A few weeks back I picked up a navy blue Gait Helmet, tried it out and offered up my product review, which can be found right here, and got a LOT of feedback. Most of the feedback related to how downright ugly the Gait helmets were and although I disagreed with some of the statements, Gait seems to have been listening because they unveiled a completely redesigned helmet last Satruday as UVA took the field against Cornell.
Gait/DeBeer was obviously bummed as Cornell bounced the Wahoos because the helmet would get that much less exposure [no Monday game!] but I noticed the change right away and figured the very least I could do would be to reach out the you, the Laxnation, and get your feelings on the new look!
My thoughts are still being formulated but I’ll let you know exactly how I’m leaning… for now:
Gait was smart in that they clearly based the appearance of the helmet on Cascade’s VERY successful ‘C’ Series of helmet. I actually did a sort of double take when I first saw them but just couldn’t believe that Gait would allow their marquee sponsorship program to change helmet companies on the most visible weekend of the year. That’s how similar the two helmets look. However, there are some obvious differences and from what I can see they relate to the following: Size and shape of the earholes and vents: Gait has done a good job of adding additional vents behind the ears. The vents are rounder and look slightly bigger which will be nice in the summer but could be cooooold in the winter. Maybe wear a hat?!?! The sizing and adjustment mechanism is different as well. Brine has experimented with cloth or vinyl “straps” as a sizing mechanism and it looks like Gait is giving it a shot now. The locking system in their last helmet, while innovative to an extent, did not provide the range in sizing some consumers were looking for. Personally, I would have liked a size between two of the preset sizes to really get the helmet to fit correctly so hopefully, the “straps” will fix this issue.
The chin piece and visor are very similar to the Cascade helmets and the facemask looks to made of very thin metal [nice!] and leave a lot of room for the eyes [also impressive]. Gait actually seems to have the edge on Cascade in that category although it is hard to say without actually trying the helmet [Hint, Hint! Gait, send me a helmet so I can do a full review!]
On a pure style front, I was not a huge fan of the 100% Orange helmet. Gait doesn’t have all Orange gloves or arm pads or sticks or short or jerseys or anything… so why an all Orange helmet? it just didn’t fit with their new uniforms at all. The Chin piece CLEARLY should have been White or Navy. The absolute LEAST they could have done would have been to put a Navy sticker across the back of the helmet.
Do I have some concerns about the new helmet? Of course I do but we must remember this is the first edition of the new Gait helmet and maybe they deserve some time to figure it out. I would expect that the product they offer next season to the rest of us will be even better than this iteration. Their last two helmets never really caught on so hopefully for Gait/DeBeer they can make this one work because the rest of their products [especially the Torque and Triton] are top notch.