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Smith Convoy Review

A good option to save some cash and stay protected on the trail
Smith Convoy
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Price:  $75 List | $75.00 at REI
Compare prices at 3 resellers
Pros:  Lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable, MIPS included
Cons:  Fixed visor, finicky straps, below average ventilation
Manufacturer:   Smith Optics
By Zach Wick ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jan 18, 2021
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74
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#22 of 23
  • Protection - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 9
  • Ventilation - 20% 6
  • Features - 15% 6
  • Weight - 10% 9
  • Durability - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The budget-friendly Smith Convoy is a comfortable, lightweight helmet, but it doesn't offer the refined features or performance that we found in the higher-end models we tested. With a fixed visor position and a basic internal strap mount, the Convoy keeps it fairly simple. It includes MIPS rotational impact protection, a highly-adjustable harness system, and the EPS shell has a versatile, comfortable shape. However, we found that the ventilation leaves something to be desired when things heat up. As one of the least expensive mountain bike helmets available with rotational impact protection, this is a good introductory model for riders just getting into the sport, but veteran riders will likely be looking to get a little bit more out of their lid.

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Smith Convoy
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Smith Convoy
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Price $75.00 at REI
Compare at 3 sellers
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Pros Lightweight, inexpensive, comfortable, MIPS includedAmazing ventilation, comfortable, dual-shell protection, good head coverage, feature-packedCrash detection system, lightweight, good ventilation, comfortable, adjustable visor, MIPS, good coverageLots of safety certifications, enhanced protective features, well ventilated, deep fit with lots of coverageComfortable, secure, airy, feature-rich
Cons Fixed visor, finicky straps, below average ventilationAverage weight, expensiveExpensiveExpensive, moderate weight, visor design doesn't block low sun angles that well, helmet shell may conflict with some sunglass armsOn the heavier side, non-adjustable strap splitters
Bottom Line Riders on a budget will find comfort and protection with this helmetIf you don't mind the price tag you'll be rewarded with top-of-the-line comfort, protection, and versatilityThe Specialized Ambush is one of the best helmets in this test, and it comes with a unique crash detection systemFully-featured and high coverage, this is a protective new helmet from POCThis new model took us by surprise and was one of our top rated favorites
Rating Categories Smith Convoy Giro Manifest Spherical Specialized Ambush with ANGi POC Kortal Race MIPS Fox Racing Speedframe Pro
Protection (25%)
7
9
9
10
9
Comfort (20%)
9
9
9
8
9
Ventilation (20%)
6
10
9
9
9
Features (15%)
6
9
9
9
8
Weight (10%)
9
7
9
7
7
Durability (10%)
8
9
8
9
9
Specs Smith Convoy Giro Manifest... Specialized Ambush... POC Kortal Race MIPS Fox Racing...
Rotational Impact Protection System? MIPS Spherical MIPS SL MIPS Integra MIPS
Adjustable Visor? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Number of vents 21 19 20 17 19
Goggle or Sunglasses Integration? eyewear integration Integrated eyewear grippers Yes, sunglass & goggle integration Yes Yes
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 12.5 oz, 355g size L 14.1 oz, 401g size L 12.35 oz, 350g, size Large 14.14 oz, 401g size M/L 14.4 oz, 407g size L
Sizes S-XL S-L S - L XS/SM, M/L L/XL S - L
Certifications CPSC, CE EN1078, AS/NZS2063 CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, CE EN1078 CPSC, CE EN1078, AS/NZS2063 CPSC Bicycle for ages 5+, EN1078, Dutch NTA 8776 e-bike, AS/NZS 2063 CPSC, CE EN1078, AS/NZS2063

Our Analysis and Test Results

Smith is well known for their unique, high-end helmets with Koroyd protective shells, but the Convoy features a more traditional EPS helmet construction. This model is aimed at riders who aren't looking to break the bank, but still value good head protection. It maintains the sleek styling of the higher-end models but forgoes many of the nifty features found in most modern mountain bike helmets.

Performance Comparison


The Convoy is one of the least expensive helmets available with...
The Convoy is one of the least expensive helmets available with rotational impact protection.
Photo: Zach Wick

Protection


Despite the low price, the Smith Convoy offers very similar protection to the most expensive models we tested. It is CPSC and CE EN 1078 certified, meeting the standards for sale in the US and Europe, and the interior of the EPS shell includes a plastic MIPS liner designed to rotate slightly on impact. In the event of a crash, the MIPS system should reduce the rotational forces applied to your head and mitigate the chance of an injury. If you hold the EPS shell firmly in one hand you can use the other hand to feel the rotation and range of movement of the plastic MIPS shell.

For the Convoy's low price, however, you do miss out on a few of the safety features included with many more expensive helmets. Many of the helmets we tested include multiple EPS foam densities designed to help mitigate both low and high-speed impacts, but the Convoy's shell is constructed of a uniform, single-density foam. Additionally, the EPS doesn't have a co-molded skeletal system to improve structural integrity like many of its high-end competitors. The EPS shell itself provides good head coverage, but it doesn't drop quite as low on the back or sides of the head like some other models we tested.

The single-mount strap position at the helmet's rear makes twisted...
The single-mount strap position at the helmet's rear makes twisted straps an issue.
Photo: Zach Wick

Comfort


We were pleasantly surprised with the Convoy's comfort and versatility. Through long days of testing, we never felt any nagging discomfort. The EPS shell is well shaped to fit a variety of head shapes and sizes. We had a number of different testers try it on and provide feedback on the fit, and we didn't get any negative comments about pressure points or pinching at the back of the head. The fit feels natural when you slide the Convoy onto your head, and we didn't have any discomfort develop over the course of longer rides. The shell is available in four sizes, from small through extra-large, all but the furthest head size outliers should be able to find a comfortable fit.

Inside of the shell is a highly-adjustable harness system and minimalist padding. The Vaporfit harness features an adjustable dial with small, indexed clicks that allow both a wide range of adjustment and micro-adjustments to get the perfect fit. As you tighten the dial, it pulls tension around most of the head rather than just pinching at the back, meaning you can wear the helmet snug and secure without pressure points. The padding is relatively thin, but it's well-placed and feels plenty soft when donning this model.

We weren't huge fans of the simple, single-point strap mount at the helmet's rear or the simple strap splitters at the ears. The combination of the two makes it so that every time you put on the helmet you have to fuss with the straps to ensure that they're not twisted at the back of the head. Our favorite helmets in the test were quick to throw on and buckle, but to don the Convoy without twisting straps required some extra attention.

21 vents didn't ventilate as well as we hoped they would.
21 vents didn't ventilate as well as we hoped they would.
Photo: Zach Wick

Ventilation


It didn't take long for us to realize that the Convoy compromises a bit on airflow. Despite having 21 vents and small internal airflow channels, we found that this helmet can quickly get a little bit balmy on long climbs and hot days. Unlike the most well-ventilated models in the test that allow you to feel air flowing across the top of your head, even at low speeds, the Convoy feels a little bit stagnant. It isn't as stifling as some of the full-coverage models we tested, but we certainly wouldn't call it cool and breezy.

In addition to the airflow issue, we noticed that the padding can quickly get overwhelmed by sweat when things get hot. Our favorite helmets feature highly-absorptive padding that handles sweat and keeps it off of your face, but after just ten minutes of climbing on an average day in the Convoy, we often found sweat dripping down our foreheads and into our eyes or onto the lenses of our eyewear. Having to stop and clean the sweat off of lenses before every descent is not an ideal way to spend your time on a bike ride.

An adjustable visor is on our wish list if Smith decide to update...
An adjustable visor is on our wish list if Smith decide to update this model.
Photo: Zach Wick

Features


As an entry-level model, it's no surprise that the Convoy skimps a little bit on the features. It does, however, offer a few basics. Beyond the already-mentioned MIPS liner, it has a three-position vertically adjustable harness, adjustable ear splitters, and vents that allow you to store sunglasses when the light gets low. The ear splitters are easy to adjust but they don't do a great job of holding the straps flat against the side of your head or preventing twisting. Ideally, we would have liked to see an adjustable visor to allow for goggle storage to make this a more competitive model, but it's hard to complain when the Convoy comes at such an affordable price.

This simple helmet is one of the lightest we tested.
This simple helmet is one of the lightest we tested.
Photo: Zach Wick

Weight


What the Convoy lacks in features, it makes up in weight. At just 355 grams according to our trusty kitchen scale, this helmet scoffs at the idea that in order to save weight you need to spend more money. As one of the least-expensive helmets in our test, the Convoy is also one of the lightest. The racers among us that value cutting grams above all else may want to consider this helmet as their next weight-saving purchase.

The vertical harness adjustment is our only long term durability...
The vertical harness adjustment is our only long term durability concern.
Photo: Zach Wick

Durability


For the most part, the Convoy strikes us as a product that will stand up to extended use and abuse. We had no durability issues in testing despite countless hours of riding and less-than-friendly treatment. The plastic exterior shell is co-molded with the EPS foam, meaning that you don't have to worry about them separating over time. The exterior finish doesn't scuff easily, so it should stay looking like-new for some time.

Our only real durability concerns surround the exposed lower edge of the EPS foam and the vertical adjustment point on the harness. The plastic exterior shell doesn't extend around the bottom edges of the EPS, leaving the foam exposed to damage from daily wear and tear. The vertical harness adjustment has three mounting points that attach the harness to the MIPS shell rather than the EPS foam. We worry that with extended adjustment this plastic-to-plastic snap could wear out, but we also understand that the vertical adjustment is usually a set-it-and-forget-it feature.

Value


As one of the least-expensive helmets currently available with rotational impact protection, we certainly think the Smith Convoy holds some value. Riders just getting into the sport or looking for a kid-friendly helmet that will stand up to some abuse will like this simple, functional, protective model, but we think there are a few other options at just a slightly higher price like the Giro Chronicle MIPS or Bell 4Forty MIPS that will give you more bang for your buck.

It cuts a nice silhouette for such an inexpensive helmet.
It cuts a nice silhouette for such an inexpensive helmet.
Photo: Zach Wick

Conclusion


After weeks of pedaling, jumping, skidding, and messing around out on the trails we found some definite bright spots from this wallet-friendly model. It doesn't quite stack up with some of the other inexpensive options we tested, but we think it has some merit as an entry-level option. It's stylish, lightweight, comfortable, and protective, and for such an affordable price we don't think we could ask for much more.

Zach Wick