To Be Determined Journal

To Be Determined is a journal of cycling, adventure and photography, curated by a NYC-based cycling team known as TBD Racing or Team TBD. From criteriums to cyclocross to product reviews and travel diaries, it is all part of the TBD Journal.

Louis Garneau Diamond Helmet Review

Louis Garneau Diamond Helmet Review: for the 2012 season Team Sixcycle-RK&O is pleased to be sponsored by Louis Garneau. As part of that sponsorship Team Sixcycle-RK&O is wearing LG's custom kit (stay tuned for a review on the kit and the custom ordering process) as well as LG's high performance Diamond Helmet. During the course of the season Team Sixcycle-RK&O's John Buenaventura experienced all of  the performance elements of the LG Diamond helmet - both its light weight and (unfortunately) its safety performance. His full review of the Diamond helmet is below. To learn more about the helmet visit: http://www.louisgarneau.com/in-en/product/0/1405847/_/DIAMOND_HELMET

Louis Garneau Diamond Helmet Review by Team Sixcycle-RK&O's John Buenaventura

Let’s face it, as a group road cyclists tend to be a vain lot. So when it comes to choosing most things bike-related, I fear we choose by appearances rather than by performance, or in this case, safety. After all, aren’t all helmets required to have some form of Snell, EN, or Ansi approval? By this logic, then surely the top two offerings from most major helmet manufacturers should protect our noggins with aplomb, no?

I was skeptical when I heard the team was receiving helmets as part of our sponsor-provided kit package from LG. This was not because I doubted the company’s prowess at making a competent helmet, but more because I was completely satisfied with the current helmet I was wearing. After four years of trying five different helmet brands, I thought I had found the ideal helmet for my head. It was going to take a lot for me to switch helmets. I thought to myself “well, it’s good to have a back-up helmet just in case." Which brings us to the LG Diamond helmet.

The Diamond is LG’s top of the line racing helmet. Sporting 40 vents and weighing in at 285 grams, the Diamond is more or less on par with its competitors in terms of weight (Ok, perhaps it’s slightly heavier than it's lightest competitors) and perceived cooling (Actually, I believe that 40 is currently the highest number of vents for helmets). Does it keep my head cool? I guess so. I can say that I didn’t notice being any hotter than other helmets I’ve worn. I don’t have access to any high-tech sensors that I can put on my head to verify this. One big plus to its vent design is that you can insert your sunglasses into the front vents – something I really missed with the last helmet I owned.

The Diamond's fit is excellent. In comparison to the other helmets I've worn it fits ever so slightly on the narrow side - at least on my wide head. If you are in between sizes, size up. The LG fit system is something they call the Spiderlock retention system. It works smoothly and easily. Even with a clumsy, winter-gloved grip one can adjust the large round dial on the back of the helmet with ease. The knob is infinitely adjustable too - no pre-set notches on the adjuster like some other brands. It’s padded as well – a feature that no other brand I’ve tried has and it’s is something that you do notice. The helmet sits low on your head while maintaining a low profile on the top. This is good both functionally and aesthetically. Sitting low protects the vulnerable back, brow, and sides of your head while maintaining a low profile - good for avoiding that mushroom-head look that afflict too many of the helmets on the market. I didn’t think it possible, but I think it looks better than my older helmet. Thus far, the Diamond looks great (very important) and fits (at least my head) well. That's two for two if you’re keeping score.

As far as protection goes, according to LG the Diamond has it’s outer shell fused to the polystyrene inner for extra reinforcement. A composite outer ribbing in the shape of an X runs the length of the helmet and is designed to spread the force of an impact over a larger area. The bottom has a plastic reinforcement ring running along the entire helmet edge. It gives the helmet even more strength and gives the helmet a decidedly solid feel. This might explain the helmet’s extra weight compared to the ultra-lightweights.

All that tech talk is fine and dandy and makes for good copy but in the real world, what does that really mean? Fortunately for you, the lucky reader, I was able to test this out for you. At a local Cat 2/3 crit, I was hammering along at the front in order to try and bring back 2 riders who had escaped. Exiting a corner, I put my head down for a split sec and took my eyes off the road. I clipped the leg of one of the police barricades lining the course. According to witnesses, my front wheel shot into the crowd and I launched into the air doing a 540 still attached to the bike. I landed smack on my head. I sat dazed for 10-15 seconds and then crawled off of the course. My GPS data confirmed that I was traveling at 31 MPH at the time of the crash. The LG Diamond was cracked, with a small piece broken from the top rear. I was woozy and a precautionary trip to the hospital was in order. X-rays and Cat scans revealed that I was ok. I didn’t even have a concussion despite the massive bruise on the back my head from a 31 mph impact. The LG Diamond did it’s job perfectly. To say I was impressed is an understatement. LG has a crash replacement program as well so I was able to get another helmet fairly quickly for a very reasonable price.

Included in the box is an extra set of inner padding to replace your set when they inevitably reach the point of no return and some stickers to customize the look. LG was good enough to supply our team with a custom graphics package to make even our small local team feel that much more pro. So what’s my final verdict? The Diamond is that rare thing - a looker that performs. I now have a new favorite helmet. The previous helmet has been relegated to commuter duty.

GearTo Be DeterminedGarneau, Gear