The Rudy Project Racemaster brings together some great features, a good fit and excellent ventilation to create a strong performing helmet.
I tested this helmet alongside the Rudy Project Tralyx glasses (review to come), which were also gold, which meant that I looked a bit like the inside of Donald Trump's penthouse while out on the road. Aside from the gold-on-gold, how did the helmet perform?
Regardless of any of the superfluous elements of a helmet, the most important aspect (other than meeting safety standards) is always going to be the fit. It doesn't matter how light or aero a helmet is if it doesn't fit well. The Racemaster, happily for me, fits well, with a harness with an adjuster wheel at the back of the head. This changes the sizing in small enough increments that most people should achieve a good fit. Unlike other systems I have used, the cradle is only half head rather than securing around the entire skull, but it still holds the helmet in place well. The bracket is also height adjustable, with eight different increments to fit neatly to the back of head.
The helmet comes with a couple of sets of pads, one with netting to stop bugs getting through the vents. I did several hundred miles throughout the review period while wearing the helmet, including some soaking wet rides, yet the pads are still odourless, which is impressive. They also provide a good level of padding for comfort.
The straps are well laid out, without twisting, and have dividers that lie flat and don't irritate. They also have a high-vis stripe to help with visibility in low light.
Ventilation on the helmet is really strong, with a respectable 22 vents helping to get a breeze going over the top of the head and disperse heat quickly. There is also a fin on the top of the helmet, an 'air accelerator', which is meant to direct airflow; it may well work as the ventilation is good, but I can't say objectively that it's any better than helmets without.
My favourite part of the helmet, though, is the glasses garage at the rear, which is simple to use and keeps the arms of the glasses off your head, which is a bit of a pet peeve for me. I used four or five sets of glasses with it, from a variety of brands, and they all fitted equally well, with each feeling secure when in place.
The helmet uses 'hexocrush technology'... What's that, you ask? According to Rudy Project: "The liner is molded with two different foam densities and the hexagon-shaped structure provides improved shock absorption by dissipating impact forces sideways and radially." I confess I didn't test its shock-absorbing qualities... It also has an in-mould construction, and is available in a Mips – Multi-Directional Impact Protection System version.
Weight is 296g, which isn't the lightest compared with others in a similar price bracket such as the Lazer Z1 (238g), Catlike Mixino (227g), Giro Synthe (223g) and POC Octal (204g). However, this extra 50ish grams isn't huge and it certainly doesn't feel like an overly bulky helmet. In terms of looks, features and ventilation it offers around the same kind of performance.
Overall, I liked it. I found the fit excellent, the ventilation a real positive, and it has some neat features, especially the glasses garage and high-vis elements. It could do with shaving a bit of weight compared to its rivals, but at the same time it doesn't feel overly bulky.
Could do with losing a few grams to meet rivals' weights, but overall a really good helmet with some neat features
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Rudy Project Racemaster helmet
Size tested: Small/Medium
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A top of the line helmet used in the pro peloton.
Rudy Project says: 'Rudy Project brings the Racemaster a new top bike helmet with outstanding features'
It is admittedly a brief description by the company, but seems about right.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Rudy Project's website:
ADJUSTABLE COMFORT FIT
Rudy Project helmets are appreciated because of our legendary fit, the result of studies into ergonomics, design and material innovation and advanced manufacturing techniques. The retention system is constantly updated to improve comfort and performance. The new RSR 9 system enhances your fitting. The structure is more wrap-around while precise micro-metric regulation and height adjustment provide a perfect personal fit.
Our products' legendary fit is the fruit of scientific studies of the human head, design innovation and advances in materials and manufacturing techniques. Our groundbreaking systems are constantly updated and upgraded to guarantee exceptional adjustability and stability.
Ultralight, ultraflat yet robust, comfortable, easy to adjust. The divider pro increase the comfort of your helmet and are earbud friendly.
Keeping your head cool and dry is essential for maintaining performance at the highest levels. Thanks to the shape and the positioning of the external air openings and the unique inside air channels our helmets are perfectly ventilated and very comfortable. The air vents have been designed to permit maximum dispersion of heat, ensuring your performance does not drop as a result of the heat, and effective evaporation of sweat.
GARAGE EYEWEAR DOCK
The completely new Garage Eyewear Dock provides you an innovative system to hold stably sunglasses at the back of the helmet. This system prevents contact between the sunglasses' temple arms and the user's head.
Originally inspired by conehead technology and developed be extremely lightweight, this entirely new structure is one of the most advanced Rudy Project solutions. And it is designed to maximize your safety by ensuring unprecedented level of security.
The liner is molded with two different foam densities and the hexagon-shaped structure provides improved shock absorption by dissipating impact forces sideways and radially. Thus, the Hexocrush reduces the g-force pressure on the head in case of falls or impacts.
Rudy Project includes IceDot technology and provides one year's free registration for this innovative emergency service on a selection of helmets. Increase your safety when you ride: fix the special sticker to your helmet then go to the IceDot site to key in the code you received when you registered. The code incorporates your clinical data to help the emergency rescue. Plus, in the event of a fall or accident the Icedot sensor send an emergency notification to the phone numbers you selected.
The combined action of the EPS structure, the polycarbonate shell and exoskeleton creates resistance to the mechanical action exercised by an impact and dissipates the energy in order to prevent it from being transferred to the head of the rider wearing the helmet
SAFETY REFLECTION SYSTEM
Approved reflective stickers increase wearer's visibility in low or problematic light conditions for greater safety.
Our helmets are supplied with a light, removable visor which fits on the front of the helm
Really well made with some innovative features like the glasses garage.
Excellent fit and ventilation made it comfortable to wear for hours.
Seems well made and sturdy, plus pads are impressively odour resistant, likely to last a long time.
About 50g more than its rivals, but not overly bulky.
Really comfortable with a good fitting system and nice pads.
About where I would expect it to be.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed well – comfortable and secure on the head while also providing good ventilation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Seems an odd element, but the glasses garage is a really cool feature.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Weighs a little more than its rivals.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
It's a very good helmet – pricey yes, but you're getting pro-level quality, and some neat features. I don't think 50g extra weight over its rivals is something to mark it down on, so it's an 8 from me.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.