Louis Garneau Rocket Helmet – Product Review by Cid Cardoso, Jr.

Posted: August 6, 2010 in Cycling, Product Reviews, Race Information

The Rocket features a polycarbonate outer shell that extends back beyond a Styrofoam core to form a sharp, pointy tail. The outer shell also extends downward on the sides to cover the ears, further reducing air drag. It has four small vents in the front and it uses LG’s patented SpiderLock Elite system of adjusting, for a secure and perfect fit. It weights 14.8 ounces and it is available in sizes Small, Medium and Large, and in three colors, Blue, Fuel and Grey. LG offers and optional visor in Clear or Smoke for $30.

The thing to keep in mind when trying on an aero helmet in the store is that everyone looks like a dork with the helmet and plain clothes! With that being said, I was more interested on how it fit, how comfortable it was on a ride, and how much time savings it offered. The fit of the Rocket was good, especially with the fine tuning of the Spider Lock knob. It felt like any other helmet, except that you notice right away that other sounds are somewhat distorted by the tight fairings covering the ears. On a training ride it was as comfortable as any other helmet, although it was weird not feeling the wind on my ears. I did not try it on a hot day and during a really long ride, so I don’t yet know what effect the smaller and fewer vents can have on ventilation and thus over heating.

To get the full experience, I added the smoke visor, which was also easy to get used to. I did have a minor issue when my forehead started itching and I couldn’t scratch it. After loosening the front screw on each side (that are used to attach the visor), I was able to slide it up and down and thus have a little more access to my forehead.

After a positive experience in training, I decided to use it on a race, the White Lake Sprint. As before, the helmet worked great. In fact, I liked it even more since I wasn’t as self conscious and felt like I was just slicing through the air, especially on that flat course. Even getting the helmet on and off, which worried me a bit, was not an issue (note that I did practice the motion, since the helmet fit so snug on the sides that I was afraid I would slice my ears off if I wasn’t more careful than usual).

So how much time does an aero helmet such as this really save? I did not find much specific information, although most of the studies I saw showed at least some time gained due to drag reduction. John Cobbs suggests in an article on Slowtwich that an aero helmet can save a professional athlete approximately 5 minutes over 100 miles. Mark Cote, a researcher at the MIT Center for Sports Innovation tested helmets for Specialized at the university’s Wright Brothers Wind Tunnel Test and found that aero helmets can save a rider as much as two and a half minutes over a 40K time trial, when compared a regular helmet. *

The Rocket is a good investment if you are a competitive athlete looking for every possible edge, or if you want to look like Norman Stadler on your next race. For me, as long as it was not uncomfortable or slower to transition, then any time gained is a benefit, even if only a few seconds. At the price tag of $180, one has to decide if those precious seconds are worth the money. If you are looking at qualifying for Hawaii, a few minutes may be well worth the cost. At IM Arizona, most of the pros and several top age groupers were sporting aero helmets, such as the Rocket.

Watch the Video of Cid Cardoso, Jr. and Todd Spain discussing aero helmets.

  1. […] Louis Garneau Rocket Helmet – Product Review by Cid Cardoso, Jr. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s