LIMAR ETNA + MIPS HELMET REVIEW
LIGHTWEIGHT WITH MORE COVERAGE
Words & Photos by Cole Gregg
Limar is a relatively unknown brand in the mountain bike world, with the Italian company better known for their range of road helmets that they’ve been developing since 1986. Their push into the mountain bike world is recent, and the ETNA + MIPS helmet is the first product we have used from them. For about 4 weeks and countless rides the ETNA was my go-to at my home trails of Beacon Hill in Spokane Washington. Will it continue to be the lid I snag for rides to come, and how did it hold up to other Full-Cut mountain bike helmets I have used over the years? Let’s dive in and find out!
Construction: This Full-Cut offering new to the Lamar line is an “All round In-mold double shell” construction, using the PROXEAR coverage system to offer extra protection around the ears and to the temporomandibular joint. Without much information on their website about this technology my deduction is that the helmet has two molded layers joined together. This creates a lightweight and safe shell for many different riding disciplines, with my size medium tipping the scales at 450g and the large at a claimed 500g. This is just 70 grams more than my all-time favorite, the Smith Forefront 2, which does not offer nearly as much coverage as the ETNA.
Small-headed riders must note that the ETNA is only currently offered in sizes Medium and Large, which span a 53m-61cm head size range.
Safety: The ETNA + MIPS comes equipped with a Mips system as you might have guessed, in the form of the Mips Air Node safety system. This Mips System is slightly different than the rotational style Mips found in other high-end helmets: Instead of two layers of material sliding over each other on impact, the Air Node system is built into the padded liner, which is designed to release from the helmet during angled impacts. It uses a low friction layer that is laminated to the helmets base, with the comfort and fit padding sliding over it. Limar’s PROXEAR coverage on this particular model extends coverage beyond your normal half shell. The extra coverage helps protect the temporomandibular (say that 3 times fast) joint – or the joint at the top of the jaw. With minimal weight increase the extra coverage might just come in handy when you run out of talent.
Features: With 15 total vents the ETNA makes the most use out of the exterior shell as possible. There are two elongated front vents, 8 vents on top and 5 rearward. I guess you could also count the large openings around the ears as vents as well, but I digress.
The helmet features a FidLock magnetic release paired with an oversized Velcro comfort strap cover. The interior padding is non-allergenic and can be easily removed for washing and replacement.
On top of the two shell sizes offered, Limar has included their Air Fit Eco system with 5 levels of height adjustability. On top of that is the self-adjustment wing system with a webbing connection that allows the rider to turn the dial on the back of the helmet for a secure fit.
Pricing: Offered in a choice of five colors, the Limar Etna + MIPS helmet retails for $199.95.
First Thoughts | When I first pulled the ETNA out of the box, I was very surprised with the lack of weight. It’s closest competitor, the Fox Dropframe lands at 499g for a size medium and another in the same category tips the scales at a whopping 718g. From what I could find the ETNA is the lightest 3/4 framed helmet out there and its low weight is noted out on the trails.
With my go-to color always being black or some shade of dark gray, the Ocean Sage color way really caught my eye. If that is not for you there are 4 other options as well, but I am stoked on the Ocean Sage that was sent out for the test.
Fit | Being a true medium head shape, I opted for, you guessed it, the medium. Slipping the helmet on came with no funky ear pain, as the PROXEAR system is very malleable without feeling cheap. The dialed adjustment on the back provided tons of room for customization. Note: it is much easier to take the helmet on and off with the adjustment system all the way loosened up, as you might expect.
On my first ride I developed a hot spot on the upper section of my forehead where the brow of the helmet sat. I loosened up the dial a few clicks but then lost the desired snug fit. For my next ride I played around in the garage with the Air Fit Evo system. This allowed me to bring the helmet down in the back more which right away solved the hot spot. It took a few tries to get the fit where I wanted but ultimately landed on level 2 of 5, which left me in a comfortable spot.
Looks | Overall, I like the look of this lid, its sharp lines and streamlined vents give it an aggressive appearance. The PROXEAR system tapers in ever so slightly giving the helmet some depth. Personally, I think the logos could be a bit smaller on the back, but it is not a deal breaker for me.
Riding | When out on the trail in the heat of late summer I did not find myself cursing the extra protection, the array of vents provided stellar air flow. I did not find the helmet to be any hotter than my Smith Forefront 2. This might be a different story if you have a big head of hair, but for me it was a moot point.
The helmet stayed in place across all types of terrain and was silent. Once synched up at the top of a climb there was no stopping mid-way down for adjustments. Pretty much every climb back up the hill I loosened the dial, something I do on every helmet that has a fitting feature like this. While I was lucky enough not to test the safety features of this helmet, I always felt secure knowing I had just that little extra coverage and a solid fit on my head. The adjustable visor stayed in place and was easy enough to adjust up for goggle storage. I found storing riding glasses to be a little difficult but not impossible – they stayed in place on technical climbs but would not advise descending with them stored.
Finish and Value | Overall the feel of the Limar Etna + MIPS screams quality. To produce a helmet that is this light without the feeling of it being cheap must have been a tough job for the design team, but they got it right. All the integrations on this helmet are seamless and well thought out – a 10 out of 10 in my book. The price is in line with many other helmets on the market and really should not be a thought as protecting your head should be your highest priority. Overall you can consider me impressed.
The Wolf’s Last Word
We have a few zones locally that have pretty high average speeds, as well as some rather aggressive rock features. This is the helmet I will grab on the days we plan on riding high consequence trails. Putting your hard-earned dollars into a Limar Etna+ MIPS is unlikely to leave you with buyer remorse, and should provide confidence out on the trail.
Weight: 450 grams (medium)