Canada’s Louis Garneau are the latest company to enter the lightweight helmet arena. The X-Lite has a claimed weight of 195g, but we can only assume that’s for the small size as our large test lid tipped the scales at 234g. That’s still hugely impressive for a helmet that meets the tough US CSPC standard.
The X-Lite’s design offers 37 vents yet still maintains a fair amount of mass for its relative lack of weight. The EPS (styrene) core is dense and extremely rigid, so it’s resisted accidental dings and dents remarkably well. The shell is inmoulded, as you’d expect on a premium priced helmet, but the way the inmoulding is implemented makes the X-Lite stand out.
Rather than a simple skin over a flat core, the skin integrates closely with the core, contouring around raised profiles and wrapping around the edges. As a result the helmet feels solid, with the bonus of little or no exposed styrene around the base and no vulnerable edges.
The helmet’s compact rounded shape sets it apart from the latest generation of spiky, pointed designs. It’s also quite rounded internally, with a diameter of 180x224mm. Padding at the front is very minimal, and is both removable and sealed for easy cleaning. We expected a little more padding inside but the shape and lack of weight meant this really wasn’t an issue when wearing it.
The rear cradle is very, very minimal, with a spider-lock ratchet that’s very easy to adjust on the fly and simple to cinch up tight. The soft-touch straps have quick release adjusters with a standard buckle. It’s a simple and lightweight arrangement that, once correctly set, felt just as comfortable and secure as more complex systems. Airflow through the X-Lite is good, despite its relatively small vents.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.