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We admit it: What drew us initially to the Smith Variant helmet was its cool look. If we have to wear a helmet, at least it doesn’t have to be one of those huge globes that make you look like Kazoo on the Flintstones. A new hybrid construction process allows Smith to achieve the sleeker, slimmed down lines of the Variant while also incorporating better ventilation and adequate protection. Sturdy, almost unbreakable ABS plastic is used on top. The bottom half is a thin, lightweight polycarbonate shell bonded to the foam liner. Fused together, the two shells form a slimmed down helmet that’s warm but well-vented and still gets the job done from a protection standpoint. We like the look of the Variant Brim ($160, pictured), but it’s available brimless as well for the same price. Smithoptics.com