 1 0
 How do Smith fit your oval head?
  • 3 0
 @H2o1199: Shit. I also have an oval head and the medium is too small and the large rests on my eyebrows. Will be checking out this or the Giro Source I think I sticking my Smith on ebay!
  • 2 0
 @H2o1199: Exactly the same as he ^ says
  • 3 0
 Same! I Have both the falconer MIPS for Road and the Trailblazer for MTB. Plus, they are not just comfortable for Huge Heads but both are in the top 3 helmets for their category in terms of safety according to Viginia Tech!
  • 2 0
 Interesting. As an oval head myself, I'd say Sweet DOESN'T fit me, but that both Smith and Fox do. Though I'm also an XL size noggin.
  • 4 1
 @H2o1199: Smith is the WORST for oval heads. They make the most round helmets I've ever worn.

Like @mikekazimer I've also had good luck with Giro, POC, and most recently the Fox Speedframe Pro. Though my old Sweet ski helmet wasn't the best fit either. I wear a size S
  • 1 0
 @TranceAllez: hey man, strong disagree. I have a very oval head and they fit me well. Maybe they're more round in smaller sizes? Because in XL they're the best oval fitting I've found.
  • 1 0
 @H2o1199:
My smith session works well for my (L/XL) oval head.
My smith ski helmet (quantum) does not
My sweet kayak helmets work pretty good but I have to pad them out with an included foam pad kit fairly significantly
  • 1 0
 @H2o1199: I think it all depends on *how* your head is oval. Mine is like an oval on its side, rather than the standard 'egg head'; if you get me!

I have a pretty shallow head (i.e the distance from ears to crown is small) but a fairly large and oddly shaped circumference.

If that makes sense...

I've heard the Lazer helmets are pretty good for my situation
  • 3 0
 @colourofsound: not gonna lie, in my (oval) head you now look like Hey Arnold
  • 1 0
 @mashrv1: Yeah not like Arnold - pointy bits at the front and back Big Grin
  • 1 0
 Interesting discussion. POC didn't work for my oval shaped head (do not remember the model). Specialized is the best fit for me so far.
  • 11 0
 Another negative - no in helmet storage. Lame.
  • 8 0
 Lack of sunglasses storage is a deal breaker for me. My sweaty forehead could never
  • 2 0
 Loving Oakley DRT5, is ~75 bucks everywhere, has glasses port and (kind of) channels sweat away from the eyes. Looks good too.
  • 2 0
 What I want is for a manufacturer to develop a sunglasses storage system that doesn't result in the silicon grippers of my glasses getting ripped up and the ear stems getting stretched out. After a season of use, My Smith Wildcats (which I love!) are so stretched out I have to lock them down on my ears with my helmet straps.
  • 2 0
 The Smith Forefront 2 is what you need. It works perfect with my wildcats.
  • 1 0
 @theboypanda: yeah I never worry about glasses coming off forefront 2 not have a torn up glasses being up there. Smith helmet and smith glasses probably help though.
  • 1 0
 Just need a pair that is integrated into the helmet and flips up into the visor when not in use, just like those clip ons your mom probably wears (mine does).
  • 1 0
 @theboypanda: That's the helmet I have. When you store the glasses up under the visor they get ripped up and stretched out. Granted, I've had them for a couple seasons, and maybe my face is on the narrower side but still.
  • 6 0
 Looks sweet
  • 20 0
 Looks protection.
  • 1 0
 Always wondered what the deal with sunglass storage is, but I ride with prescription sunglasses so the option is steamy glasses or blurry branch to the face so have never even checked if I have any storage…. Guess I’m missing out.
  • 2 0
 "... one that doesn't look like you hit the trails after a sci-fi cosplay convention"

Love the reference to the previous helmet review
  • 1 0
 Lots of colors would be a pro if any of them (outside of the standard black and white) were anything I'd consider wearing on my head.

That aside I do like the shape of this one.
  • 1 0
 Does it come with twat protection? i dont mind bashing my skull, but my "area" needs to be safe! maybe a full battle ready body suit? these are mountain bikes not child playthings.
  • 1 0
 Love sweet protection helmets, but the padding deteriorated in no time,even after washing regularly.Getting spares in the UK is a PIA and expensive.
  • 2 0
 Sweet makes the most default looking helmets ive ever seen
  • 1 0
 Is that visor an air brake? It sure isn’t going to block the sun from your eyes
  • 1 0
 For some, unknown to me reason, I wanted to like this helmet. I just can't get past its looks.....
  • 1 0
 There is a special safety standard for ebikers? Why? That makes no sense whatsoever?
  • 1 0
 Wow, you can wear sunglasses with it. What a revolution.
  • 3 0
 wait til you hear about the new MBS (manual buckling system) that you can actually use with or without gloves and it's e bike compatible
  • 1 0
 Love smith helmet's, always good, always comfy regardless of sport's
  • 1 0
 I'd call this more of a 2/3 protection than 3/4, IMO
  • 1 0
 Plain and simple
  • 1 2
 The only drawback of wearing a Sweet Protection helmet is everyone sees the logo and thinks I'm some poor wearing a Smith
  • 4 0
 You're on a pushbike, you look like a dork. I don't think it really matters.







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