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LEM Motiv Air Helmet Review

The LEM Motiv Air is an exceptional helmet that offers excellent ventilation and performance at an affordable price

LEM Motiv Air helmet front
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Our Verdict

A worthy alternative to the current crop of segment incumbents

For

  • Affordable pricing
  • Weight
  • Comfortable fit
  • Aesthetics

Against

  • No dedicated rotational safety

LEM Helmets might be a relative newcomer to the cycling world but the company has, in fact, been around for over three decades already, having forged a name as an innovative motorcycle helmet manufacturer under the guidance of founder Romano Magani. 

Since recently shifting its focus to cycling and location from Italy to California, LEM's portfolio now boasts helmets for every kind of rider out there - including the ardent professional. Its latest offering, the Motiv Air, looks set to raise brand perception along with providing riders with a cutting-edge helmet option at an affordable price point. 

LEM Motiv Air helmet detail

At the core of the LEM Motiv Air is a full-carbon exterior shell called exoCarbon (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

 Design and aesthetics 

The Motiv Air is one sleek-looking lid. The design is contemporary - almost Giro-like in execution - and features a signature construction cue called 'exoCarbon technology', a carbon exterior shell. While this multi-layer exoskeleton has improved strength, reduced weight and allowed for the use of low-density EPS foam, it has also enabled the designers to play with shapes, textures and colours to craft something truly spectacular. As such, the Motiv Air features no less than 23 vents for optimised airflow and is available in six colour options, each of which contrasts the exposed carbon-lined buttresses to maximum effect. 

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LEM Motiv Air helmet detail

The low-density EPS foam has helped maximise rotational impact protection (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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LEM Motiv Air helmet detail

Internal padding is limited but has not impacted overall comfort and fit (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)
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LEM Motiv Air helmet

23 vents help improve cooling as well as add to the visual appeal (Image credit: Basso // Javi Echevarria Ruiz)

Performance and fit 

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(Image credit: Specialized )

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A helmet is always going to be measured by how well it fits and whether it offers decent enough levels of ventilation. The Motiv Air ticks both boxes. The fit is non-restrictive thanks to the micro adjustability of the retention system which secures it evenly to the head, and comfort is impressive despite the limited padding inside. Adjusting the lightweight straps is a straightforward task, the strapping sits flush around the cheeks and jaw for added stability.

I spent three days in Barcelona, Spain putting the Motiv Air through its paces and not once did I find it a hindrance - in fact, at times it felt as if there was nothing on my head, such was its comfort and low weight (239g on our scale). In terms of ventilation, the Motiv Air is easily one of the best helmets in its class with 23 ports for improved cooling. 

The slats are strategically positioned to promote airflow and keep you from overheating - something I was able to put to the test over a very warm three days in Barcelona, Spain where the mercury touched over 30 degrees at times. 

Not once did I feel as if the helmet was inhibiting my performance, nor was there any overheating during the three days of riding - instead, it kept me cool and helped with convection. The internal padding does well to absorb sweat and wick moisture away from the brow keeping the eyes moisture and salt free.

LEM Motiv Air helmet rear

The micro adjustability of the retention system secures it evenly to the head (Image credit: Aaron Borrill)

Safety

MIPS, WaveCel and SPIN are just three of the buzzwords currently doing the rounds when it comes to helmet safety. And while all three technologies are said to lessen the severity of rotational impacts caused during a crash, LEM has chosen to forgo these measures by sticking to its exoCarbon technology. LEM claims the use of a multi-layer, carbon exoskeleton together with a lower-density EPS foam structure has improved the Motiv Air's ability to deal with high- and low-energy rotational impacts. 

LEM Motiv Air helmet

LEM's Motiv Air helmet is a comfortable lightweight offering that can be used throughout the year - the hotter the weather the better (Image credit: Basso // Javi Echevarria Ruiz)

 Verdict 

In a world ruled by the perennial favourites - I'm talking Giro, Bontrager, POC, Kask, Lazer and Specialized, to name a few - the LEM Motiv Air helmet provides a worthy and quality alternative. Not only is it an appreciably competitive option, both in terms of pricing and weight, it looks the part too, boasting refined aesthetics and stealthy branding. Its versatility as a helmet is a fact that can't be ignored either. Owing to its comfortable fit and impressive, all-round ventilation it can be used for myriad disciplines ranging from cross-country mountain biking and cyclo-cross to gravel and road.  

Test conditions

  • Temperature: 25-30 degrees
  • Duration: Three days (5-6 hours riding per day)
  • Terrain: Technical gravel, corrugated roads, tarmac

Specifications: LEM Motiv Air helmet

  • Price: Starting at US$225 / £185 / €210 / AU$344 
  • Weight: 220g (claimed), 239g (actual, medium) 
  • Rotational safety: No 
  • Retention: Micro-adjust fit system 
  • Aero: Semi 
  • Sizes: S, M, L 
  • Colours: 6