- Light weight for a TT helmet (Size M, MIPS) 12.69 oz/360 grams
- VaporFit™ provides secure comfortable fit
- Magnetic visor for easy on/off of shield
- Large lens provides unobstructed vision even in aero bars
- Includes two lenses – ChromaPop™ and clear
- Nice hard shell carrying case with mesh insert bottom
- Can get warm
- Only 3 colors available
Price: $350 MSRP
Colors: Rise (Red), Black and White
Sizes: Medium (55-59 cm) and Large (59-62 cm)
Source: Company website, online, retail
How obtained: Sample from company
RBR Sponsor: No
Tested: 10 hours
Get an Advantage on Your Competition
Smith’s Podium TT helmet is not necessarily for your typical club rides unless you are looking for every little aerodynamic advantage. It’s specifically designed for time trialing or even triathlon racing. It’s aero styling can help to save you watts and increase your speed.
A standard road helmet has lots of air vents and is designed more for comfort and protection, but has more drag than a TT helmet. Fast Fitness Tips has a detailed video covering a TT vs Aero Road vs Road helmets. If you are into numbers check out this video:
Testing the Podium TT was my first experience riding with a TT style helmet with a full shield. In the past, when racing, I’ve used my standard road helmet for time trials and triathlons. Due to a surgery earlier this year, I’ve taken 2018 off from racing and plan to be back next year. In the meantime, I tested this helmet on both solo and club road rides. To my shock and delight, I didn’t just look fast, I had some of my fastest times on a handful of Strava segments.
Fit and Function
The Podium TT is only available in medium and large sizes. I wear a size small in Smith helmets (actually most brands) and was concerned about the medium being too big. But the VaporFit™ adjustable fit system let me dial in a secure comfortable fit. The side straps are static and have no adjustments, but they hit me under the ear exactly where they should and was very comfortable.
I had some apprehension at first about being claustrophobic and disconnected from my surroundings in a helmet that covered my ears and a full optical shield. But from the first pedal stroke I was amazed by the wide field of vision and I still could hear both cars and riders around me. When not racing I wear a mirror on my sunglasses, so it took some getting used to not having that available.
Staying cool in a TT helmet can be an issue. I tested the helmet up to mid-80s F. I was comfortable but wouldn’t want to go too much warmer. There are three vents on the optical shield and two on the front of the helmet. The rear helmet has two exhaust vents to help with the air flow. Those rear vents use patented Koroyd technology (honeycomb looking material) which is covered later in this review.
The Podium TT weighs in at 360 grams for a size medium which is a little heavier than most standard road helmets. But it didn’t feel heavy and for the added aerodynamics and full optical shield it’s worth a few extra grams.
I wear contacts, but for those who wear glasses, I tried the helmet with my eyeglasses on and there were no issues. The helmet was roomy enough to fit around the glasses, I just had to be careful pulling it on and off my head.
Exceeding Helmet Protections Standards
As I covered in my Smith Network review a while back, the company continues to exceed protection standards on their cycling helmets. The Podium TT is no different. It combines MIPS, in-mold Aerocore™ construction, patented Koroyd ventilated technology, and a VaporFit adjustment system to provide safety and incredible fit.
For more information about What is MIPS? Follow this link: What’s MIPS? Section of the Network helmet review here.
Smith’s objective and design philosophy behind the company’s Aerocore™ construction is to increase airflow and improve temperature regulation, resulting in fog-free vision, and improved impact resistance. The Podium TT helmet utilizes two Koroyd rear inserts (I describe it as “honeycomb”-looking material) to provide ventilated protection. Koroyd is a unique structure designed to reduce trauma levels by managing the energy transfer in an impact.
In a crash, the Koroyd cores crush, dissipating the energy from the impact and reducing trauma. This is most helpful in low-speed crashes where the impact often is not enough to compress the Styrofoam inside the helmet, but great enough to cause head trauma.
ChromaPop™ Shield Enhances Clarity and Natural Color
Smith’s proprietary ChromaPop lens technology is designed to provide enhanced clarity and natural color, revealing more detail. It filters two specific wavelengths of light that cause color confusion. Thus, the lens delivers greater definition, more natural color and clarity, which translates to more detail. (See review of Smith Attack sunglasses which uses the same lens technology.)
The optics for both the ChromaPop and clear lens were very good. There’s no distortion as you might have with a cheaper lens. The shield is large enough not to obstruct your peripheral view or impede visibility in the aeros. It is also magnetic, so taking it off/on or changing out the lenses is quick and easy.
The only caution I have is when cleaning the shield, be careful of the rubber strip at the nose cutout. I didn’t realize it slides off and on so easily and almost lost it in the grass at a rest stop when I was wiping the sweat off the lens.
The Podium TT comes with an impressive hard-shelled zip case that fits one extra lens. The case has a mesh insert on the bottom allowing your helmet to dry out when stored. To keep your helmet smelling fresh the lining is made from XT2® anti-bacterial material.
If you are looking for a quality performing, safe and comfortable TT helmet, the Smith Podium TT with MIPS is a great choice. At $350 MSRP it is right in line with other TT helmets. The large ChromaPop lens delivers greater definition, more natural color and clarity, which translates to more detail and greater peripheral vision. I can’t wait to get back to racing next year and really put this helmet to work.
Sheri Rosenbaum regularly contributes articles and reviews products for RBR. She’s an avid recreational roadie who lives in the Chicago area and a major advocate for women's cycling, serving on the board of directors and volunteering with the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club. Click to read Sheri's full bio or visit her web site sunflowersandpedals.com.