The MotivAir is a cycling helmet that works well for road, gravel, and even cross-country mountain biking. The design hinges on two elements; the LEM “inside out” model, taking the structural core inside, and taking it to the outer part of the helmet. The other, low-density EPS foam on the inside. Combing these features allow LEM to craft a very lightweight, super ventilated, fashionable helmet. The MotivAir uses a carbon ‘Exo Shell’ and features 23 vents. We covered the launch this summer and there was some serious buzz. We’re happy to get our hands on to get a MotivAir and put it through the paces.
LEM MotivAir Highlights
- Fantastic in hot weather on the trails or road
- Many colorways are available
- Comfortable, secure fit without hot spots
- Well ventilated with 23 vents
- Sizes: Small (53-56) Medium (56-59) Large (59-62)
- Weight: 220g
- Competitively priced with others in the class at $225.00
- Available now
LEM and inside out design
At a glance, the LEM MotivAir looks similar to many other high-end helmets. Look harder; you’ll notice small design features that separate it from the pack. Beyond the shape and the many vents, you notice the carbon on the outer of the shell. The exposed carbon is not an aesthetic feature, though it does look very cool. This shell is what LEM calls its “Inside out” design.
Taking the inside structural idea and putting it on the out. LEM is eager to share the benefits “By integrating a thin, rigid, full-carbon exterior shell, and we’re able to improve the overall benefits of the high-performance helmet” – Keith Cozzens, Global Brand Marketing Director at LEM. This “Exo Carbon” shell provides the helmet’s structure. According to LEM, it also allows the brand to use low-density EPS foam instead of the more popular high-density alternative. The LEM MotivAir does comply with U.S. CPSC Safety Standards in the U.S. and EN 1078 CE in Europe.
The Feel: Lightweight and ventilated
One of the features of LEMs “inside out” design is that it can create more vents and a lighter weight helmet overall. The MotivAir boasts 23 vents and weighs in at a scant 220g on our scales. The featherweight MotivAir feels very free and comfortable, something that is overlooked with the aggressive push for more aero designs. The ventilation is notable as well, and the 23 vents are scattered over the surface of the helmet delivering reprieve on hot summer days. I enjoy the overall design as well; the futuristic Tron style helmets have their place (mainly the track), but if you’re for something that looks cool too, the MotivAir is it. The satin of the Exo Carbon in the juxtaposition of the high polish of polycarbonate gives an appealing aesthetic with clean lines.
The LEM FS3 dial is straightforward to adjust on the fly and with gloves on and the same with the cradle. I had zero issues with fit or with hot spots with over-tightening. The cradle adjusts easily to fit all matter of head sizes and works will with caps and winter headwear. Because of the ventilated nature of the MotivAir, I found myself looking for a liner earlier in the fall season than usual.
Free and breezy are the two words that come to mind when thinking about the ride feel of the LEM MotivAir. Coming from an aero style helmet, the MotivAir was a breath of fresh air. The feeling of the calm wind on a hot day in the woods or when the sun is beating down on you on exposed gravel roads. The MotivAir is cool and comfortable, almost like riding without a helmet. The vents are scattered in a way that the rider gets a breeze from all directions, something that is fantastic when riding in dense single track. The helmet is not without aerodynamic shape though, the MotivAir is very compact to the head with a slight ovalization to help with the airflow. My favorite aspect of the MotivAir has to be the multiple discipline nature of the helmet. I found my self racing cyclocross, then the next day going on a mountain ride and then hitting the road the next week all in the same helmet.
The LEM MotivAir is a competitively priced, super lightweight helmet that offers a fresh idea on construction. Though it is not available in MIPS, or other proprietary anti-concussion technologies, I do feel that the protection of the carbon shell is sound. I didn’t have any major crashes in the MotivAir, but I feel safe and content with its level of protection. For riders looking for a do-it-all helmet that doesn’t look like something from the set of Spaceballs – this is your helmet. A must check out for gravel and road racers that overheat on wide-open sections and like the feel of the air on their head descending.