I’ve always had a thing for Canadian bike companies — not sure why. That affinity has been stoked recently by the performance of the Louis Garneau Diamond II Helmet and has re-affirmed my love affair with The Great White North.
Louis Garneau Diamond II Helmet Features:
- In-Mold Construction
- Super MSB Technology: Ring-shaped plastic protection at the base of the helmet reinforces the perimeter for enhanced protection
- Exo-Insert technology: Lightweight inner plastic reinforcement spreads the shock of impact and helps maintain the helmet’s structure
- Composite reinforcement: Lightweight composite skeleton provides structural support and integrity on impact
- Evacuation Channels: Moisture channels provide better airflow and moisture wicking
- Spiderlock PRO II: Helmet stabilizing system featuring a polymer neck support. It can be easily tightened on the head using only one hand, thanks to its dented anti-slip wheel. Its inclination can be adjusted to several positions
- Steplock divider: Cam locking device to quickly adjust strap position
- X-Static XT2™ padding: Quick-drying antimicrobial material that inhibits growth of odor-causing bacteria. Its ergonomic design gives you optimum comfort
- Spiderlock Vision light included: Whether you ride to work early in the morning or late at night, the back light will make sure you’ll be seen
- Weight: 290 grams (size Medium – weighed)
- MSRP: $189.99
Top-notch Fit and Finish
All things road bikes are a race to the bottom of the scale. “Lighter is better,” we all say. Well, with some things, lighter is not always better. I don’t want the lightest helmet on the market if it means less protection in a fall. With the Diamond II, you get respectable weight combined with durable In-Mold construction that results in a helmet that wears well and should have a lengthy lifespan.
Out-of-the-box, the Diamond II required a little jiggling and tweaking. One of the rear straps needed to be re-threaded through the clip in order to sit the right way. I also had to tug on the straps a little bit to get the exterior anchors situated securely. There’s a triangular anchor in the rear and two ovalized ones in the front of the helmet. A slow pull got them situated and ready.
The overall construction of the Diamond II is really impressive. I’ve got an ultralight Giro Aeon, which emphasizes weight reduction, but also sacrifices some durability due to more exposed foam. The Diamond II, on the other hand, features more wrap-around hardshell materials with Super MSB construction for enhanced protection at the base of the helmet. And, adding to that, there’s another band of hardshell material inside the helmet (Exo-Insert Technology) for additional protection. Strap this lid on and you’ll immediately feel that it is solid and substantial without feeling bulky.
Again, I’m all about noggin protection above all and I feel like Garneau and I are on the same page with this helmet.
Comfort and Breathability
As is standard with most helmets these days, the dial-a-fit system (dubbed Spiderlock PRO II) is quickly adjusted with one hand for a secure fit. I appreciated the ability to loosen and tighten the fit over the past month as I’ve switched between wearing and not wearing a skull cap due to variable weather conditions. Either way, the fit was secure and comfortable for my oval-shaped, 57cm head.
The straps used on the helmet are a little thicker than those used by Giro, but are no thicker than standard straps that everyone else uses. Once adjusted, the straps sit perfectly in front of and behind the ear and work well with both the Spy Screw and Smith PivLock V2 sunglasses, which feature straight temples. I will say that it took some finagling with the rearward strap and these sunglasses to get them to sit properly. A more traditional, curved temple design has fewer fit issues.
Garneau doesn’t hide the fact that they are very proud of the quantity of vents on the Diamond II. It has, count ’em, 40 vents. At speed, you can feel the wind flowing through each one. It helps that I have a shaved head, because I can certainly feel the ventilation — sometimes even when it’s not as desired (like chilly morning rides). But, as the temps have risen, it has been nice to have high-quality ventilation to keep things cool.
I’ll continue to test in the heat of the summer and post updates in the coming months.
Protection and Safety
As mentioned, the construction of the Diamond II is solid. It does lean towards the overbuilt side of things, but not to an extreme. AT 290 grams, it’s certainly not the lightest in its class, but the extra materials make for a much more substantial and confidence-inspiring lid. Of additional note is the carbon skeletal reinforcement bands for additional impact dispersion.
The Spiderlock Vision Light is also a nice touch for the rear of the helmet. This LED light attaches with simple Velcro for easy removal, when not needed. I found the light to be excellent for early morning rides, but once the sun comes up, it gets washed out, but that’s not the intent. If you want a super-bright rear light that’s visible night-and-day, you’ll get a dedicated tail lamp. With this, it is nice knowing I’ve got a light, just in case.
- Extra durable construction
- Feels secure and safe
- Comfortable feel that becomes invisible
- Vents galore
- Adjustable fit system works with or without a skull cap — great for cold weather
- Detachable LED light is a nice feature
- Straps are thick
- Required a little re-jiggering of straps out of the box
The Bottom Line
When selecting a helmet, fit, comfort and safety should be the first considerations. The price is very competitive and the helmet features extra durability as compared to others. I’m impressed so far and look forward to hundreds more miles in the Diamond II this season.
Buy Now: Available at CompetitiveCyclist.com