louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

Among the lightweight helmets introduced lately, Louis Garneau’s X-Lite is the sleeper. Introduced around Interbike last year, it has a claimed weight of just 188g for the EU model, and our CPSC-approved version came in at 211g (Med.). This puts it in the league of the Specialized Prevail (228g), Giro Prolight (195g)  and Aeon (220g), though Limar’s Superlight may still be the lightest at 159g actual (EU).

Of the models listed above, I’ve used the Prevail and Prolight and can honestly say that the Garneau X-Lite is as comfortable as either, works well for both road and mountain biking and the adjustments work pretty well. If you’re looking for a new (or lighter) lid, click ‘more’ for the full review…

louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

For a lightweight helmet, it’s fully featured. It uses their SpiderLock SL mechanical retention system, has “U-Bar” reinforcements throughout the entire upper EPS structure and a fully enclosed co-molded upper and lower section to keep the helmet intact during impact. The straps are fully adjustable, too.


louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

The X-Lite, like most feather weight bicycle helmets, has limited coverage for the lower half of the skull in the back, but for me, it’s plenty for XC style riding. I wear a bigger helmet on bigger rides. The SpiderLock retention mech rotates up or down to easily get under the base of the skull, then simply twist the dial to cinch it down. Even when snug, it’s very comfortable. Coverage on the front is good, sitting low enough on my forehead to protect it if I were to faceplant.

louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

What it lacks in sex appeal, it makes up for in performance. I rode this in humid 87º Florida weather both road and mountain biking and it vented just fine.

louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

Minimal padding no doubt helps keep the weight down, but it never put pressure on my noggin. They hold a good bit of sweat, too, as proven by pushing the helmet against my forehead during a break and watching it pour out. Another bonus: it comes with a second set of custom shaped pads, not the generic oval ones that often come as backups with more expensive helmets.

louis garneau x-lite lightweight road bike helmet review

The thin plastic straps are the only area for complaint. The same plug attachment you see here that connects the Spider Lock to the webbing and front retention band is about the same size plug that snaps the front of the retention band into the helmet. Grabbing the straps a little too vigorously to pick up the helmet or adjust them can easily pop the band out of the helmet. It snaps back in easily enough, but during a hard wreck I wonder if they’d hold in place. Fortunately, the webbing straps are solid, so the helmet itself should stay on during a wreck…something I’m not willing to test personally. The webbing straps are thin, soft and comfortable.

Overall, it’s a great helmet and I wear it frequently. I’d recommend it to anyone. At $169.99 MSRP, it’s a bargain compared to other lightweight helmets.


  1. I tried on every high-end helmet I could find in Tucson and they all felt like shit and looked like shit on top of my head. This one fit the best, by far, out of all the high end lids I tried on and it also looked better. I’ve had it for 2 or 3 weeks now and I love it, though I think my Specialized Propero may vent a little better.

    Prolight? That helmet is a joke. Not only is it hideous, it shouldn’t even be legal in the states with no mechanical retention adjustment.

  2. I happen to like the look of this helmet. But my taste errs to the side of Rudy and Uvex stylings and this fits nicely.

  3. Fred, your comment mentioning Rudy Project reminded me, one small issue with this helmet is that sunglass arms tend to bump the sides if the helmet where it ducks down behind the ears. I wear Rudy’s often, but happens with any of the shades I’ve worn with it (LG, Oakley, etc).

  4. I bought this helmet in February 2012. Put over 2000 miles on it, many of them on serious ascents and descents, and loved the fit. Then I crashed on my local pedestrian bike path (the most dangerous bike route in my Seattle neighborhood!), messing up the left side of my body, and some brand new bike clothes. It wasn’t till a week or so later that I even noticed the scratches and dent on my helmet….I never even knew how hard my helmeted head hit the pavement. So I contacted Garneau, and they replaced the helmet for free under their one year crash guarantee….THAT can’t be beat.
    …oh yeah, and I prefer the unsexy look of the x-lite too…in fact, that’s the primary reason I bought it in the first place.

What do you think?