The Smith Optics Convoy MIPS helmet is a great-quality trail lid at a bargain price. It's clear where costs have been saved, but that doesn't impact on safety, styling, comfort or fit – it's a very savvy choice for pound-stretched riders.
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The Convoy enjoys Smith's usual cool, slick styling, and gets a fully-adjustable retention cradle and a MIPS liner too. Weighing just 300g (size small), it's pretty light and costs just £65. Impressive.
First up, the Convoy gets MIPS. That's the system designed to reduce rotational forces on the head and reduce the risk of concussion. The reasoning behind it is sound – we tend to hit the ground at an angle, not vertically as in helmet testing – so it's something I'd rather have than not. Given the Convoy's low price, its great to see it fitted here.
The MIPS liner is a simple second cradle that, in a crash, can move independently of the one attached to your head, reducing the force of sudden rotations that come from digging the helmet into the ground.
The cradle around your head is Smith's comfy Vaporfit, which is dial adjusted. It's adjustable over three heights too – in fact, it's hard to see any differences between this retention system and the one in the more expensive Smith Session. The whole thing is comfy and well-ventilated, with good quality – if not very thick – padding.
The Convoy is happy to accommodate glasses above the peak. I'm a huge fan of Smith's own Wildcat glasses and they lodge neatly and securely atop the helmet.
The only downsides to the helmet are the exposed EPS foam on the outer edge, which is likely to get dented pretty quickly, and the non-adjustable peak. I had it in my field of view the entire time – not so much it impinged on my vision, but enough to find a tad annoying. I usually run my peak higher so I can't see it. If you want a Smith lid with a three-position peak, you'll have to shell out twice as much for a Session.
The outer shell's shiny finish and that exposed EPS foam looks a tad cheap, but now I'm just being picky! Other brands offer similarly-priced helmets, and they all have their own pitfalls: the Giro Fixture MIPS is a one-size-fits all (or doesn't), while the Bell 4Forty has an uncomfortable cradle and no MIPS. And while the Kali Maya might be comfy, it's warm and lacks MIPS as well. My pick is the Smith Convoy every time.
Available in five colours and three sizes for £65, the Convoy is a stylish lid with features usually only found on pricier options. Check it out – it's a bargain.