New Specialized Prevail II Vent helmet uses Aramid ropes to cool your head faster

Tips & Reviews

Heat is the enemy of so many things…brake rotors, sports drinks, glaciers. The Specialized Prevail 2 Vent helmet won’t solve those, but it’ll at least help you keep your cool while everything else around us heats up.

Regulating your temperature with massive vents is the key theme here, but as usual, it’s how they went about giving the new lightweight helmet so much airflow that makes this model so interesting. Here’s the tech, followed by actual weights and our first ride impressions…

Specialized Prevail II Vent helmet details

specialized prevail 2 vent helmet on road cyclists

The Prevail II Vent is a successor/option of the standard Prevail II helmet. The main difference is the removal of seven EPS foam bridges between the front-to-back sections. This removed obstructions that blocked or slowed air flow.

Of course, you need something to keep the helmet together in the event of a crash, so they turned to Aramid fibers:

closeup of aramid fiber ropes holding the specialized prevail 2 vent helmet together

A woven Aramid rope creates the internal skeleton of the helmet, and is the only thing connecting the center channel and two side channels.

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet details

Specialized says this increases vented area by 20% and moves 18% more air across your head. The result is better convective cooling, and a cooler head for you. Meant to complement the S-Works Vent shoe they introduced last year, seems they’re on a mission to help riders perform better in the summer heat.

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet review and mips padding details

What’s surprising is that a helmet this open also uses MIPS. Rather than the plastic sleeve we’re used to seeing, the Prevail II Vent uses MIPS’ “watchband” attachments that allow for a claimed 10-15mm of rotation in all directions.

The pads themselves use a perforated ripstop material, and the entire pad and safety design (called “MIPS SL”) is exclusive to Specialized. They say it offers as much protection as other MIPS systems, and even received a 5-Star safety rating from Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings test lab.

Bonus! Exclusive development interview

In fact, there’s a lot more to this helmet than meets the eye. We reached out to Specialized’s helmet product manager, Alex Jerome, to learn more:

BIKERUMOR: Tell us about the new MIPS pad kit, how does it differ from the pad kit in the Prevail II and why did Specialized go through the trouble to make this iteration?

ALEX: We are still using the MIPs SL solution (No longer exclusive to SBC) in the new Prevail II Vent, but we have made some nice performance improvements to it that are exclusive to SBC. We have added a perforated backing along with a ripstop mesh layer, which helps to increase the lifespan of the pads. The perforated backing is really integral to increasing the breathability and moisture retention of the pad kit making the overall rider experience that much more cool and enjoyable.

BIKERUMOR: Does this pad kit replace the previous pad kit, or is it exclusive to the Prevail II Vent version?

ALEX: This updated MIPs SL pad kit does replace the “Prevail II” pad kit (but it’s also sold separately). So it is an opportunity for those with a Prevail II to purchase this newer pad kit at retailers to get more performance out of their helmets.

BIKERUMOR: The Aramid rope looks a lot different than the previous cages we’ve seen in Specialized helmets, can you tell us a little about the differences there?

ALEX: In the past we have used our own layup for our aramid cage that was designed to be inside the EPS. When we decided to remove the bridges to focus even more on ventilation we needed to update the roll cage to be able to handle this new load. We are now using a completely re-engineered roll cage that uses a hybrid of our old Aramid cage along with the new robotically spun Aramid ropes to allow for the removal of the EPS bridges.

BIKERUMOR: What’s the thing you’re most proud of with the new Prevail II Vent?

ALEX: The helmet Team at SBC is pretty proud of the innovation we are making with this helmet. Our new re-engineered roll cage that allows us to make vent sizes unseen before in the helmet industry is one to be proud of.

Our own Chris Chou, who worked in Specialized’s helmet department during this product’s development adds:

With the Prevail II Vent there’s a lot more than meets the eye – the exposed Aramid cage might not look like much, but that’s the point. In order to increase the vent size while maintaining the levels of protection that the Prevail II was known for, we had to go back to the drawing board and completely redesign the internal roll cage to be able to function without the EPS foam bridges from the Prevail II, and hold the helmet together so it can do its job and dissipate the energy from an impact before it reaches your head. That meant new materials, construction methods, and manufacturing techniques never before used in a Specialized helmet.

In addition, the MIPS SL pad kit is something that hides the good stuff where nobody can see it – perforating the back of the pads sounds like an easy enough task, but required again use of special materials that would be durable despite perforation, and withstand the corrosive nature of sweat while staying plush and comfortable. It’s a big improvement over the original MIPS SL pads, and this perforated version is a Specialized exclusive – you won’t find it on any other helmet out there right now. The fact that it’s available to retrofit into the existing Prevail IIs out there was important to me as a super sweat guy, and I can tell you from personal experience that it makes a difference on those long days under the hot sun.

Prevail II Vent pricing, colors & actual weight

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet color options

The Prevail II Vent comes in:

  • Matte Maroon/Glass Black
  • Gloss Metallic White/Gloss Silver
  • Matte/Gloss Black
  • Gloss Sand/Gloss Dopio

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet actual weight

Our size medium test sample came in at 274g with the (10g, claimed) ANGi crash detection and alert system:

angi crash detection and alert transponder on a specialized bicycle helmet

A $50 option ($25 upgrade if purchased on a helmet), the ANGi sensor detects crash-like impacts and, via Bluetooth connection to your smartphone, will alert your emergency contact if it thinks you’ve been in an accident. Check out our full story on ANGi for more details.

The new Prevail II Vent retails for $250, available now.

Specialized Prevail II Vent first impressions

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet review

It’s hard not to like a helmet that feels like it isn’t there, and that’s my first impression of the new Prevail II Vent. While it’s still a bit chilly out for daily use, it’s immediately evident that there’s a lot of air flow, which should be perfect in hotter months.

aramid rope tubes running through specialized prevail 2 vent bike helmet specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet details

The woven Aramid ropes look cool, too, giving this helmet a unique aesthetic while also being respectably lightweight.

The ANGi crash detection is a nice addition if routinely ride alone, and I like that there’s no subscription or other ongoing fee to use it. Just set it up in the app, and remember to start your ride on the Specialized Ride app before you roll out. At least you can manage crash alerts on a Wahoo computer, though.

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet review specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet review

Short of wrecking in a helmet, there’s not a lot to say about it other than it’s comfort, weight, and looks. Fortunately, this one scores high in all three.

The two photos above show how much open space (you can see the side of my head in the bottom pic) the Prevail II Vent has. Even with my short “summer” hair cut already in place, I couldn’t feel the little plastic pad connectors.

specialized prevail 2 vent road bike helmet review

I also like the strap splitter that opens up space under my ear, preventing the straps from digging into the back of my ear. There’s still plenty of adjustment available, especially on the rear retention cradle, which can slide up and down almost 2cm…which should leave plenty of space for ponytails.

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