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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.