I am going to begin this Smith Code helmet review with a huge slice of honesty. I have only snowboarded in this lid for about an hour. This is because it is slightly too small for me, however an hour was long enough to tell this lightweight helmet with MIPS is very good and has a serious amount of useful tech included.
With the new Code helmet, Smith have combined a minimalistic look, with lightweight construction that offers superior protection. In fact, Smith describe the helmet very well so I have copied their write up below:
The new Code combines a minimalistic aesthetic with Aerocore™ construction featuring Koroyd® for the new front edge of skate-style protection. The low profile shell design is better protection combined with Smith-pioneered AirEvac technology for superior goggle integration.
The new Wayfinder strap system featuring Fidlock® is functional simplicity, making it easy to use one hand for on and off use. The technical-knit liner provides beanie-like comfort while a Boa® FS360 fit system lets you customize your fit.
MIPS is used to reduce the rotational forces to the brain in the case of an oblique impact. Smith helmets are created to absorb direct impacts very efficiently and when combined with MIPS, Smith helmets absorb oblique forces better by allowing a small rotation of the outer shell relative to the liner.
The Code is the first true solution for advanced riders that want superior protection and functionality with a minimal look.
The first impression when taking the Code out of the box was ‘man that is light’. It knocks significant weight of my current Alpine helmet which makes it lovely to wear.
Unfortunately, my joy at the Code being super light was short lived as it is slightly too small for my head. It is not by much and I can wear it. But it pinches around the side of my forehead just above the temples, hence why I only wore it for an hour before going back to my old lid.
When ordering I measured my head and it came to 58.5cm, which falls within medium range 55-59 cm. I have done a little research on this and have found that despite mainly positive reviews on the Smith website, a few people have said the Code comes up smaller than its size – so I recommend you try it on before buying.
Of course fit is not just about head circumference, it is also about the shape or your noggin. My forehead is quite wide so perhaps that is part of the fit issue for me. But for me it also feels a little too small and tight all over.
But now looking beyond the fit for this Smith Code helmet review to assess its comfort. The technical-knit liner is soft and feels comfortable against the head. It offers support in the right places and being removable and washable is a huge bonus.
On the down side, there is minimal padding between the liner and the main helmet which makes it less comfortable than my existing lid. But this would not be a problem if my head was not to big for the helmet, as then inner would be supported by the excellent Boa® FS360 Fit System which conforms to the shape of your head for the perfect fit.
A huge advantage for comfort is that this is a lightweight helmet with MIPS. My existing helmet is not that heavy but the Code feels around half the weight. This makes a huge difference when skiing or snowboarding as it is much less noticeable you are wearing it and far more comfortable.
One of the things I always look for in a helmet is adjustable vents so you can choose how warm or cold you want to be. The Smith Code uses the AirEvac 2 system combined with airflow climate control. This ensures hot moist air is taken away from the goggles to avoid fogging, overheating and a sweaty head.
According to the Smith website, with AirEvac 2 ‘Internal airflow can be adjusted through the helmet’s Regulator climate control system’. But for the life of me I cannot figure out how. The day I conducted this Smith Code helmet review it was minus 20 and I would have liked to close the vents.
Don’t get me wrong my head was not freezing cold. However, it was chillier than I would have liked it. I am sure in warmer temperatures this would not be as much of a problem. The Code is beanie compatible, so I would recommend you buy a large enough size to fit a balaclava or beanie under the helmet during cold weather.
The ventilation system also helps to stop your goggles from misting up. I had no issue with fogging while wearing the Code helmet, but then it is normally only after I have face planted in powder, or in very warm and damp conditions that I have a problem with fogging.
No Smith Code Helmet review would be complete without talking about protection. I did not hit my head on anything during the testing. However, this lightweight helmet with MIPS offers greater protection that most other lids in the same category.
The use of EPS and Koroyd® in combination is a revolutionary new material. Not only does it increase energy absorption during impacts to above international standards, but it is lighter and improves airflow.
Another huge improvement on most helmets is the addition of MIPS (Multi-directional impact protection system). This is a thin layer between the technical-knit liner and the helmet that reduces rotational forces to the brain in the case of an oblique impact.
As we all know most of the time you hit your head it is not a straight on blow but as an angle. Essentially the MIPS sticks to your liner and allows a little rotation within the helmet. This helps to dissipate forces during an impact which is better for your brain.
This lightweight helmet with MIPS offers great protection and comfort. But that is irrelevant if you can’t put it on. For example, I had a rental helmet once that was almost impossible to do up the chin strap.
Fortunately the Code uses a Fidlock buckle, which the easiest chin strap that I have ever used. Combining a magnet with a sliding click mechanism you just need to get it in the right area and it buckles itself!
During this Smith Code helmet review undoing is just as easy. Just hold it between thumb and finger and slide them apart. But despite being easy to do up and undo, the clip won’t become undone on its own. Its absolute genius and I hope all helmets start using similar.
To adjust the fit to your head the Code uses the adjustable Boa® FS360 Fit System. This is a dial on the back of the head that you turn to tighten or loosen the fit. It works well and is easy to use.
The code also has a removable goggle lock. Although it feels a little flimsy it did a good job of keeping my goggles in place. And if you don’t want to use it, just remove it from this lightweight helmet with MIPS.
Finally the Code can easily be integrated with Outdoor Tech™ audio systems. These are bluetooth speakers that fit within the earflaps of the goggles – you just remove a bit of foam first. Personally I don’t like listening to music while I snowboard but for those that do this would be a great selling point.
The Smith Code is clearly a high quality helmet. There is a huge amount of technology included, but with a £153 price tag that is what you would expect. For me the lightweight design and inclusion of MIPS and other factors that could reduce head injuries make it a no-brainer – it is well worth the outlay.
To conclude the Smith Code helmet review, I’d say try it on. As if it fits you this lightweight helmet with MIPS would be an excellent purchase.
The Smith Code comes in six colours all with a good-looking matt finish. Find out more at: www.smithoptics.com