Feb 9, 2015
article & images by Nick Salazar
Once just an apparel brand, Louis Garneau is beginning to take the tri world by storm. From jerseys and bibs, they've moved into helmets, footwear, and even complete bicycles! We saw their new tri bike effort at Interbike this year, and have reviewed several other products of theirs in the past, like the excellent P-09 Aero helmet. Today we focus on three new products from the veteran brand, including their much-lauded Course aero road helmet, as well as the new TRI-400 shoes, and most interestingly the brand new, very cool mid-sleeve M-2 Tri Suit!
M-2 Tri Suit
Okay, this is just awesome. Mid-sleeve speedsuits have generally been the exclusive purview of the road TT'er, but no longer. Although LG isn't the first brand to release a tri-spefic mid-sleever, I daresay theirs might be the best. This one is based off of their AMAZING Course skin suit, which features a unique integrated bibshort construction. It's basically a full bibshort + jersey integrated together, in a way unlike traditional suits. Check the gallery for exactly how that works. The tri chamois is decidedly easier to run in than the road suit (which chafed me a bit on the run), the suit fits beautifully, the suit is finished off with laser-cut hems, and high-end textured fabrics abound. My only complaint is that the only pockets here are two tiny little flaps on the bib straps of the suit, which are very small, and require you to unzip the suit almost all the way to access. I'd have loved it if they ALSO included the floating pockets found on the Course Skin Suit, which were minimal but very useful (and couldn't have been too much of an aero penalty). Maybe for the M-3!
Course aero road helmet
The Course Helmet is a very simple, straightforward lid from Garneau. Basically, it takes the required characteristic of a standard road lid - vents - and pairs that with the concept of low frontal area and smooth trailing edges. The result is a helmet that looks quite simple, without any drills or aesthetic flourishes, but manages to put up significantly better drag numbers than a traditional road helmet. This guy won't offer nearly the drag savings of Garneau's own P-09, or other pure aero lids, but can be a nice compromise for those athletes wanting something in the middle. It's certainly a lot easier to live with on a daily basis, although as an 'aero' road helmet, I'd have loved to see LG integrate its visor solution here, just as Giro did on the Air Attack helmet.
And here's LG's top-end triathlon shoe offering, the TRI-400. Don't be fooled by the gloss red finish - these aren't made by Specialized. Things I love: the BOA lower closure, the very nice, tight fit, the stiff carbon sole, and the huge heel loop for pulling the shoe on. Things I'm not too fond of: the reverse-closure strap (I generally prefer standard closure). I'd love to see the upper strap replaced with a second BOA (which would make it basically a tongueless version of LG's own Air Lite shoes). In the end, my complaint about the strap is pretty minimal; these shoes are great, and would serve you well on race day. They don't quite have the novelty of something like the Specialized S-Works Trivent (with that shoe's open heel construction). These shoes instead are basically a consolidation of best practices in the industry for what a tri shoe should be. At $325 however, they're really pricey, so you'll want to see them in person and make sure they fit before pulling the trigger.