Great Head: Lazer’s Helium
Lazer have been Belgian head-cases for quite a while. The company have been at it since 1919 and are the oldest head guys in continuous business.
Also well known on the Moto side of things, their cycling products have gone from Eurocentric to world-wide popularity in the last decade and have continued with a safety first (and second) approach to design. That’s still the case with the newest road lid, The Helium.
Think back a half dozen years and the gripes you would hear about Lazer were not big in number, but about big numbers. The helmets were heavier than a few other top brands flagship race products. It’s a subject Lazer very simply didn’t worry much about though as the weights were still very competitive and the designs remained safety focused.
Lazer have maintained their focus and still want the “est” at the end of the word “safe” rather than “light”.
The structure for the Helium is familiar for the most part. You’ll note the two different colors of EPS material inside.
That represents two different densities of foam placed strategically to allow for a more head/brain friendly method of absorbing impact. While it’s primarily a safety thing, this has also helped shed a few grams as the lower density foam is also a bit lighter.
You might also note pretty reasonable channeling inside.
Lazer have further optimized their venting patterns across virtually the entire range and it’s an improvement over the past couple of years.
Lazer’s helmets always provided “good” airflow but most players in cycling have upped the cooling and for those that have used Lazer products in the past, you’ll note a bit more air flow versus older models.
Lazer continue with the popular and effective X-static padding inside.
The big plus here being the antimicrobial and sweat wicking properties of one of the better fabrics created by Noble Biomaterials. There’s more to the design than just the silver content here and it really is fantastic, way beyond the stink killing.
One area that no longer gets the X-static fabric though is the forehead pad on the Rollsys retention system.
What was once a standard X-static pad is now soft, grippy “Aquapad”.
This is a product called Technogel (from Technogel Italia) that has the feel of a liquid but is actually a solid in the form of stable Polyurethane that, when held in larger quantities in your hand feels not unlike a high quality breast implant.
While many men’s minds are now running through multiple crash scenarios involving large breasts, the two big characteristics for Technogel in forming Lazer’s Aquapad are that it is both soft/shape conforming and it’s an excellent heat conductor (boobs are insulators guys… get your minds back in the game).
As you probably know, the Rollsys retention system’s differentiating feature versus virtually all competitors is that it doesn’t hold your head in place by simply smashing your forehead into the front of the helmet.
Instead the Rollsys forms a ring around your head, holding it securely in place while kind of floating in space rather than pushing it against the hard EPS foam at the front of helmets.
The Aquapad forms a soft but very secure seal at your forehead.
But beyond the security, this material is fantastic in general use.
That soft seal around your forehead acts as a VERY effective sweat seal as well. It channels sweat away from your eyes and eyewear back to your temples.
And while the use of other forms of rubbery material might also act like a sweat blocker, they wouldn’t shed heat like Technogel. The Aquapad doesn’t actually cool your head, but it doesn’t retain heat much either.
Another cooling benefit is in Lazer’s shaping the front to grab and concentrate a bit more air flow right at the middle of the forehead…
The Rollsys already accommodated virtually all shapes of heads (again because it doesn’t smash your head forward, where your head needs to match the shape of the foam for comfort) and the Aquapad is a great addition to the system.
The rest of the Rollsys is well thought out. The portion of the system that hugs the back of your head is height adjustable…
The one downside being that this cradle is large enough that it will interfere with trying to wear a cycling cap backwards… It really does take up more surface area than a few other top lids.
Another plus though is that this is the easiest helmet retention system on the market to adjust in small or large increments simply by turning an easy to find dial on the top.
Zero issues adjusting this with gloves…
And Lazer have integrated the slickest rear safety light going.
The use and maintenance of the light is a quick and easy.
Just push the end to activate the light (solid-on, or Flashing). And you simply pop the front lens cover off and out comes the battery and bulb. Replacement takes seconds.
The rest of the construction is typical Lazer.
There is an internal skeleton for the helmet that acts to hold the entire thing together. The image below is actually the Nirvana helmet’s “spine” but the nylon unit in the Helium is the same basic principal.
The rest of the shell is a hard composite and carbon weave that acts (as with most helmets) as a penetration shield (your head deceleration is handled by the foam…).
Lastly, thin is in today with regard to straps and Lazer’s version are actually silk and softer than some other synthetic materials being used. Caterpillar goo… Very strong/ very soft…
On the road, the most substantial change / advantage for the new Helium is the Aquapad, resulting in much improved sweat handling combined with a more secure fit.
It’s nice to roll around in 80-90 degree heat (early Arizona Spring…) and have relatively dry brows, no stinging eyes and clear lenses on your glasses. And the extra grip of the Aquapad means once it’s in place, there is none of the slight shifting on my head that happens with most helmets.
Because of the Aquapad, I find the best thing to wear under the helmet is nothing at all. No cap, no rag, just clean airflow right on my bean.
Up-rated ventilation (with or without a cap) now makes for a better ride experience in the heat as well.
Part of that might just be that a dryer face (with sweat redirected by the Aquapad) makes for a cooler feel, but I think there is clearer venting / air channeling front to back on the latest edition in the line.
The new lid weighs in at 315 grams (MED). Available now at an SRP of $230.
Have a look at Lazer Sport’s web site for a bit more info.
Thanks for reading,
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