Cooler to wear than its more expensive brother, the Smith Optics Session MIPS mountain bike helmet is a stylish comfortable option, featuring more airflow but also some odd sizing.
The Smith Session MIPS is an all-mountain lid with low, deep coverage at the sides and rear, a MIPS liner, inner Koryod protection, adjustable cradle and peak and some questionable colour choices.
The enduro and trail lid features ‘zonal impact areas’, I think you should read into that the following: Koroyd material removed from the middle strip of vents, allowing more airflow and leaving the protection from the Koroyd only on either side of the lid. The air flow issues seen on the Forefront was something we criticised both last year and earlier this year so removing these sections seems a sensible option, similar sections have also been removed on the new Forefront II. It also allows for straightforward fitment of all kinds of light and camera attachments on both lids.
At £140 the Session is £35 cheaper than the Forefront II MIPS and I really can’t see a reason for buying the more expensive lid. The Session has the same features, better airflow due to 15 vents and removal of some Koroyd and, I think, much improved styling too. Smith use the patented Koroyd system (think glued together drinking straws) as their main protection element in the Forefront, a system that is being seen on a few other brands more recently and one which I cannot comment on in terms of its safety level, other than of course their lids pass all of the tests much the same as any others are required to. Smith claims it can absorb up to 30% more force than a standard shell, if true, your grey matter will thank you for it.
As we already mentioned the Session gets MIPS, an adjustable peak, channels for easy Smith eyewear storage, well fitting and adjustable shin straps and the brands VaporFit adjustable cradle. Our cradle dial did break after some particularly rough treatment but it is easily replaceable and not something we have experienced on any other Smith lid we have tested. The peak is really up or down, it’s hard to secure it into the middle position, way up high was a little lofty for my liking so down it was.
The Session also gets the same XT2 anti-bacterial helmet pads with a spare set and helmet bag in the box too. At 371g for my size medium test lid, its light too, that’s about the same weight as other small size off-road.cc test lids from Giro and Bell.
The sizing is a tad odd on the Session though, I’ve previously tested a medium sized Forefront find the fit perfect but the Session needed to have the cradle winched right in order to secure it, try before you buy is my advice. It’s still an uber comfy lid though and one I wear time and time again over and above my Forefront and I think the price is spot on.