Just before it launched, the LEM Motiv Air helmet arrived for a quick test. I brought it to Montana for a couple big days of gravel riding with Shimano, where the feathery weight and big breathability helped keep me comfortable on both climbs and descents. Since then, I’ve been rocking it on local rides, too. Here’s how it faired in the hot, humid end days of August…
The Motiv Air comes in six different colors, but my preference is usually white or black so it matches whatever kit and bike I choose for the day.
LEM’s line is generally decent looking, but this one steps up the aesthetic. According to their rep at Eurobike, they say this higher end (and higher price) segment is somewhere you’ll see them playing more often in the near future. With a retail of $225, that’s about the only thing that could weigh down the Motiv Air.
It has 23 well-sized vents with deep interior channels to move air. This was immediately noticeable in the late summer heat. Air moved quickly and easily through the helmet, even on the slow uphill grinds. If your head overheats, you’ll like this one. The front pad could be a little bigger to move more sweat away, but I didn’t have any more issues with sweat dripping down than I do with myriad other helmets from many brands.
The air flow runs through uninterrupted channels from front to back. Also notice that height-adjustable retention mech, we’ll talk more about that in a sec. There aren’t a ton of pads inside, but enough to be comfortable. One of the reasons LEM uses a carbon fiber exo-skeleton is because it holds the helmet together in the event of a crash. This means the EPS foam doesn’t have to be as dense, so it’s more cushioning in an impact because it isn’t play as big of a role in the structural integrity of the helmet. LEM’s not the only one doing this, BTW.
Claimed weight is 220g for a medium. Our preproduction sample came in just over that at 233g (size M). I wear a size M in most every other brand out there (Giro, Specialized, Bontrager, Bell, Kask, Smith…the list goes on), and this one fit very well. There was minimal gap and movement between the helmet and my head, which is what you want.
The exoCarbon skeleton is visible, as it should be for proper showing off.
It’s co-molded onto the EPS foam to create a solid, one-piece helmet.
The rear retention mech drops deep, adjusting all the way down and around the base of my skull. This gave it a very secure feel that didn’t shake or tilt over rough terrain. The straps sit close to the skin, and there’s space over and immediately behind the ear. This meant several different brands and styles of sunglasses fit well with this helmet.
Bring the retention cradle all the way down and there’s room for a ponytail to escape.
While a helmet’s style and fit is a personal thing, the features, weight and breathability on the LEM Motiv Air make it worth a look. It’s become a go-to for me on many road and gravel rides.