Product Review: Rudy Project Sterling Helmet: Fine Italian Craftmanship

Lou testing out the Rudy Project Sterling helmet at Barnes Park in the Utah Cyclocross Series.
Lou testing out the Rudy Project Sterling helmet at Barnes Park in the Utah Cyclocross Series.

By Lou Melini

I have been a Giro bike helmet buyer for a long time. The Giro Pneumo I think was purposely made to fit my head. Other helmets in the Giro line were good but not quite the same. So when I was given a Rudy Project for the purpose of providing a product review, I was happy to give it a try.

The Rudy Project helmet is visually very nice looking and light. The website for Rudy Project says the weight of the Sterling model is 349 grams (12 ounces), but the box that the helmet came in reads 280 grams (9.8 ounces). I weighed the helmet at a little over 10 ounces for the small/medium size.

The helmet comes with two liners. One is a single mesh insert with permanently attached pads. The other “liner: is a collection of pads that you individually place in the helmet. The mesh insert is incredibly comfortable for my head and fits perfectly. Removing the mesh insert and putting the individual pads in the helmet also is comfortable, but I do prefer the mesh unit. The helmet also comes with three sizing options for the rear retention strap. This is a really nice feature to give a custom fit not found on my current helmets. (Yes I have 3 helmets for various reasons) You really have a nice variety of options for sizing.

The Sterling comes with a “racing 7” retention system, one of 4 retention styles that Rudy Project offers. It is easy to use along with the other adjustment straps. It also has a padded chinstrap and a pad on the rear retention system, a nice touch on the Rudy Project that is absent on the Giro. What I really like about the Rudy Project are the straps. They are very soft and comfortable as opposed to the stiffer straps on the Giro.

I thought that the mesh panel would be hotter than the individual pads, especially when the temperature climbed above 90° F. I tried out the helmet with the mesh liner and the individual pads to see if I detected a heat difference. In my final analysis, I just couldn’t tell the difference. When the temperature is above 90, it is simply hot wearing a helmet. To judge the difference of the 2 insert systems was too difficult to control the variable conditions one encounters when doing an analysis like I tried.

The helmet comes with a nifty bag for storage. It also comes with a visor that I really like. I find that visors do help to minimize precipitation from hitting my face when I commute or travel. Some people feel that the visor provides a bit of shade. The price for the Sterling model on the website is $235, less than the Giro Aeon but more than the Giro Atmos and Pnuemo. With the sizing options and dual pad system you do get a nice helmet for the price.

There are a lot of choices to make when purchasing a helmet, price, weight, comfort, fit and, for warm weather wearing, ventilation are variables one should look for in a helmet. All helmets should meet minimum safety standards and most come with good or very good ventilation. It will be up to you to find the brand that meets the need of your head. The Rudy Project Sterling has lightweight, comfort, a good fit and it is well ventilated to make it a very worthy consideration for your helmet needs.


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