As mountain biking continues to push the limits of human ability, the need for protection has become ever more paramount. Although wearing a helmet is not a legal requirement on a day-to-day ride, we think it's a very good idea.

A majority of trail centres, bike parks and organised events require every rider to wear a helmet as a minimum requirement - no helmet, no ride. At the end of the day, even the best riders in the industry crash from time to time, and you don't see them without a lid.

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Smith Optics began life in the eyewear industry some 50 years ago. Being the first manufacturer to feature sealed thermal lens, and a breathable vent foam, Smith Optics went on to produce some of the best goggles and lenses for snow sports and casual wear. Having since ventured into the realm of mountain biking, Smith have been making some serious waves with their stylish, lightweight protective helmets.

Smith Rover MIPS Helmet

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The Smith Rover helmet is an all-mountain, all-adventure lid. Available in eight dynamic colours, this lightweight trail weapon will keep your head cool, and protected on the trails. Smith have developed a cutting edge Koroyd technology which adds additional protection to high impact areas.

Buying Guide: Choosing the right MTB helmet

MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) technology is the latest in helmet innovation that focus’s on protecting the brain during rotational impacts. This feature is coupled with a plethora of safety, breathable and comfort measures to ensure the helmet ticks all the boxes for mountain bikers.

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When I first received the Smith Rover, I was pleased to feel how just how light it is in the hand. The adjustable straps, visor and inner casing can be easily dialled in for a comfortable and secure fit. While the Rover is lightweight, there is a bulky feel to the rear end of the helmet which is largely owing to the additional protection Smith has incorporated.

A striking feature of the Rover is the honeycomb like inserts. What can only be described as the cross-section of a clutch of straws, this feature helps absorb shock on impact whilst offering a assistance to the 18 vents throughout the helmet.

Verdict

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I've been wearing the Smith Rover MIPS helmet for a number of months, with the ultimate test conditions out in Switzerland for the Snow Bike Festival. It's comfortable to wear, even on long trail days and the well ventilated construction kept the air circulating throughout. I found the ratchet to be a little stiff to use, and fiddly when wearing gloves, but this is only a minor irritation.

Built for the intended purpose of protection and impact absorption, I did indeed fall off my bike a fair few times during the Snow Bike Festival. Whilst hitting my head on the packed down snow was a lot more forgiving that the hard ground at home, I was pleased to find that the Smith Rover felt secure and solid, without any stabbing or pressure spots.

Overall I think the Smith Rover MIPS is a fantastic trail helmet, with its lightweight and secure design. It's a helmet that feels protective and reassuring which I consider to be an important aspect of any piece of protective equipment.

Sizes: Small (51-55cm) - Medium (55-59cm) - Large (59-62cm)

Smith Rover with MIPS is available here for £130

Smith Pivlock Arena Max glasses are available here for £90

Smith Squad goggles are available here for £65

Mountain bike helmets don't have to be heavy, lumpy and ill-fitting like they used to be. With brands like Smith Optics continually working to further technology and development, we can rest assured that our noggins are comfortable and protected.

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