When it comes to purchasing a new helmet, most of us have to make a choice. What’s more important to you—ventilation or aerodynamics? For most of us, we solve this dilemma by purchasing an aero helmet for race day and a more practical, ventilated option for training rides. Of course this further complicates your research and adds to your increasing gear budget. Thankfully, the industry has begun to rise to the challenge by offering the aero road helmet. Many of our readers are likely familiar with the Air Attack from Giro and the Specialized Evade. Louis Garneau has also come to market with its own aero road helmet, the Course, which we’ve had the pleasure of testing for a few months now.
LG’s Course fascinated us for several reasons. First, when compared with the Air Attack and Evade, the Course looks…well, normal. And we liked that. Second, LG claims that the Course is the fastest aero road helmet out there (according to their report here). So how did LG manage to craft such an aero design without making it look like an alien space ship?
LG went through extensive research at the Canadian National Research Council’s Low Speed Wind Tunnel Facility throughout the design process. However, LG didn’t just set out to develop the “perfect” aero helmet on paper. They also kept the actual cyclist in mind regarding heat management, pressure drag, varying yaw angles, weight, and the individual rider’s ability. In other words, it seems like LG did their homework. And so far, based on our experiences with the Course, we tend to agree.
To design the Course to be as aero as possible, LG first analyzed the aerodynamic performance of several helmets on the market utilizing computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. From these findings, LG determined that optimizing a helmets frontal surface, of the surface facing the wind, will improve performance. This is what led LG to design the Course directly on the head of a rider in a cycling position. According to LG, the result is a helmet which follows the shape of the head without excess material at the back, allowing for better air evacuation. Large openings were also strategically placed to reduce the high-pressure zone in the helmet’s front by allowing more air to pass inside the helmet and through the back. Of course, this also aids in cooling.
LG’s design is as simple as it gets. In fact, when we first examined it, LG’s venting strategy seemed like common sense. Flip the helmet over and you can clearly see the Course’s vent design aims from the front of the helmet straight back to its “evacuation channels.” The AG team can definitely attest to the helmet’s cooling abilities after a few months of rides in the South Florida heat. Our heads never felt overheated in the Course even while riding in 90-degree heat. Another bonus of the venting design became apparent during rides in driving rain. The Course’s design allowed water to efficiently flow from the front to the back rather than pouring down our face. And considering how often we get stuck in the rain here, we’ll say that’s a big win.
While LG’s data does show some impressive comparisons (basically, it’s fast), we can’t back up these claims without access to a wind tunnel of our own (we can dream big, can’t we?!). However, we do agree that this helmet is one of the most comfortable we’ve worn by far. Right out of the box we found the helmet to be incredibly easy to wear and adjust. LG’s Spiderlock Pro II system features a polymer neck support and can be very easily tightened or loosened with just one hand—even while wearing gloves—thanks to the non-slip dial at the back of the helmet. We’ve had experience with other dial designs like this, and we think LG’s is one of the easiest to operate and stays in place. Another nice feature found on the Course is the Spiderlock Vision light, which is attached to the adjustable dial at the back of the helmet. The light has multiple settings and is easily removed/attached via Velcro. Since we do many of our rides before the sun comes up, we thought this was a great feature. Finally, the Course also features a good amount of LG’s XStatic XT2 padding, which provides an antimicrobial element and adds comfort.
Cool, comfy, and aero, the Course offers a wonderful solution for those of us looking for one helmet that can be worn from training to race day. And at $239, which is right in line with other high-end helmets, we thought the Course was well worth the investment.