Smith Forefront vs. Smith Engage Helmets

Travis GneitingBikes, Cycling, Reviews Leave a Comment

Smith Engage MIPS Helmet Introduction

Two of the most popular mountain bike helmets are the Smith Forefront and the Engage. The Forefront is $100 more expensive but is it worth the additional cost? It includes a lot of features from the foam, Koroyd, retention strap, MIPS, and visor that make it one of my favorite budget-friendly, great-looking trail helmets.

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We produced the video below to show the difference between the Smith Forefront and the Smith Engage helmet to help you

Smith Engage MIPS Helmet Construction and Details

The Helmet is constructed of three main materials. The Foam, Koroyd, and the MIPS. The helmet is made from a molded foam shell. Inside the shell is the plastic MIPS to reduce rotational impacts, and Koroyd (honeycomb or straw-looking vents) that are designed to cushion impact and reduce the force of a wreck. There are also some small removable and washable pads to improve the comfort of the helmet.

There is an additional boa style ratched on the back of the helmet that makes adjusting the circumference of the helmet fit more precise. Simply turning the dial clockwise or counterclockwise will tighten or loosen the retention. The indexing on the clicks is very tight together offering a very precise tune.

The helmet chin strap has a simple pinch buckle to keep the helmet firm on top you my head. It also offers quick tab adjustments around the ear holes to get a precise fit from front to back.

Smith Engage MIPS Helmet Use and Performance

I have used a number of mountain biking and road biking helmets over the past few decades. There are a number of features I look for in a helmet and the Smith Engage checks them all.

  1. I don’t like a bulky or heavy helmets. The Engage is light weigh and minimal profile while still offering industry standards for protection.
  2. Adjustable visor; I ride at night a lot and having a visor I can adjust is helpful to move out of the way of light or for storing sunglasses or goggle directly on the helmet.
  3. Back retention system; older helmets didn’t offer rear retention. These are a must to keep the helmet in place so it can do its job of protecting your head.
  4. Compatibility, using Smith Sunglasses or goggles with a Smith Helmet help to keep them from fogging up because of the streamlined airflow and they just look better in my opinion.
  5. Washable padding; helmets get gross and being able to wash the pads is a must for me.
  6. Vents; a lot of breathable vents
  7. Light compatible; I ride a lot at night and appreciate multiple options for attaching lights to my helmet.

Smith Engage MIPS Helmet Fit and Comfort

The Smith Engage helmet fits well thanks to the three adjustment points:

  1. The chin strap
  2. The under-ear adjustment
  3. Rear retention control

Additionally, the helmet comes in multiple sizes with a deeper fit on the head providing more comfort and protection. It’s also worth pointing out that a helmet should not have a lot of movement on your head when riding. The Smith Engage fits snug, but not too tight that it’s uncomfortable making it a great option for comfort and protection.

The included MIPS rotation core is a must-have in helmets now. It’s been scientifically proven to reduce the forces in an impact and is something I always look for when buying a helmet.

Smith Engage MIPS Helmet Pros and Cons


  1. MIPS
  2. Low Cost and High Value Helmet
  3. Comfortable and Light Weight
  4. Retention System is solid
  5. Koyorda Protection


  1. Still difficult to mount light

Smith Engage Helmet – Final Thoughts

The Smith Forefront 2 has been my favorite helmet for the last couple of years. It’s hard to suggest to friends getting into the sport to spend that much on a helmet. The Engage has most of the features, looks, and comfort of the Smith ForeFront at a fraction of the cost and will be my suggestion to friends in the future looking for a great value for a Mountain bike helmet.

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