Louis Garneau has done an excellent job of late rounding out their complete product line. What was once just an apparel company has evolved into a full cycling manufacturer with apparel, accessories and complete bikes. After loving the race-friendly Garneau Course helmet last year, this year I’ve been wearing the new Héros RTR helmet — a helmet packed with all kinds of great features including brain-saving MIPS technology.
Louis Garneau Héros Helmet Features:
- In-Mold construction with 22 vents featuring inside evacuation channels
- MSB technology reinforces the perimeter for enhanced protection
- Multidirectional Impact Protection System (MIPS)
- Spiderlock® 4D fit system
- Straps feature Tri-Glide PRO adjustment
- Quick-drying X-Static® XT2TM pads
- RTR reflective color: Strategically located printed reflective ink
- Certifications: CPSC-ASTM-CEN
- Weight: 285g (Medium, actual)
- MSRP: $229.99
Safety, breathability and comfort
While helmet safety standards vary across countries and are, honestly, in sore need of improvement (Koroyd agrees) I can say first-hand that MIPS is worth the price of admission because I’ve felt the system work in a real crash and truly believe that I was spared significant injury because of it. So, I’m a MIPS fan, but what about Garneau’s take?
As MIPS came online, some helmet manufacturers simply retrofitted existing molds and designs and inserted the yellow cage liner. This reduced volume and made for odd sizing. Now that MIPS has been around, helmet molds have been engineered from the ground-up to be MIPS-compatible and thus feature normal sizing. The Garneau Héros RTR is one of the latter variety and was built with MIPS in mind. Because of that, the sizing is as expected with the size Medium offering a spot-on fit for my 57cm noggin.
Something that I immediately noticed was the extra coverage the Héros provides. It sits further down than other helmets, thus providing an immediate feeling of protection and safety. Everyone’s heads are shaped differently, but I find that Garneau’s designs tend to fit my oval head shape perfectly with no need for pad adjustment at all. Just a simple twist of the large, rubberized Spiderlock 4D dial and the head-cradling fit can be felt.
I shave my head bald, but go about a week between shaving. Around day 2, my head is at maximum prickly and had a tendency to push the padding out of place. If you’re a head shaver, like myself, just keep that in mind as you take the helmet on/off.
This helmet is solidly-built with no exposed foam anywhere that matters. All exposed edges are covered with a fused hard-shell so this helmet will remain new-looking for it’s entire usable life.
With MIPS, helmets do tend to have more outward strap mounting points, which keep the straps from interfering with the performance of the inner liner. As such, sunglasses with straight temples can be difficult to wear outward of the straps. The best-fitting sunglasses with this helmet have been the Rudy Project Tralyx because they feature an outward bend just where the forward strap passes by.
With 22 vents, the Héros provides excellent ventilation — even on hot days. And, while this helmet isn’t specifically-built with aerodynamics in mind, it has a similar shape to the Garneau Course helmet, which does have aero benefits, so I’m guessing it is still slippery. For added safety, the white color is extra-visible with large reflective elements in the rear. Considering that the RTR Collection is all about visibility, I’m a little surprised that the second color is black instead of a fluorescent color (Edit: It looks like more colors are available at CompetitiveCyclist.com than are shown on Garneau’s site, like fluorescent yellow, for example).
As far as looks go, the Héros may not be the most svelte design, but I think it looks great. And, considering the protection it provides, I’m OK with the size — because head protection should never be a race to the bottom.
- Built with MIPS from the start
- Excellent, head-cradling fit
- Breathes well
- Comfortable, thin straps
- Spider lock 4D dial is large and easily-adjusted
- Superb quality construction
- Extra, all-around coverage
- Remains relatively quiet at high speeds
- Inner pads can get pushed out of place
- Some might consider it bulky-looking
- It can be difficult to find a spot to store sunglasses
The Bottom Line: Garneau Héros RTR Helmet
The first time I put on the Héros RTR Helmet, it just felt sturdy and solid without. The extra coverage, quality construction and MIPS liner all work in concert to deliver one of the safest-feeling helmets I’ve tested. And, its reasonably-light and sensibly-priced to boot.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com
The superb protection afforded by the Louis Garneau Héros RTR helmet inspires confidence. Put this helmet on and your noggin is instantly-cradled in top-notch protection. It fits well and breathes well and MIPS offers a hefty dose of added brain protection.