Specialized S3 Helmet – Follow Up ReviewWritten: June 13, 2012
I wrote about the new Specialized S3 helmet I’d picked up after wearing it for just one ride – hardly a glowing review, but how has it faired for the riding I’ve done since?
As I suggested in the previous review, I have been wearing it pretty much since that first ride with a skull cap – partly as a sweat control thing, partly as a comfort thing. With the skullcap on it seems to be a perfectly comfortable helmet, and it certainly makes it more bearable to use. As the Sydney weather has cooled the skullcap has been a help for temperature control anyway, particularly for the 5-6am starts. It’s a bit of a double-edged sword though as some days the skull cap makes you overheat but without it the sweat would be running down your face (honestly, that ‘big mouth’ vent at the front and the lack of contact with your forehead is a real problem), and at times I can’t help thinking I’d be sweating less if I didn’t have to wear the skull cap in the first place.
Why was that ride such an issue? Well, after a coffee stop towards the end of the ride I decided to ride the 15km home without the skullcap. That proved to be 15km of constant fidgeting to try and make the helmet comfortable – the damn thing just felt horrid! It was a combination of the issues I’d highlighted on that first ride report where the contact areas at the front felt all wrong whilst the ‘Mindset’ settings at the back didn’t seem secure enough. It made me want to conveniently ‘accidentally drop’ the damn thing or even purposely fall off and hit my head so that I could justify replacing it.
Another issue I’ve noticed is that if the helmet isn’t tipped far enough forward the straps behind the ears go slack. The extent of this will no doubt vary by person, but for me it feels like I’m tipping the lid far too low at the front to maintain taught straps, and it certainly does nothing to enhance the comfort of it. Additionally if the helmet slips back at all whilst you’re riding and those rear straps do go saggy again they make an awful noise at speed – very bloody annoying when they’re so close to your ears, believe me.
The only positive I can draw is that it looks alright, and that the tension adjuster on the Mindset strap at the back is a very solid, positive system. I managed to find a location where my Oakley Jawbones stay in place too, although it can be a fiddly spot to find and getting my Radars into the front vents is a significantly easier option.
For the moment I’ll continue to use it, but purely because I’m still not able to work and therefore simply cannot justify another $250 on a replacement. I reckon a new helmet will be one of the first things I buy when I do have a job though – I’ve only had it six weeks or so, but I’m not sure I can put up with this thing much longer…
Tags:bicycles,mindset,mtb helmet,prevail,removable peak,road bike helmet,road bikes,S3,specialized
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