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Helmet (Standard)

Specialized 2D pushes the helmet envelope

We were at the Specialized offices recently (and before you all go off on a “jet-setting journos” rant, we’re talking about Chessington rather than Morgan Hill) and got a chance to poke around all the 2008 Specialized products. We’ll be bringing you everything we spotted over the following days, but for starters feast your eyes on the Specialized 2D.

The Specialized 2D is the company’s newest helmet, and boasts several significant developments in the pursuit of a safe, light and highly ventilated lid. The most notable feature is the very low weight. Specialized quotes a weight of 180g (6.3oz) for the small size, and all sizes are under 200g (7oz). That’s a good 50g lighter than the existing Decibel helmet (now demoted to number two in the Specialized lid lineup). 50g doesn’t sound like much, but think of it as 25% and you can see that it’s pretty significant. Hold a 2D in one hand and a Decibel in the other and the Decibel feels like a bowling ball.

This low mass is achieved in a number of ways. First is the pioneering use of dual density foam. The side sections of the helmet are fairly conventional stuff, while the centre/top bit is a lower density foam. Then there’s the simple measure of making all the holes in it considerably bigger, although that’s not as simple as it sounds. Making larger ventilation ports means coming up with something to hold the remaining material together and make sure that the helmet is strong enough to actually be of any use. The 2D’s trick is to replace the Decibel’s internal nylon “skeleton” with a hand-woven Kevlar version moulded into the foam.

Looks are clearly Decibel-esque, with the “Mega Mouthport” up front and the tall vertical exhaust ports at the rear. The shape has been tweaked and deepened a little, though, to give the helmet a slightly less “perched” appearance on the head than the Decibel. The 2D comes with a clip-on peak, although this was clearly in hiding when the photos were taken.

Another lightening addition is the DryLite webbing used in the straps. This is noticeably thinner than your regular helmet straps, but perhaps more importantly from a comfort perspective is that the material doesn’t soak up sweat. This should mean an end to variable-helmet-fit misery as straps stretch and shrink, not to mention freedom from salt encrustation and a reduction in pongs.

All promising stuff – we’ll let you know how it performs out on the trails in a while…

www.specialized.com

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