Looking like a stormtrooper, buying British, and extra protection for my noggin are the reasons I was excited to conduct this Ruroc RG1-X helmet review. Both in looks and protection levels the Ruroc is different to the rest of the lids on the market, but does that make it the best snowboarding helmet?
If you have ever seen what appears to be a squad of stormtroopers on snowboards or skis? Don’t worry you have not strayed onto the set of the latest Star Wars movie, you have witnessed a Ruroc flock.
Since they flew onto the scene in 2006, Ruroc helmets have grown in popularity and have a massive following of hardcore fans – often sporting custom paint jobs. But they are divisive, a bit like Marmite it seems you either love them or hate them.
Ruroc RG1-X helmet: What’s in the box
When you buy a Ruroc RG1-X helmet you don’t just get a lid. You get a box load of goodies, the ‘Ruroc system’ aims to keep your head, face and eyes safe and comfortable on the slopes.
Of course the main bit of kit is the lid, the lightweight RG1-X Helmet has a high impact ABS outer shell and EPS liner which has passed both EN 1077 and ASTM F2040 certification. Inside it has comfort padding for optimum fit. It is a full head helmet so covers the back of head down to your neck and covers the ears offering increased protection.
In the box you’ll find a snap-in facemask which is made from high impact ABS plastic to protect your mouth, chin and nose from the elements and anything you crash into. So if you go face first into a rail, tree, rock, another person or just the snow your facemask will come off second best rather than you.
You also get a cool looking RG1-X visor to help keep the glare out of your eyes – particularly useful when not wearing goggles. The visor clips on using a GoPro mount making it easy to get filming without the need to ruin the stylish looks of the Ruroc.
To protect your eyes the helmet come with high quality Ruroc ‘Full-Field’ HG-1 goggles. These are Italian made OTG goggles that have dual-pane lenses and provide 180 degree field of vision. The goggles use interchangeable lenses and Ruroc provide both a black lens and a colour matched iridescent lens. All with a protective goggle bag of course.
To create the distinctive Ruroc look the various ingredients to the Ruroc System are colour matched. I went for the RG1-X Black Ice – Ice cool, which comes in obsidian matte black finish with electric blue highlights. In terms of looks it is one of the best snowboarding helmets I have seen.
But it is not just about looking good, this Ruroc RG1-X helmet review wouldn’t be complete without telling you about the technology Ruroc have incorporated into their lids. The design is unique enough to have been patented, and provides (according to Ruroc) “unparalleled levels of protection on the slopes”.
Their unique antifog technology is used to channel air through the helmet, to ensure the goggles don’t steam up, maintaining perfect vision. It should also help to keep you comfortable by removing heat and sweat. With no area of your head and face exposed, sunburn and goggle tan are a thing of the past, and that nasty cold air will stay away from your delicate face….
Ruroc RG1-X helmet review
I have a 58cm circumference – fairly normal sized – head which falls within the Ruroc M/L size. When it first arrived I pulled the helmet on and it felt snug but pretty comfortable, just like wearing a motorcycle helmet but lighter.
I had a few problems getting the goggles and face mask in place, mainly due to ‘doing the man thing’ and not reading the instructions. Your goggles go on first and then the mask fits over them, I found this a bit annoying as I often take my goggles off on chairlifts.
I spent three days riding in Galtuer in the Austrian Tirol. Conditions ranged from warm and sunny to cold and snowy. I was lucky enough to spend some time in decent powder, on well maintained piste and to hit a couple of kickers in the park – although most of the park was closed due to the amount of snow that had fallen.
Before I started boarding I was already getting annoyed by the facemask. It is not that easy to clip in place – particularly when wearing gloves – and it was just another thing to have to remember and carry around. Once riding it annoyed me that to blow my nose, let some air into my face or even itch my eye I had to unclip the facemask.
Within the first run I realised the facemask sits too close to my face. Although it didn’t bother me to board like that, the inside of the mask is not smooth, I felt like an innocuous face plant could push the ridge from the vent into my chin and lips causing injury where normally there would be none.
With the facemask on the Ruroc also felt slightly tighter around my jaw and the top of my neck, and by lunch time I had a slight red mark where the bottom of the helmet rubbed. In the afternoon I ditched the facemask and was more comfortable – plus able to blow my nose when I wanted to. I also realised how much I like feeling the wind on my face.
I have a fairly big neck – size 18 – which seemed to push the base of the helmet up slightly, tilting the entire helmet forward. This forward inclination made the facemask sit too close to face. The helmet still tilted forward without the facemask, meaning the goggles slipped down my nose impairing my upwards vision.
The antifog technology did a great job. With or without the facemask the goggles never steamed up. However, the airflow through the helmet is not adjustable and I found my head got too hot, particularly at the back of my head which got very sweaty. I have not had this problem with other lids, except in really warm spring conditions, although the Ruroc is the only full head snowboarding helmet I have tried.
Unfortunately for this Ruroc RG1-X helmet review the problems did not stop there. I found that the tight fitting neck restricted how far I could turn my neck, probably by around five to ten degrees.
Even with the goggles 180 degree field of view I could not see as well as normal because the lid limited my movement – certainly not characteristics of the best snowboarding helmet in my opinion.
The goggles are very good, giving a clear view and are really comfy. Although personally I prefer them to be a little taller to give a better view when looking up or down – useful for spotting mates above or below you on steep slopes.
I feel Ruroc have dropped a bit of a clanger with their lens choices. They look very cool, but both are suitable for similar conditions – namely bright light down to mid-light. There is a little variation with the iridescent lens slightly better in lower light, however they should provide one lens for low-light and one for good-light so you have optimal vision whatever conditions you encounter.
Many of the my problems were fit related, so this Ruroc RG1-X helmet review wouldn’t be complete without giving praise where praise is due. The helmet looks different, it turns heads – although mine not enough – all over the mountain. I could hear well, and even with the facemask on people could hear me clearly. Although thankfully I never hit my head it clearly offers additional protection in comparison to most helmets.
After conducting my review I gave my feedback to the Ruroc team. They told me they’re launching an XL size for the 15/16 season to help with the fit issues. They are also looking into different types of plastic that will give more flex to the lower part of the helmet making it less restrictive for those of us with big necks.
Is the Ruroc RG1-X the best snowboarding helmet?
For me the answer to that question is clearly no, but the Ruroc was too small in the neck. With a flock of fans out there many people clearly love the Ruroc lids so I assume it fits them well. This brings me to the conclusion that the best snowboarding helmet is the one that fits you properly.
So if you are thinking of buying Ruroc, be sure to try before you buy. Do plenty of snowboard movements with the full set up in place – they have a very generous returns policy so if it doesn’t fit perfect send it back. The facemask is an extra so think about how often you blow your nose and take your goggles off and whether you like the feel of the wind on your face.
As a big advocate of wearing a helmet for snowboarding I admire what Ruroc have done. They have not only created a helmet that offers greater protection than it’s competitors, but they have made a helmet that looks strikingly different. If this alone makes more people don a lid then hats off to Ruroc.
To conclude this Ruroc RG1-X helmet review, although it looks a bit like a stormtrooper helmet this lid is more like Marmite than Star Wars. As lets face it nearly everyone loves Star Wars, where as Marmite is more of a love, hate relationship.
If you would like to buy a Ruroc helmet the full package costs from £220. To find out more visit: www.ruroc.com