LEM SPYNE HELMET REVIEW
Review by Alex Sardella | Photos by Vinnie Zacha-Herthel
LEM Helmets lays roots in Northern California, in the small town of Morgan Hill just south of San Francisco. With an Italian heritage and a focus on helmet safety and design, LEM has been manufacturing helmets since the early 70’s. LEM has a simple product line focused on helmets for all cyclists – from roadies to mountain bikers, and groms to adults. The Spyne is a new addition to the helmet lineup for 2022 and we have been enjoying putting it to the test with some trail miles.
The Spyne is the premium offering in LEM’s lineup, and with that comes some technical and innovative features. Coming in at 425 grams, the helmet sits on the slightly heavier side of the spectrum in terms of weight in the half-shell market. What sets the Spyne apart is the use of LEM’s proprietary GelMotion Technology. There are 8 small orange pads scattered throughout the helmet – 4 large and 4 small – which act as an impact management system. The strong yet flexible gel-like pads work together to absorb and distribute energy created by both linear and rotational impacts. The GelMotion is comfortable, reliable, and delivers consistent performance. As LEM calls it, Gelin for your Melon. The GelMotion system sits within a multi-shell PC tech outer, with an in-mold EPS foam.
Rounding out the features, the Spyne includes an integrated adjustable fit system, which LEM calls the FS6. This is a micro adjustable feature to fit a reasonable range of head sizes with each helmet. The helmet has nearly an inch of adjustability internally, which may help to account for only offering three shell sizes. There is a removable, washable liner and 15 vents to help with breathability. The strap comes with a Fidlock magnetic buckle, which makes it is easy to buckle or unbuckle the strap. A mid-size LEM Link™ burly indexing visor adheres to the top of the helmet with a few different points of adjustability to keep the sun off your eyes. Available in sizes S-L, the Spyne comes in at $150.
LEM prides themselves in design and innovation, and the Spyne meets the brands requirements. A simplistic and modern look, combined with an ordinary round shape inside, combined for a solid fit on top of my head. The innovative GelMotion pads have no irritable touch points and integrate well with the liner. There are a few touches of soft Velcro that keep the liner adhered to the helmet but nothing that throws off the fit internally.
The Spyne does feel a bit more spherical and curved than most helmets, and you can feel this most above your ears, with the touch points on the side of the head. Speaking of, the adjustment fit system is incredibly well designed and adjusts the fit at both the sides and back of the head. This creates a safe and stable fit worth noting. The adjustable click wheel is really well integrated into the back of the helmet. Some helmets will only adjust in the rear, but the Spyne’s adjustable system latches down on nearly 50% of your head. I have noticed that I am using all the ‘travel’ on the adjustable fit system, and have it latched down as far as possible. So, if you are teetering between sizes, it could be best to size down – it always pays to try protective gear before you buy.
I have felt the Spyne is a touch heavier and hotter than most premium options out there. So, if you are riding in the desert, or a super-hot climate, it could feel warm during the heat of summer. I think this may be because of the weight and number of vents on the Spyne. Compared with the previously tested Kask Rex, the Spyne is notably warmer on the head, but thankfully it has the protective tech features to justify grabbing it.
The Wolf’s Last Word
This is the first product I have worn from LEM. Being in Northern California myself, it’s cool to try out product from a smaller, local brand. The Spyne situates itself nicely in the trail and all mountain categories and overall, going well on both the ascents and the descents. The added GelMotion technology is a unique feature to the brand that sets it apart from the traditional helmet safety options we see out in the market. There are lighter and more breathable options out there, but in terms of a modest helmet that has a top-notch integrated fit system, the Spyne is a worthy option.