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Pret Cynic Helmet

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Pret Cynic helmet for Blister Gear Review.

Pret Cynic Helmet

Pret Cynic Helmet

Size Tested: Medium (55-59cm)

Pret’s Stated Weight: 414 grams

Blister’s Measured Weight: 425 grams

Stated Features:

  • In-mold polycarbonate shell
  • Wool blend lining
  • VTT1 ventilation system
  • RCS fit system
  • Detachable Covert ear pads
  • Audio compatible

Certification: ATSM F2040, CE EN1077

MSRP: $99 USD

Days Tested: ~50

Locations Tested: Porters Ski Area & backcountry, Craigieburn Valley Ski Area & backcountry, Mount Cheeseman Ski Area & backcountry, northern New Mexico backcountry, Arapahoe Basin, Taos Ski Valley.

Intro

The Pret Cynic is a very straightforward helmet, but one that I’ve enjoyed wearing, for one pretty simple reason: it is the lowest-profile helmet I have ever used. So for any of you out there who dislike wearing a helmet — or who simply don’t wear a helmet — because you think they make you look like you’ve got an exercise ball stuck on your head, consider the Cynic.

Fit / Comfort

I wear a size Medium helmet across the board, and I’d say the Cynic runs true to size, or if anything, it runs slightly small as opposed to slightly large. So if you’re generally between sizes, my suspicion is that you would be wise to size up rather than size down.

Jonathan Ellsworth reviews the Pret Cynic helmet for Blister Gear Review.

Jonathan Ellsworth in the Pret Cynic Helmet, Craigieburn Valley Ski Area, NZ.

Ventilation

I am a big fan of closable vents, and the Smith Vantage is still the best adjustable-venting helmet I’ve ever used. The Cynic’s vents are fixed, but this concerned me far more in theory than in actual practice. No, it doesn’t vent as well as the much more expensive Vantage, but I’ve always found the Cynic’s venting and airflow to be adequate. Your experience may vary, and if this is really important to you, get the Vantage. But if you’re looking to spend less than half as much on a low-profile lid, then I can vouch for the Cynic. I didn’t have to go put 50 days in this thing. (The last time, by the way, was last night—some perfect ski touring under a bright enough moon that head lamps were optional rather than mandatory.)

Goggle Fit / Fogging

I’ve worn Anon M2 goggles for most of my days in the Cynic. Unsurprisingly, they don’t pair quite as well as some goggle / helmet combos that are both made by the same company, but the integration has been fine, no big gaps and no goggle fogging. If you can speak to how successfully other goggles sync with the Cynic, please leave a comment below.

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Jonathan Ellsworth in the Pret Cynic, Taos.

Comparisons

The Pret Cynic weighs 425 grams, costs $99, and it vents better than the Smith Maze.

The Smith Maze is the same price ($99), but it is 350 grams in a size Medium (i.e., 75 g lighter). Lots of people love the Maze (including a few Blister reviewers), but I didn’t. I prefer both the fit and the ventilation of the Cynic.

The new Smith Pivot ($120) has better venting, weighs 579 grams (size Medium), and has an adjust feature that hasn’t worked so well for one of our reviewers, and another reviewer is now also using the helmet to see if he has the same issues (Pivot review coming soon). It might be the case that the Pivot’s adjust system evokes a Love or Hate reaction. But the Cynic has a very straightforward adjustment system (it’s a pretty standard dial on the back of the helmet that allows you to loosen or tighten up the fit) that just works.

Safety Features

You can see the Cynic’s certifications at the top, but let’s be clear: this is more of a price-point helmet that isn’t trying to stuff the latest tech into it. Having said that…

For $40 more, you can get the Cynic X which incorporates the MIPS (check out Noah Bodman’s review of the Giro Feature MIPS for a more in depth explanation of MIPS) and RECCO systems. We haven’t reviewed the Cynic X yet (we should be doing so soon), but that extra $40 strikes us as a sensible upgrade.

Bottom Line

I love the low-profile look and feel of this helmet, and I think that is the primary story of the Cynic. Beyond that, this helmet has held up well for 50 days, it’s reasonably priced, it vents pretty well, and it’s light weight. It’s all pretty straightforward, and if you’re willing to forgo the MIPS system, I can say that I’d recommend it to friends looking for a helmet at the $100 price point.

3 Comments

  1. Shawn November 27, 2015 Reply

    …so how does it do protecting your head in an impact?

    (If it’s low profile, is it just less protection, or have they done something special?)

  2. Christopher March 24, 2016 Reply

    I’m using the Cynic with Anon M1 goggles, and the fit is very good. Zero issues with fogging in any type of weather. There is a small gap between goggles and helmet, but I never notice it unless it’s very cold and I need a beanie against the open front vents anyway.

    You’re absolutely right about the sizing: I’m right at the top of M (59cm), and L is a better fit than M. Adjusting the L down to my head size is no problem at all.

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