LEM Flow Mountain Bike Helmet Review
Affordable Brain Bucket
Words & Photos by Sourpatch
LEM Helmets, or “Lavorazioni Elmi Magnani,” (Magnani Helmet Technologies) was brought to life in 1972 by Romano Magnani, a motorcycle enthusiast, creator, and innovator of helmets for motorcycle racing. LEM was a leader in helmet technology for decades after its conception, having helped create the European Guideline ECE22, establishing the first uniform helmet safety. Since then, LEM has made major moves, and not just away from the motorcycle helmet market. They also left Italy and are now in Northern California, with a dedicated focus on cycling helmets. LEM currently offers seven different helmets for varying disciplines. The LEM Flow, which we tested here, is currently their only mountain bike offering.
At first glance, the LEM Flow looks like a basic, run-of-the-mill half shell. It does not sport any sort of rotational impact mitigation system however it does check off many boxes in the modern features category. Those features include full back coverage, a mesh bug liner, LEM’s FS2 fit system with micro-adjust dial to provide a snug fit, a multi-positioning, indexing visor and LEM’s Flow-Thru ventilation system comprised of 16 decently sized vents. The helmet utilizes an integrated, three-piece shell and in-mold EPS liner making it compliant with the U.S. CPSC Safety Standard.
In all honesty, when I first opened the box containing my new test helmet, I thought the LEM Flow looked pretty bland and the gloss visor paired with a flat black body gave it a cheap appearance. It wasn’t until I put the helmet on that I realized looks are only skin deep.
The Flow helmet has got to be one of the most comfortable brain buckets in my garage right now. The FS2 fit system made dialing in the fit quick and easy. What else really impressed me is the fact that the rear adjuster has padding on it. It’s a very small, yet comfortable bonus feature and something none of the other helmets I’ve collected over the years have. That extra bit of padding gives the Flow major brownie points.
I’ve spent the last several months riding in the LEM Flow, spending a majority of that time riding on the local trails in Southern California, which are typically fully exposed to the blazing hot sun. That means my black helmet is also getting blasted by the sun. Maybe I’m crazy, but it seems like another color may absorb less heat and keep my head from sweating neon-colored sour sweats. So if you live in hotter desert areas, you may want to think about color selection.
Even with the 16 decently sized vents and my slow climbing speed, I had a hard time noticing much airflow during long climbs on toastier days. On cooler days it wasn’t an issue at all and another thing that wasn’t an issue was bugs flying in my helmet! Sure, it’s not a super common occurrence but when it does happen it’s never at a good time, so the LEM bug net is a nice feature, although I’m not sure how much of an impact it has on airflow, which I think I’d rather have more of.
LEM’s Flow Mountain Bike Helmet is certainly a great option for budget-minded riders. Don’t let the measly $80 price tag fool you, it is the most bang for your buck helmet on the market in my opinion. Although it lacks any sort of rotational impact protection system, it does retail for quite a bit less. The LEM Flow has a sleek and familiar design, comes in a variety of colors, has some of the most comfortable padding and is very easy to dial in the fit thanks to LEM’s FS2 fit system. My only gripes are with the poor airflow on the climbs and the cheap look of the gloss visor in contrast to the flat black helmet. It doesn’t look as bad on some of the other color offerings we’ve seen on their website, however. Props to LEM for making a very comfortable and practical helmet at an affordable price point, I’ll continue wearing this lid for the foreseeable future.
Sizes: S, M, L