Specialized has redesigned the Tactic for its fourth iteration. This time, it gets a fresh look and a handful of useful features that make the Tactic 4 quite a lot of helmet for the cash. It’s comfortable, and it offers tonnes of coverage for an open face lid, but cooling comes with its quirks, and the visor seems to only be superficial.
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[Photography by Roo Fowler]
The Tactic 4 is a helmet that's made especially with e-bikers, enduro riders, and hard-chargers in mind. As such, it's been built with a bunch of features with extra coverage at the rear to keep them happy and well protected.
Those features include Specialized's Integrated Fit System that's designed to accommodate different head shapes. There's an occipital base adjustment to further personalize the fit, internal channelling to guide air over the head along with 4D brow cooling that provides a gap to draw air through the front, and the helmet uses MIPS Evolve.
The helmet is ANGI ready, meeting NTA 8776 certification and scoring the highest 5-Star Virginia Tech Rating. Oh, and before I forget, there’s an integrated but fixed visor with specifically designed eyewear channels for glasses storage and plenty of space for goggles.
All of that is claimed to weigh in at 380g on a medium helmet, however, my scales tipped to 394g. Either way, it’s definitely not too heavy a helmet, though not as light as the brand’s Ambush lid.
What really strikes me about the Tactic 4 is its build quality. It certainly feels solid for a £100 lid. The shell wraps around the edges, and there’s little EPS on show, plus it looks rather good.
Although the padding isn’t dotted all over the helmet, the Tactic 4 is actually rather comfy. It doesn’t feel heavy, and there are no pressure points on my head, at least. I would say that comfort is nearing that of my favourite helmet, the Troy Lee Designs A3, but the Tactic 4 is half the price. It’s definitely on par with the Scott Stego Plus.
It’s not a warm helmet either, especially when there’s a good breeze making its way through those vents. One of very few niggles, though, is that at slow speed, where you often really want some cooling air, it’s not as readily welcomed.
Slow speed airflow isn’t helped when you’ve popped a pair of riding specs under the visor, but that’s totally to be expected, and actually, it’s a really handy feature that I’ve gotten tonnes of use out of.
With some helmets on the market, it takes some level of jiggery-pokery to get the arms of your glasses into their designated holes, but glasses stowage on the Tactic 4 couldn’t be easier. It keeps them reasonably well out of sight, too, though depending on your glasses of choice, there will be a little hanging in your periphery.
What is a bit of a letdown on the Tactic 4 is the integrated visor. It seems to be more for show than anything else as, in reality, it doesn’t provide much use. That’s not helped by the fact that it’s fixed either but, if, like me, you don’t fuss with a visor much anyway, this isn’t too much of an issue.
The Specialized Tactic 4 is a strong contender for the money though that’s not to say there aren’t comparable helmets for less money. A good example is the Smith Convoy MIPS. Of course, as its name suggests, it comes built with a MIPS liner, but Rach said it looks fairly cheap (something the Tactic 4 does not), and the fixed visor is in vision all of the time. There’s also a lot of EPS on show.
If you want to save a fiver, the Smith Engage looks to offer quite a lot for £95, even an adjustable visor, and it may just trump the Tactic 4.
The Specialized Tactic 4 is an impressive lid for the cash, all while looking fairly sharp too. Its list of features prove to be useful, apart from the fixed visor, which in day to day use becomes little more than a (welcome) superficial add-on.