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Smith Engage Helmet Long Term Review

Smith has been making outdoor equipment and accessories since 1965 when Dr. Bob Smith hand-built his goggles. Although Smith has been making ski accessories and helmets for much longer than mountain bike helmets, their knowledge of protecting the brain translated perfectly to the mountain bike world.

Now with several different options ranging from road helmets to full-face helmets, Smith is one of the most popular choices in the cycling industry- and there’s a reason why!

The Smith Engage helmet is just another excellent product made by the company. Not only does it have MIPS (a huge plus in my book), but it is also so comfortable you don’t even know you’re wearing it. I’ve been riding with my Engage for 2 years now and this is my long-term HONEST review.

smith engage helmet in orange

Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Several different color options
  • Lightweight- don’t feel it in the neck on long rides
  • Sufficient coverage for mountain biking
  • Universal helmet- can be used for mountain biking and gravel 
  • MIPS technology 
  • 2-position adjustable visor
  • Plenty of ventilation
  • Enough air holes to mount a headlamp or GoPro
  • Has a dial in the back for the perfect fit that does not budge during your ride
  • 3-year warranty on helmets
  • 30% discount off MRSP if needing crash replacement 
  • Extremely durable 

Cons:

  • The visor does not raise high enough to store goggles even though it’s marketed to
  • No goggle clip on the back of the helmet 
  • Limited size range

Price & Where to Buy:


Long-Term Review: Would I Buy the Smith Engage Again?

Yes. I would absolutely buy another Smith Engage. I’ve been wearing it for almost every ride for the past 2 years. It is so comfortable, I don’t realize I’m wearing a helmet. 

I’ve had a few other helmets similar to the Smith Engage and I find myself choosing that one over and over again. One of my other favorite helmets is the POC Tectal. Even though it is similar to the Engage, I like the fact that the Engage has MIPS. 

Smith also uses their cutting-edge technology called Zonal KOROYD which is a “lightweight in-mold construction” that pairs perfectly with MIPS to provide the ultimate coverage and safety to your brain. 

It has enough coverage in the back that I feel safe riding techy, gnarly trails. At the same time, it’s not too much coverage that I also feel comfortable wearing it when riding my gravel bike.

malorie on her gravel bike while wearing the smith engage

Wearing The Engage With Glasses Or Goggles

You can wear either glasses or goggles with the Engage, but I did have a problem storing my goggles below the visor.

The visor only has two set positions and it’s not high enough to store my goggles. Maybe it would work with a different pair of goggles (like Smith) but it’s not enough of an issue to keep me from wearing my helmet with goggles.

Also, one thing to note about wearing goggles with the Smith Engage is the lack of a goggle clip in the back. I have not found it to be an issue because my goggles have a grippy texture on the back that sticks perfectly to the helmet. 

Smith suggests that the Engage helmet works best with Smith glasses or goggles. I’m assuming this is just a marketing ploy because I haven’t had any issues with any of my brand glasses or goggles, BUT the Smith goggles might be the perfect fit for under the visor. 

Free Shipping And 30 Day Returns

Another nice thing, if you order from the Smith website, is the free shipping and 30-day return. If wanting to shop locally, Smith is sold at most local bike shops and major outdoor retailers like REI so you should be able to find what you’re looking for. 

Lightweight and Comfortable Helmet Makes Long Days in the Saddle Tolerable 

The Smith Engage helmet is extremely lightweight. Coming in at 12 oz (350g) for the medium helmet, your neck is going to thank you after a long ride. I have yet to feel any fatigue in my neck or upper back from wearing the Engage. My longest time in the saddle with this helmet on was 7 hours. 

There are zero pressure points on this helmet and the inside padding does not dig into your forehead. 

malorie wearing the smith engage helmet

The dial on the back of the helmet tightens and loosens quickly and DOES NOT move during your ride. I very seldom ever find myself adjusting the tightness of the helmet which is crucial when riding continuously. Sometimes I don’t like to stop at all on a ride and just push through, so having my helmet fit snugly the entire ride is one less thing I have to worry about. 

This Helmet is SO Durable

After wearing this helmet for almost every ride for the past 2 years, I can say without a doubt that this is one of the MOST durable helmets I’ve put on my head. 

I have crashed several times (probably 20+ in the past 2 years) and have not had any issues with the construction of this helmet. I have a scratch or two, but that is it. 

Before buying the Engage, I wore the POC Tectal as my everyday helmet. After riding for 6 months and a few crashes, my Tectal broke. One of the inside pieces on the back side of the helmet snapped in half and I had no clue how it happened. The Engage hasn’t had any problem keeping up with me and my lack of staying upright on a bike. 

So Many Color Options

Another fun thing about Smith is they have several color options that are super cute. Most bike companies only make helmets in boring colors like black and white or their helmets that have funky color schemes (I’m looking at you Troy Lee Designs). Smith, however, does a great job of offering an array of colors to suit everyone. 

You get to choose from a helmet that is all one color or multi-colored. Finding the perfect color for you is easy to do with all the options Smith offers. 

Limited Sizes Offered…Not Optimal for Small or X-Large Heads

The size range on the Smith Engage is only small to x large. I wear a small and I have to tighten the dial almost all the way before it fits tight on my head. If my head were any smaller, I don’t think I could wear it. 

On the flip side, my husband has an enormous head and the x-large is almost too small for him. Just something to keep in mind when you’re shopping. Smith sizes do vary a little compared to POC and Fox and I’ve found that there is a greater range in sizes in POC helmets. 

Several Ventilation Holes- Breathable on Those Hot Summer Days 

The Engage has 21 ventilation holes to help keep you nice and cool during the summer. In the winter, I usually have to wear either ear warmers or a slim beanie underneath to keep my head warm. 

top down view of the smith engage showing ventilation holes

The ventilation holes are perfectly placed so you can mount a headlamp for night riding or a GoPro to capture all your gnarly descents. I ride year-round so it is ESSENTIAL that my helmet have a place to mount a headlamp. 

Comes with MIPS Technology, A Must Have Feature

MIPS was first launched in 2007 after several people researched brain injuries for over a decade. They created MIPS for all helmet-requiring sports from motocross to horseback riding with the hopes of making it safer. 

So, what is MIPS? MIPS is a system inside a helmet that helps reduce rotational injuries during crashes.

According to MIPS science, “Rotational motion is a common cause of concussions and more severe brain injury in oblique hits to the head. The MIPS system consists of a low friction layer that is mounted inside the helmet. In a crash, the low friction layer is designed to move slightly inside the helmet to help redirect forces away from the head. This is intended to help reduce the risk of brain injury.”

The science and technology behind MIPS is truly incredible, but not all helmets come with MIPS. 

Another reason I choose to own the Engage is because it comes with MIPS. I like having that additional layer of protection for my brain. My POC Tectal did not come with MIPS and that is one reason I will not purchase it again. 

I also only buy helmets for my kids that have MIPS. Protecting their brains is extremely important and after wearing it in my helmet for a few years, it is a MUST have for our family.

mips liner inside the helmet

Crash Replacement Discount

Smith offers a crash replacement discount if you have a nasty crash and need a new helmet. All you have to do is go to their warranty page on their website and follow their instructions for 30% off MSRP.

It does have to be within 2 years of the original purchase date, and you have to have proof of purchase. If you’re like me I don’t keep any receipts so something to be mindful of when buying one. 

Smith also offers a 3-year warranty from manufacturer’s defects on all their helmets. They have a warranty claim form should you need to get a replacement helmet. 

Although it is not suggested on Smith’s website, it is recommended that you get a new helmet if you have had a crash with impact to the helmet. The foam on the inside of helmets is meant to absorb impact and after a crash, the foam could be compromised. If you take care of your helmet and don’t have any serious crashes, you don’t need to replace your helmet but every 5 years or so. 

Making sure you do your research on a helmet that you’re going to love is essential. That way it will last and be something you will want to wear. 

Quick Tips for Storing and Cleaning Your Helmet 

Most of the time when I’m done with my rides, I will just throw my helmet in the backseat and forget about it until the next time I ride. This isn’t the best practice.

Leaving your helmet in the cold or heat can actually do damage to it, so make sure you bring your helmet in after each ride. Just like your bike, your helmet doesn’t want to be left outside.

It isn’t necessary to clean the outside of your helmet all the time, but if you like to keep things nice and shiny, the best way to do that is just to use mild dish soap like Dawn and water. Lightly scrub the shell of the helmet and rinse, then air dry. 

For cleaning the pads (something I never do but should), you will want to remove the pads from the inside of the helmet and again just use mild soap and water to scrub the pads and let them air dry. Do not put them in the dryer. This could cause them to separate. You can also use this same method for the straps on your helmet making sure to let everything air dry. 

Cleaning your helmet is important for making it last longer. When we sweat, we release tons of salt, and that gets embedded in the padding and straps. Slowly after time, these parts of the helmet can get stiff so giving them a quick rinse every few months will definitely help with that.  

Bottom-Line: You Can’t Go Wrong with the Smith Engage

I love this helmet and cannot recommend it enough to other riders. Because it’s so durable it will last forever, I’ve saved money by not having to buy a helmet every year.

The 30% crash replacement discount is also nice in case I do have a nasty crash that requires me to get a new helmet. With MIPS being the standard in Smith helmets, your brain with have that extra protection, but ultimately finding a helmet that is comfortable and makes you want to wear it is the most important.

Going to your local bike shop or outdoor retailer to try several different helmets on will give you the opportunity to see what’s going to be the best fit for your head. 

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About The Reviewer

colorado springs mountain biking

Malorie Gage has been mountain biking, road, gravel cycling for many years. She lives in Colorado where she’s raising two tiny humans and balancing biking and motherhood.

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