Test Lab: Limar 777 Helmet
Investing in a good bike helmet is one of the cheapest forms of life insurance a rider can have. And, while it’s easy and cheap to get just any old helmet, getting one that fits well, looks good and will save your noggin in a crash is more challenging. Here’s one to add to your shortlist: the Limar 777.
Limar has been making helmets in Italy since the mid 80s. Their range covers road, MTB, skate, ultralight, sport and kids designs. Amongst other things, Limar’s claim to fame is that it produces the world’s lightest helmet: The Ultralight+ at 175g (M size). The 777 isn’t quite that light, but weight weenies fear not – it’s not far off at 200g (again, for M size).
The 777 is one of Limar’s top road models and when you put it on it’s easy to see why. The first thing you notice is how light it is. Helmets have come a long way since the Stackhats I lusted after in the 80s, but 200g is still ridiculously light, even now. I tested the L size, which weighs in at 230g. As a comparison, the Specialized Prevail (L) is 228g, the LAS Infinito (L) 285g, the Giro Aeon (L) 224g, the Mavic Plasma SLR (L) 380g, the Rudy Project Windmax (L) 255g and the Scott Vanish R (L) 249g. The Limar 777 stacks up nicely against the competition, particularly at this price point.
Limar’s ‘Competition + Fit’ retention system consists of a large, rubber dial at the rear of the helmet. Tightening is as easy as rotating the ratchet dial (slightly harder with long-fingered gloves but still doable). Once you tighten it, it won’t come loose except by pressing the quick-release button. This is a great feature – there is nothing more annoying than wearing a helmet that gradually loosens itself as you ride.* Another worthy feature of the retention system is that it runs the circumference of the helmet, meaning that when you tighten it you are making the whole helmet fit more snugly. Some helmets limit the plastic retention cradle to the rear of the helmet only, which can give you sore spots. Again, a tick to the designers.
I got to test out the retention system pretty well during my review. As the proud owner of a 57cm head, I usually take an S-sized helmet, so it was with some apprehension that I tried the large (advertised as fitting a 55-61cm head). Even though I fit at the smaller end of the sizing range, once I had amped up the retention system, the helmet fitted nicely and didn’t move around or look overly large. The chin straps have nice padding which helps with securing a comfortable fit.
The fit of the helmet itself was a little trickier. The internal padding was fine, but I did notice that my head hit the edges of the helmet at the back a bit. It wasn’t a problem but it was unusual enough to notice. It may just be that my head shape doesn’t quite suit Limar’s design, or that I should have gone for the smaller helmet size. In any event there is a lesson there for all of us: try before you buy! Not all helmets suit all head shapes and this isn’t something you can test online.
One of the best features of the Limar 777 was undoubtedly its bug net. The front air vents of the helmet (there are 24 vents in total) are covered discretely from the inside with a fine netting designed to catch the creepy-crawlies that fly into your helmet during a ride. You can’t see the netting once you are wearing the helmet. As someone who frequently wonders whether the bug that just flew into my helmet was a bee, and whether it came out the other side or was stuck in my hair, the bug net feature alleviated all my bee-related anxiety and alone would be a pretty good reason to buy this helmet. I don’t know why more helmet manufacturers don’t put them in.
So, in summary – a light, quality helmet with a great retention system and super-dooper bug-fighting capabilities. At $129, it’s a steal. Get it.
Distributed by Bikecorp
* On reflection, there are quite a few things more annoying than a helmet that gradually loosens itself mid-ride. These include slow walkers, people who ask too many questions, and some others that I can think of. Luckily none were involved or harmed in the course of this review.