SPECIALIZED TACTIC 4 MIPS HELMET REVIEW
Review by Nic Hall
Always looking to expand their line of products, the new Specialized Tactic 4 MIPS helmet is part of Specialized’s widely updated helmet range. The newly released fourth generation of their ever-popular Tactic trail and enduro half-shell helmet sees some updates and new colors but will still be a widely loved mountain bike helmet. Billed as a breathable helmet with a great fit that instill confidence for enduro mountain bikers and burly trail riders, the Tactic 4 is said to offer the highest level of protection with safety features like MIPS and CPSC and NTA 8776 certification. Let’s see if it lives up to the claims.
When it came time to update the Tactic, Specialized took a helmet that has been around for ten years and started from the ground up. Their goals were to make improvements to the airflow, fit, and safety. New internal airflow channels are formed using computational fluid dynamics and maximize the volume without compromising the safety. This led to the inclusion of large “4D” brow intake vents to allow for increased airflow at all speeds. The Integrated visor is fixed with breakaway tabs in a position, which provides increased trail vision, and specifically designed channels allow you to store your glasses easily. The integrated fit system has an occipital tension strap with several height settings to allow for the maximum range of head fit. A MIPS Evolve system is fitted to offer rotational impact protection and maximize head safety. After several iterations of in-house testing, Specialized sent the Tactic 4 to Virginia Tech for safety testing, where it earned their highest rating, 5 stars.
The Specialized Tactic 4 MIPS helmet is available in six colors to suit all palates, but of course we tested the flat black. There are three shell sizes available to cover 51-62cm heads, and the Tactic retails for $120 /£100 /€130.
After pedaling a range of acoustic and eBikes all over the desert in a mid-Winter heat wave, we have grown to love a few things about the Tactic 4 as well as finding some points we’re not so in-love with.
The first impression the Tactic 4 gives is that of a modern mountain bike helmet with clean lines and good coverage down the head. The doubly adjustable fit system allowed most of our testers to get a good fit without too much work, and the main portion of the helmet sat very comfortably once dialed in. The strap is fixed under the ear with a harness that sits fairly far down the cheek, which led us to wishing there was a way to bring it up higher to improve comfort there. It’s safe to say the new, huge ventilation ports do good things when it comes to moving air over the head, and as far as “extended coverage” lids go it ranks up there with the airiest of them.
While riding, the fixed visor was at first a major point of contention for our testers. It sits high, which allows for spacious eyewear storage in small cut-outs in the brow vents. Unfortunately, in the winter months with the low-hanging sun, it cannot be pulled down to block the glare out. This leaving us squinting down the trail on the sunny days when visibility is already a challenge.
Thankfully, no one on our testing team took a direct hit while riding with the Specialized Tactic4 MIPS, but the 5-star Virginia tech rating gives peace of mind that it’ll stand up as well as any, if not better, in a crash. A buddy of ours did have a crash in his and was thankful for the quick detach visor which popped out to reduce torque on the head and neck. At $120 USD, the Specialized Tactic 4 helmet sits right in the middle of the performance trail mountain bike helmet price range but packs the safety of a more expensive lid in many areas.
The Wolf’s Last Word
The Specialized Tactic 4 MIPS is a good helmet overall with solid airflow, safety, and good looks to boot. While the helmet fits well, we do wish the chin harness was more adjustable by the ears and we would prefer an adjustable visor for the low sun situations. If the lack of an adjustable visor isn’t a deal-breaker for you and you want a mountain bike helmet that passes safety standards with flying colors, the Specialized Tactic could be worth a test fit. It’s a lid that has top end features and fit for a reasonable price.
Price: $120 /£100 /€130
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