While it’s often the products at the very top of the tree that make the biggest headlines it’s perhaps those from the mid-range that are most relevant for the vast proportion of us. We have seen Specialized recently launch new Evade and Prevail helmets, aero- and vented-forward models respectively, today it has combined the attributes of both into an updated version of its second-tier Propero helmet. Alongside this, it’s also taken the form of the S-Works Torch shoe that we reviewed back in 2022 and released a Torch 3.0 and Torch 2.0 shoe to suit those on smaller budgets.
All new Propero 4 helmet
It’s something of a rarity to find a product that’s not a brand’s top tier that outperforms its pinnacle products, but in the case of the new Propero, we have that very situation… kind of. Specialized top-tier helmets are very distinct in their use cases; the Specialized Prevail is heavily vented, and the Evade is aerodynamic. The new Propero takes a lot of its design cues from the Evade, but adds some more venting and comes out more aerodynamic than the Previal model the brand claims.
Aerodynamics seems to have been at the forefront of the design team’s minds, as the press material leans heavily on new aero claims. Versus the current Evade the new Propero 4 is four Watts faster, or 15 seconds over 40km at 45kmh. Unsurprisingly it’s not going to challenge the brand’s aero model, but the form factor is certainly similar. From the front the Propero and the Evade look remarkably similar; it’s at the sides where the two diverge.
The Propero is noticeably more vented than the Evade. Not as much as the Prevail, so as not to encroach on that USP either, but with two large side vents near the rear, and a rear section very much like the Prevail there is certainly some overlap. In much the same way as bikes are getting aero at the front and lightweight at the back, this helmet is getting aero at the front and very in the rear.
Specialized has also used what it’s calling ‘micro channelling’ to enhance cooling. It’s hard to tell from the images we have seen how it is achieved, but Specialized claims that “2mm offset micro-channels” create turbulent air inside the helmet to aid cooling, akin to the action of a tumble dryer.
For a size medium, a full 30g has been shaved off the overall weight compared to the old model, clocking in at 290g. MIPS protection and a 5-star Virginia Tech rating round out the specs, alongside a price of $200 USD / $310 AUD / £165 / EUR 190.
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Passing the Torch
The S-Works Torch shoes were certainly well received here at Cyclingnews. A 4.5-star review was only really marked down significantly for the value; at £385 / $450 / €440 they are a big investment. Since then we haven’t seen anything significant from the Torch range, besides a lace-up version in 2023.
Now Specialized has taken the same form factor of the S-Works Torch and applied it to two new models at lower price points, the Specialized Torch 3.0 and Torch 2.0.
The Torch 3.0 is pitched at enthusiasts, and visually it’s hard to tell apart from its S-Works cousin. Twin BOA Li2 dials take care of the fit, rather than the BOA S3 you get on the S-Works version, and an overall weight of 288g versus 220g (this is an EU42 vs EU43 so not absolutely a direct comparison, but it’s as close as we can find).
Further down the Torch 2.0 is pitched more as an entry-level shoe, and takes the same form, last etc, but swaps the lower BOA dial for a velcro strap. The carbon sole is woven too, rather than unidirectional, and the outer is a single-layer synthetic material rather than the TPU and mesh construction found on the 3.0 and S-Works models.
The 2.0 model will set you back $180 USD / $270 AUD / £165 / EUR 200, and the 3.0 $250 USD / $390 AUD / £210 / EUR 250.