Hands-on Gear Review

Smith Rover MIPS Review

Technology, style, and comfort - for all riding abilities.
Smith Rover MIPS
By: Dustin Schaad ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Mar 19, 2018
Price:  $150 List  |  $112.50 at Competitive Cyclist - 25% Off
Pros:  Awesome style, excellent compatibility between eyewear and helmet, great ventilation
Cons:  Minimal padding, non-adjustable visor
Manufacturer:   Smith
76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 11
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Adjustments - 20% 7
  • Features - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 7
  • Ventilation - 10% 8
  • Weight - 10% 8
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Our Verdict

The Smith Rover MIPS is a solid choice for riders who want a well-designed, highly-breathable helmet. At $150, the MIPS version we tested performed well, falling in between a couple of award winners in overall scoring. The Rover can hold its own due to the outstanding protection offered by the Koroyd material, but Smith no longer offers a MIPS version. The non-MIPS helmet retails for $120. We're proponents of the rotational impact protection that such technology provides and feel that it's well worth another $30. Oh well. Aside from that, the Rover's lack of visor adjustability might be a bummer for some riders.

NO MORE MIPS
The Rover is no longer being manufactured with the MIPS liner (though there are still some MIPS versions selling online). It also comes in a more subdued color palette these days. The Rover remains unchanged otherwise, offering less protection but still providing a great fit, comfort, ventilation, and style.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Smith Rover is somewhat of a newcomer to the world of bike helmets. Smith's history in snow sports helped them come to the mountain biking world with high standards and quality design features. Smith adds effective ventilation and fit adjustments to all of its cycling helmets. Features like the efficient VaporFit Adjustable Fit system and the AirEvac ventilation system (featuring 18 airy vents) allowed the company to transition into four seasons of gear seamlessly. The Rover comes stacked, ready to see you off for that big adventure on two wheels!

We tested the MIPS version of the Rover, which we describe below.

Performance Comparison


The Rover in action.
The Rover in action.

Comfort


In comparison to the deluxe padding inside the Leatt DBX 3.0, the Rover feels good but could use an upgrade to the padding areas. Too much plastic, not enough padding. Like we mention in other reviews, helmets are very subjective. One brand of a helmet may fit your head just fine, but another may not. It's imperative that you try on the brands and style that you like before committing to the big purchase.

The Rover is a great looking helmet.
The Rover is a great looking helmet.

Adjustments


We look for eyewear and helmet compatibility in our tests. While sunglasses fit perfectly with the Rover, the lack of visor adjustment deters us from wearing goggles. As you can see in the pictures, the goggles still sit directly on the visor, but they fall off easily. Let's hope Smith makes upgrades for 2018. Smith goggles and glasses are the most compatible with this helmet.

Not being able to adjust the visor is really annoying and goggle compatibility could use an upgrade. The goggles will rest directly on the visor  but it's not an optimal position.
Goggles work fine as long as you don't need to prop them on the helmet

Weight


Weighing in at 12.88oz, the Rover is not the lightest helmet in the test but has a light, airy feel, much like the Giro Hex. The Rover weighs just 0.01 oz more than the POC Tectal Race SPIN. Its stylish look and excellent ventilation make for a great feel while climbing during those long warm days.

Ventilation


Zonal ventilated with 18 Optimized Vents, and VaporFit adjustable fit system makes for one of the best-ventilated helmets on the market today. Even the Koroyd protection allows airflow. While ventilation in this helmet is excellent, the Smith Session and Giro Hex are better.

The rear adjustment.
The Rover's non-adjustable visor.

Protection


This helmet features patented Koroyd "crumple zones" to absorb impacts, and an adjustable fit system allows for easy on trail tweaks. A helmet that fits well offers the best protection. But the Rover no longer offers MIPS or comparable rotational force dissipating technology, which is becoming increasingly common across the industry. As a result, there are more protective helmets out there. For example, the POC Tectal Race Spin provides more coverage and rotational proection.

The Rover's previous MIPS technology.
The Rover's previous MIPS technology.

Durability


The Rover provided excellent durability throughout long testing days in the Sierra mountains. All the material held strong, including the visor. We experienced no durability issues whatsoever.

Best Applications


The Rover is a trail helmet suited for backcountry tours, all-mountain adventures, and Enduro style riding. Featuring Smith's cutting-edge Koroyd technology, the Rover is ready for dirt with extra protection at key impact areas. The lack of visor adjustability may be a deterrent for riders who like to use goggles.

Value


The 2018 Rover sells for $120 without the MIPS liner. This is a great value for a comfortable and well-ventilated helmet. While we feel this is a good value, we would probably steer people towards the new Smith Session helmet which has better coverage, MIPS, and an adjustable visor for just $40 more.

Conclusion


The Rover is among the most stylish helmets we tested. It's a well-designed helmet, but it could use a few tweaks. One being the padding and plastic inside the helmet, which are not placed in the best locations.

Dustin Schaad

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Most recent review: March 19, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 4
  • 5
 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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