Review: Louis Garneau Course Aero Helmet
Aero is the new black, and there are a lot of interpretations lately. Giro and Specialized both have options, but the LG Course Aero appealed to me because it looks like a normal helmet (better, even, in some aspects) and the vents are massive. If it has all that going for it and better aerodynamics, then it should be a winner, right?
Louis Garneau says their aerodynamic performance is on par with the others, and has some pretty charts and graphs to illustrate. That’s all well and good,but the differences in drag shown are minimal, so real world benefits like air flow and safety become the real selling points. Actually, those should be the real selling points regardless, and the Course Aero delivers on those while offering a few extra niceties along the way…
From an aesthetic point of view, the LG has a compact form factor and eliminates the “wings” that protrude off more fashionable helmets. Yes, those look good, but a rounder, smoother helmet is generally deemed safer. The Course Aero manages to still look sleek without flaring out at the rear.
The inmolded EPS channels run front to back with only the plastic reinforcing shell connecting them side to side. That shell sits near the top of the helmet, leaving a LOT of space between them and the top of your head. I was expecting more dramatic airflow than I felt, but it never felt hot. So, not super breezy, but perfectly comfortable. FWIW, the pics above show my mid-length summer haircut. I haven’t gone to my super short summer haircut yet, so that may make the airflow more noticeable.
You’ll notice two different color patterns here, the white helmet has a black internal frame, and the black helmet gets a white frame. Both have red accents, and there’s a red helmet, too.
Pads are X-Static to reduce funk, and the straps are insanely soft. That makes them great against the skin, but they’re slick enough that they work loose every other ride. Fortunately, not so slick you can just yank the helmet loose. They’re also quite long…mine need some trimming.
The retention mechanism is height adjustable by slipping the front bit out, rotating it, then pressing it back in. Velcro assists in keeping it in place, but the entire thing tends to pop out if you cram the helmet in a pack or duffel.
LG’s Spiderlock 2 uses a large diameter retention dial that makes it easy to adjust even with full finger gloves. It comes pre-stuck with a hook-and-loop decal (and a backup decal, too) that holds a blinky light. The light is surprisingly bright, has two different blink modes and solid on. LG says it’s good for 50-80 hours and is weather and temperature proof.
Helmet weight for the size Medium CPSC model is 297g. The light adds 12g.
The Course Aero is very comfortable and reasonably lightweight. The included blinky light is a nice touch. At $239.99, it’s in line with other high end helmets, but gets the added benefit of being more aero. Which is the least tangible benefit of the review. Honestly, I didn’t feel any faster, but I did notice that it was pretty quiet. There seemed to be less wind noise, which meant I could enjoy the sounds of nature better, or just hear traffic more clearly. Both of which are worth something, for sure.
As for the aero bits, here’s what LG has to say:
In the real world, not too many of us are holding 45km/h (~28mph) long enough to notice the slightly reduced drag. As more things on and about the bike become more aero, it all starts to add up, and the LG Course Aero seems to do its part and bring the good looks and features we want when we’re not blowing our legs apart.
Check them out here.