First, the insta-review for those just too damn busy to focus for more than a few seconds: The Limar Ultralight is for riders who love Italy, hate bugs and obsess about weight.
Now, let’s dig in on the Limar Ultralight and we’ll start with the weight scale. Right on the side of the helmet Limar proclaims you’re about to slip on “the world’s lightest helmet.” Available in just two sizes, the medium is 190 grams and the large adds an extra 20. By comparison, Giro’s top-of-line Aeon weights in at 222 grams. Can your head tell the difference in that 30 grams? Hard to say but that’s a big deal for the weight-obsessed and there’s no question Limar wins the gram contest. In fact, for some riders, a sub 200 gram helmet is cause for wild celebration, raucous music and inappropriate acts of a sexual nature.
To get down to that weight, the Ultralight had to make some adjustments big and small. The most notable is the minimal retention system. The side struts are short and inflexible and the rear retention mechanism is certainly a bit more rudimentary than a Giro or Specialized Prevail. There’s no question on functionality — the proven ratchet-style design works and the dial is oversized — which makes it easy to find and grip on the fly. By comparison though, the Limar system feels a touch old school.
The intentionally stripped-down design provides no option to repositioning the height of the retention system. Remember, you’re wearing the lightest helmet around but you have to accept some compromise in other areas. While the Limar wasn’t the best-fitting helmet we’ve ever worn, we arrived at a good fit after dialing in the straps. There was just a tiny bit of side-to-side play but that’s our head, maybe not yours. There’s plenty of padding on the inside — eight different velcro-attached pads. Based on our experience, the Limar UltraLight will fit a round head better than an oval shape — it’s a Bell fit, not a Giro.
We found the venting and flow-through ventilation to be just fine, not exceptional. The Ultralight doesn’t have the tapered and carved out channels that bring more air to your head. If you ride in a high heat zone, there are heavier helmets that make cooling a priority. But certainly the Limar performs as well as most lids when it comes to keeping the air moving. No complaints whatsoever — we just wouldn’t pack the Limar for the Tour of the Sahara.
That brings us to styling, esthetics and Italy. Limar is an Italian brand and they have their own ideas about visual design. In a world dominated by Giro’s design language, Limar doesn’t follow that highly sculpted, aggressive look. Depending on your view, the Ultralight is timeless and understated or lacking in flash like the Giro. The Limar would be a good match for Rapha’s classic bib short or some of the euro kits. We love the Giro esthetic but there are those who appreciate the variation, the no-nonsense, lets-get-down-to-business beauty of the Limar. There’s a bit of Ferrari here, just the lite version. It’s simply a question of how loud you like to scream for attention. We have friends who prefer the Limar because it’s not relentlessly over-designed. Like the Spanish Catlike Whisper, the Limar Ultralight becomes distinctive and unique simply because it’s not a Giro.
Then there are the annoying bugs. Limar deserves credit for trying something nobody else has done: a helmet with a bug screen. Especially in Summer, that seems like a smart idea. Bees, flies, assorted flying critters hit a tight mesh over the front vents. No admittance allowed. While the screen isn’t fine enough to keep out mosquitos and gnats, it’s still a big deal for some people. Northern California isn’t especially buggy but riders in the Midwest and South here in the United States will appreciate the bug barrier.
The verdict: The Limar Ultralight isn’t the flashiest helmet on the road. But if lightweight in a top priority, if you dig the whole Italian cycling esthetic and if you hate bugs, you may have just found your new lid.