Smith Forefront MIPS 2018 Mountain Bike Review

Smith Forefront MIPS 2018

Reviews / Helmets

Smith 208,152

At A Glance

Smith’s groundbreaking Forefront helmet gets the MIPS treatment in an upgrade that sees safety even further improved in this impressive lid. The striking looks of the Forefront were turning heads when it first came out, and it still does today. The primary tech inside was the use of the AEROCORE which utilised Koroyd’s impact protection system to create a low volume lid that looked like something from Star Wars.

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The Forefront is light, offers fantastic coverage and comes with a goggle management system as an accessory. There is also a thread in the top of the lid for attaching lights and cameras. The VaporFit system makes it easy to get a snug fit with the roller on the back of the helmet and with 21 vents and plenty of holes created by the straw-like structure of the Koroyd it offers plenty of airflow.

The MIPS upgrade will be a welcome addition for many riders, as more and more research is done into helmet safety and MTB crashes it is becoming more and more apparent that there is a real need for a reduction on the stress levels from an impact. MIPS aims to do this by letting the lid slide slightly, dissipating the force to your brain.

On The Trail

The looks of the Forefront are striking, and it’s a love or hate helmet for some. My previous one was nicknamed the orange mushroom with its one block colour scheme. For this year the bright colours have been broken up with a two-tone design that has finally lost me the moniker of the orange mushroom. With five colours to choose from this year, there should be something to suit your style.

It’s a very comfortable helmet to wear, light and aerated with excellent ventilation especially to the forehead area. Perfect for long rides in the saddle or hot days blasting enduro trails this lid won’t hold you back. The VaporFit system is easy to use, even with wet gloves.

The goggle retention system works well, and Forefront is enduro ready if that is how you ride. For the more subtle rider out there glasses fit well, and if you wear Smith optics, then they can slide into the grooves on the lid when you aren’t riding. Other specs fit there too, but it’s worth checking before you buy. It’s also worth not sticking them up there in a tight section as we’ve lost a pair before when a low hanging branch clipped the specs off without us noticing.

The addition of MIPS is hardly noticeable, certainly where the fit is concerned. You can, of course, move the helmet slightly when it is on your head but you need to do this with your hand, it remains incredibly stable when you're just riding.


A beautifully designed lid packed with the latest technology and features. Koroyd keeps it light and offers superior impact resistance while MIPS brings it bang up to date with modern standards. Comfortable to wear with excellent coverage around the back and excellent goggle retention this is the helmet for today's discerning rider.

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This review was in Issue 51 of IMB.

For more information visit Smith


By Rou Chater
Rou Chater is the Publishing Editor of IMB Magazine; he’s a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, but his passion for bikes knows no bounds. His first mountain bike was a Trek 820, which he bought in 1990. It didn’t take him long to earn himself a trip to the hospital on it, and he’s never looked back since. These days he’s keeping it rubber side down, riding locally and overseas as much as possible.

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