The Smith Engage is quite simply one of the best priced, comfiest helmets I’ve tested. It’s got good coverage of the head, it feels light when riding, the airflow is effective, and it’s great value. It’s got solid, modern looks and has lasted well.
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Smith Engage Helmet Technical details
Built around an in-mold type construction, the Engage has MIPS, 20 air vents, an integrated visor and a very lightweight feeling chin strap. This is coupled with Smith's VaporFit dial adjustment system to bring all the essentials you really need in a trail helmet into play.
The in-mold construction wraps around the expanded foam and the inside, protecting the helmet's lower edges from dents and scuffs when not in use or chucked in with kit in the car/van.
The MIPS provides protection from rotational forces and is an established feature in many helmets these days. Thankfully I didn't physically test its capabilities; it's useful extra protection to have.
There are twenty vents, which are well spread out to offer decent airflow. There is a space to stow your riding glasses (intended for Smith eyewear, but others fit too) into the two front left and right vents, and the peak flips up if you want to push your goggles at times. The visor is relatively short looking but totally effective and seems balanced with the helmet.
Smith have a retention system called VaporFit - it's a dial that pulls a retention band and secures it to your head. It's a variation on a theme and works perfectly. It's got a few areas of padding around the dial area that keep it feeling a little less sweaty.
There are two decent-sized pads, one running around the forehead and the other on the top of the head. They absorb a good amount of sweat and can easily be removed for washing. I liked the balance of padding, but not so much it was too soft, which I find can be too warm or cause the helmet not to sit so well.
The chin strap is a light, thin webbing, easy to adjust, comfortable under the chin, and easy to do up and unclip. There was minimal twisting, and it feels barely there.
Smith Engage Helmet - how it feels riding
The first thing I noticed was how the Engage felt really light and comfy. The helmet sits well and covers plenty down the rear to lower ear level. There is also hardly anything visible in your peripheral vision.
When riding, it sits solidly, doesn’t move about, and while it’s not as cool as higher-end lids, it’s not at all bad performing. Only on one really hot day did I notice a build-up of sweat in the padding. The chin strap is very light and thin but keeps comfortable as it’s wide enough to not twist much and never dug in, even if pulled pretty close in.
I like the fact that the Engage feels light when wearing, and it ticks all comfort boxes for me. It’s got decent protection, more than a lighter road style lid, and with this level of extra coverage, it remains light and comfortable - what’s not to like?
Looks-wise, I think it’s got a contemporary feel and doesn’t look too big, and with the chamfered round edges to the vents, they add to the modern style. It’s held up well to being dumped in the van after rides, hosed down after gritty, muddy or sweaty use, and has kept looking good.
I had no issues with tight spots or pressure points, and there is an adjustment for diameter and also height. The Smith Engage is available in small, medium, large, and X-large, with plenty of size choices. I tested the medium, and there was plenty of sizing change for a few others who tried it.
Smith Engage Helmet - Final thoughts
The Smith Engage manages to be super comfortable, have excellent protection, is lightweight and is also a competitive price. I can't really find anything to fault it, to be honest - perhaps the limited choice of colours, but even then, the black or white/charcoal are neutral colours, and there is the Matte Cinder (tested) if you want something brighter.
In terms of value, it's very good. Looking at other trail lids we've tested of late, the Troy Lee Designs A3 MIPS, which at twice the price, offers a little more. There is also the Fox Speedframe Pro which is nearer in price but doesn't offer anything more in terms of function or huge benefits.
It's well made, and whilst more expensive helmets are lighter, you will struggle to really get much more than refinements above this level. I'd struggle to recommend a helmet other than you have to get a different colour.
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