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The Limar Air Atlas helmet is cool and comfortable despite its enveloping feel – it's not the type to perch up there like a stovepipe hat – and claims some impressive aero benefits. It's a fair bit heavier than claimed, though, and the sizing seems off.
If the Limar's look, weight or price aren't doing it for you, check out our guide to the best lightweight road cycling helmets for more options.
While 'My head is 56cm around' might sound like some sort of pickup line – one of mine, anyway – it's been true for, oooh, years now. So the 54-58cm size medium Air Atlas should have been just right, as it is with practically every helmet. Unfortunately, it would only just go on my head at full slack, and I was forced up to the 57-62cm size large.
This now fits me perfectly, but as it's the largest available, those of you with genuinely big skulls may start running out of room. I'd expect to juggle sizes if my measurement was on the cusp, but I'm right in the middle of the claimed range. Basically, these come up small.
One knock-on effect is that it's heavier too, and it wasn't particularly light to start with. At 303g it's 43g heavier than Limar's claim of 260g in size large; in reality, even the medium weighed more than that on our scales, at 270g.
This aside, the Air Atlas is comfy and well ventilated, and certainly not heavy enough to cause any real issues.
The padding is extensive and works very well, and the dial-adjusted cradle is easily tweaked to sit comfortably – the rear slides up or down on a ratchet so you can get it sitting just where you want.
The straps are also easy to adjust so they sit neatly under your ears, and you even get a padded cover on the webbing under your chin. Like the pads, it's removable for washing.
The buckle is Fidlock's clever sliding magnetic one, which I personally like a lot – it's secure and easy to use.
Overall, you can see why it weighs a bit more than some lids, as it looks and feels built to be substantial rather than the wispiest thing ever. The shock-absorbing EPS foam is thick, the outer shell extends right under the brim and back up inside to protect it, and the various plastic parts on the webbing are chunky. There's also that striking hard-plastic vent on the back.
Despite a large, ventless central section, this cools well thanks to deep channels and 17 vents flowing air right through. Limar says the central four are Naca vents, a low-drag design found on planes and fast cars, but those typically start narrow and broaden to create counter-rotating vortices. The vents here start wide; whether that still works, we can't say.
Limar also says that rear vent effectively pulls warm air from the helmet via the venturi effect; this is where a restriction forces air to speed up, which means its pressure drops, which in turn pulls in more air. Again, we can't test whether it works here, but I can say this helmet never got particularly hot even on some very humid rides.
Limar says that, overall, the aero aspects make it quicker than its own Air Speed model; at 40kph, the Atlas saves you 0.7 watts in comparison, apparently. Once more I can't say if it does or not, but I can say it proves the Limar Air Speed needs a new name.
At £219.99 this is at the expensive end of the market, especially considering the lack of any rotational impact damping system such as Mips. Limar does a Mips version, for the record, but that's £35 more. Curiously, the claimed weights are the same as for this version.
The Trek Velocis MIPS Road Bike Helmet is £10 more at £229.99, but it's much lighter at 235g, very well ventilated, comfortable, and obviously has MIPS. George reviewed it in July and thought it was excellent.
The Ekoi AR14 Star Ltd Chrome Gold is more expensive again – the one Stu tested was £257.74, but also much lighter (228g) and oh-so-shiny (the Star Ltd Chrome Blue is currently £335.36). To be fair, the Air Atlas comes in an impressive array of colours itself (10 options), though if you're not bothered about shiny, the regular, non-limited Ekois are around £100 cheaper.
Something like the Rudy Project Egos Helmet will get you comfort, good venting and low weight for a fair bit less as well: the Egos is £189.99, and our medium weighed 255g.
This is a tough, luxurious helmet with a quality feel to it, and if you believe the aero numbers it'll make you fast, too. All we can say about airflow is that it cools well, despite its bulk. It's just a shame the numbers for size and weight seem so off.
Sturdily impressive quality while cool and comfy on the bike, but heavier and smaller than claimed
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Limar Air Atlas helmet
Size tested: Large
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Limar says: "There is always a new limit to overcome, and we know this very well. We embarked on a new adventure to beat our previous aerodynamic achievements in Air Revolution, and set a new record in aerodynamics performance while offering the highest levels of lightness, ventilation and comfort!
"You cannot but fall in love with AIR ATLAS at first sight: its lines are forged by the wind, and inspired by the most aerodynamic shapes that nature and man have created: the water drop and the airplane wings.
"Air Atlas is the fastest road helmet we've ever tested - the best of the best."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In-mold triple shell
7 front air vents + 4 naca vents, 6 rear vents, 6 inner air flow channels
Air Fit Evo system with 5 levels height movement, self adjustment wings system and webbing connection
Non allergenic washable comfort pads
S (52-56), M (54-58), L (57-62)
Weight: S (220g), M (235g), L (260g)
Very neatly and solidly made.
It's comfortable and cools well.
EPS foam innards are fully covered for protection while it's lying around unworn.
At 303g this is 43g heavier than Limar's claim of 260g in size large. In fact, even the medium weighs more than that at 270g.
You can get dedicated, high-coverage aero lids like the Kask Utopia Y, or Mips-equipped things like the Trek Velocis, that really do weigh 260g (or less) for similar money.
Good once I'd sized up – I'm in the middle of the 54-58cm range for the medium, yet it barely went on my head. These shells seem unusually small.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Sat securely and comfortably on my head, and cooled well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Impressive build quality, cool magnetic buckle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Sizing seems way off, and it's a bit heavy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
We've reviewed plenty of lids over £200 recently, including the £290 Giro Aries Spherical. Although £220 is high-end, it's certainly not the very top, but it's relatively high for a helmet without Mips or any equivalent.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
This feels solid and well made, plus it cools well – arguably, that's all you might want from something designed to protect your head. It's a fair bit heavier than claimed, though, and it seems smaller too. They'll be solvable or non-issues for many, but at this price there's strong competition all around.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,