UK-based helmet manufacturer Ruroc has been kind enough to punt one of their RG-1 snowsports helmets across the Atlantic to my mobile HQ, and in the limited edition “Venom” green-on-black color scheme no less.
After a few days of testing in a variety of conditions, I’m happy to report the headline I’m sure Ruroc’s PR department was hoping for: I love it!
Check out my open-box impressions below, then I’ll get into the details of on-snow usage.
As you saw, Ruroc does it right straight out of the box.
Beautiful packaging, premium build quality, and heaps of stickers will have a new purchaser nodding in approval before he or she even puts the thing on. If that’s not enough to make you smile, the “Made In England” stamp inside the lid certainly will. This helmet is built where it’s designed- no outsourcing to enslaved kids in Molvania for this company.
You’ve gathered by now that the look is polarizing. If the mirrored lens didn’t make enough of a statement, that solid face shield and textured matte black finish will have Stormtroopers saluting and kids running to their mama (this helmet is probably not the best choice for on-duty ski instructors).
On one test day I was told I looked like Darth Vader by no less than three lifties, although if I were inclined to get nerdy up in here I’d reckon the RG-1 looks a lot more like the Imperial Endor Scout helmet.
In any case, the perpetually-expressionless look afforded by this helmet lets you be The Stig of the mountain- for the full effect, move your head very slowly and don’t answer questions with anything but a nod.
Okay, so it looks hardcore. But how good is it really?
At first I was a bit skeptical. I’ve seen guys wearing full-face Downhill MTB helmets and they look like dorks. The giant chin-protector makes their head look disproportionately huge and is so far away from the face that there’s no way it can do anything for wind deflection.
But the RG-1 is different. The face shield is tight enough to your face to block wind and impact, and gives you that “locked-in” feeling I’m used to in my sport motorcycle helmets without the added heft.
It’s comfortable too. The helmet’s shell, which carries about forty stamps of approval and as many safety ratings, is quite thick and tall. But if that doesn’t describe your head shape, Ruroc has been foresightful enough to supply plenty of extra pads for you to shape the lid’s interior to your needs.
Some users have complained that the Ruroc helmet system only works with their house-brand goggles. Well they shouldn’t, because the included eyewear is top-notch. Interchangeable lens, incredible peripheral vision and perfect fitment with the helmet make them the only choice for an RG-1 wearer.
And on impact? Come on, I ride like a maniac… everybody knows I couldn’t go that long without a nasty prang to the head. Which is why I’ve had to wait until today to write a full review.
With my speed Völkls freshly waxed and serious tailwinds blowing skiers and snow downhill in a hurry, today was perfect for a top-speed test… which I realized afterwards would actually be my helmet test.
Going full noise down the Cornice Bowl, one of the steeper offerings at Mammoth Mountain, I found myself baring down on a patch of rocks that I really didn’t want to subject my new wax job to. Thinking I could change direction more effectively than I could hop the obstacle I banked too hard and proceeded to catch an edge, tossing me on to the icy surface like the first pawn eliminated from a tense chess game.
My head and hips met the ground like old friends and I slid at least ten meters toward the bottom.
But with my head encapsulated by the RG-1 and lower body protected by Demon Flex-Force shorts (reviewed here) I was able to hop up and power on as soon as gravity showed me a little mercy and arrested my slide.
In the flurry of snow and limbs that resulted from the crash I can’t really tell you if my face hit the ice or not, but I can tell you the only thing giving me a headache at the end of the day was the Skillrex Pandora station I was rocking out to on my bus ride home.
The Ruroc RG-1 is solid as the third little piggy’s house, believe that. But like everything else it ain’t perfect. It’s not nearly as warm as it looks, and wind whips through the vents quite easily. Luckily you can rectify that with a baklava, hat or kafia underneath. On really windy days you’ll have to stuff something between the opening under the front of the face shield and your skin, or your face will sting after your first chairlift ride.
It’s also somewhat inconvenient for the everyday skier. Headphones are impossible to reach if they get jostled out of your ears, CamelBak tubes are tough to get to and is a little awkward to have a conversation with any cuties you might meet on the chairlift when you look like you’re about to go break up a riot. So the RG-1 probably isn’t something you’d ski or board in every time you hit the snow- but it definitely can’t be bested for those top-speed test days, video sessions or park workouts when you want to go hard and can’t be bothered socializing.
Starting at $260 US this unit isn’t cheap either. But since that figure includes a helmet, facemask and goggle set, all made in Europe, the price starts to look pretty reasonable.
The RG-1 is available in ton of color combinations, and the modular nature of the helmet allows you to plug-and-play with the style to your hearts content.
And if you want to see the thing in action, here’s a quick clip I grabbed before I had to retreat to the bar from the day’s obnoxious wind.