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by Anne-Marije Rook
October 5, 2016
In this edition of Women’s Product Picks, we take a look at Specialized’s women’s helmets and top-end shoes, Bontrager’s Meraj shoes and race-specific saddle, as well as Prologo’s women’s endurance saddle.
Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:
The new and improved S-Works Women’s Prevail II helmet is Specialized’s most “complete” lightweight race helmet they’ve produced yet. And by “complete” they mean that the helmet combines ventilation, aerodymanics, lightweight construction and comfort for overall performance.
If you were looking closely, this is the helmet that was on the heads of all Specialized-sponsored athletes in Rio with the neat orange-yellow paint job.
To create the updated Prevail, Specialized took an already successful product and went back into the windtunnel, tweaking the design for countless hours. The result: a sleeker, lighter and airier helmet, fit for the world’s biggest stage.
To truly notice the difference, you’ll have to wear the helmet. And one glance in the mirror showed a lower profile than the previous edition, which sat rather high on the head – especially for those who, like me, have a tall forehead.
The overall smaller profile not only makes for a better look, it also adds to the improved aerodymanics, which according to Specialized cut 6 seconds per 40km over the previous S-Works Prevail edition.
This is still not an aero helmet, however, and is ideally used for long days in warm weather when weight and cooling are your primary concerns.
With over 30 vents, the helmet is exceptionally airy and cool, and at just 203 grams, it’s also likely the lightest helmet I have ever worn.
Why we like it:
The women’s helmet comes with the popular micro-dial HairPort system which enables easy fit adjustments, while leaving enough room to pull a ponytail through the system –a key feature for all those with long hair.
The Prevail II also sports a redesigned forehead vent –the Gutter Action System—and pad to manage sweat, channeling the sweat to the side of your face to keep the salty sweat from dripping into your eyes or streaking your sunglasses.
I wasn’t a fan of the look of the previous Prevails, but the lower profile of this Prevail II version has changed that.
I have issues with my sunglasses slip out of the ports when I’m trying to store them.
Like its previous editions, the straps meet below the ear at a plastic piece, which is non-adjustable and a little too roomy for my liking and therefore slightly annoying, especially when riding at speed or in the wind.
Price: $150 USD, £100, $199.95 AUD $249