The Trace helmet sits at the top of Smith’s performance road cycling helmet collection. So it should come at no surprise that Smith has incorporated the latest technology and design into the helmet to ensure it is lightweight and safe. You’ll find a variety of trademarked technologies with the Trace – from the Aerocore in-mold construction to the VaporFit adjustable fit system. The Trace also features MIPS as well as Smith’s own ventilated Koroyd inner liner to protect the rider in the event of an accident. In this review, we’ll be looking at the latest color variation the ‘Get Wild’ which brings 80s inspired graphics and bold colors to the helmet for maximum visibility. These features don’t come cheap though, as the helmet has a premium retail price. Does the Smith Trace ‘Get Wild’ live up to the high price? Let’s dive in and find out.
Whether or not you’re a fan of the ‘Get Wild ‘ color scheme, it’s hard not to be impressed by the Smith Trace’s well ventilated design and safety technology.
|Measured weight (in g)||282|
|Likes|| + Well ventilated for even the hottest days|
+ Available in unique color schemes
+ MIPS and Koroyd technology
|Dislikes||– Premium price|
– Standard plastic clasp instead of magnetic clasp
– Lacks integrated crash sensor
|Where to Buy (US)||Smith Optics|
The Trace helmet comes in a simple cardboard helmet box with bright printed graphics. In the box you’ll find:
- Trace helmet
- Fabric storage bag
- Instruction Manual
The storage bag feels well designed and is a great way to keep the helmet protected and clean when you are traveling or put it away.
DESIGN & USABILITY
As the Trace is Smith’s top-of-the-line road cycling helmet, the helmet features a low profile design with aggressive venting. The Trace has a sleek aerodynamic profile with sharp trailing edge design. Smith has also done a good job hiding the seams of the outer shell by using large vents to conceal the overlaps which gives the helmet a premium look. Curiously, Smith chose to use a standard plastic clasp instead of a magnetic clasp which have become increasingly common in newer helmets like the Thousand Chapter and higher end helmets like the Bontrager Specter WaveCel.
We’re also quite enamored with the “Get Wild” colors scheme which incorporates 1980s inspired graphics to really make the Trace helmet stand out. The outer shell is a semi-gloss black that extends all the way into the helmet for a clean and premium look. Contrasting against the black base color you’ll find white tiger stripes along the main upper portion of the helmet. To ensure everyone knows this is a Smith helmet, the logo is oversized and finished in bubblegum pink with light blue accents including the exposed Koroyd honeycomb inner liner which makes it really pop visually. Obviously, the ‘Get Wild’ color scheme won’t be for everyone but if you are fond of the 80s and want something that stands out, this is the one to buy. If you’re not a fan, Smith does also offers the Trace in a variety of more low-key design schemes such as black, matte gray, and gold.
Although the helmet features 18 vents, a majority of those feature the honey-comb like Koroyd panels. Smith claims these improve airflow as they’ve optimized the placement to channel heat away from your head. However, when you’re on a high-effort and slow climb open vents are hard to beat. As a result, the helmet also features open center vents that provide an unobstructed passage from the front to the back of the helmet. Smith also has incorporated something they call an “AirEvac system” to prevent sunglasses from fogging up. This is a strategically placed channel at the front of the helmet to allow air to flow away from your sunglasses which we found worked well even with large sunglasses.
FIT & COMFORT
The Trace features Smith’s VaporFit retention system which utilizes a familiar dual direction dial for quick adjustments. To improve usability, Smith has added a textured rubber coating that makes it easy to hold even with gloves on. Not only can the tension of the retention system be adjusted, but the cage can be adjusted forward/backward and upward/downward with simple tabs. Despite the lightweight and thin design of the retention system, little details like rubberized pads ensure the retention system provides a secure fit. The helmet also features plush and removable pads which means the helmet is comfortable even on all-day rides.
We found that the helmet has a similar secure feeling as we found with the Bontrager Specter WaveCel helmet. The Koroyd liner provides a nice even pressure distribution, while the adjustable straps and fit system are easy to dial in. We are also impressed with the ventilation of the helmet as the 18 vents kept us cool even on hot summer days. We found that the large open center vents worked well on slow climbs, while the AirEvac ventilation prevented our sunglasses from fogging up. The low profile of the helmet also means it won’t interfere with the oversized sunglasses such as the Smith Flywheel. We also found the open side channels worked as designed for stashing sunglasses away securely and quickly.
Overall, we found the Smith Trace to be a lightweight and well ventilated road cycling helmet. As one of Smith’s top road cycling helmets, the Trace utilizes both MIPS and Koroyd technologies for additional impact absorption and safety. While the Trace helmet is not the lightest on the market at 280g (medium sized), it’s easy to forget you are wearing it. We are also impressed with the helmet’s ventilation as the 18 oversized vents and open center channels ensure you stay cool even on warmer days. Additionally the ‘Get Wild’ color scheme with the tiger stripes, pink Smith logo, and blue Koroyd structure give the helmet a distinctive look that’s hard to match. Even if you choose a more subtle color scheme, the Smith Trace helmet is a high performance helmet perfect for breaking PRs or just weekend club rides if you can look past the high retail price.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Smith Optics. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.