What's Cool In Road Cycling

LAZER Z1+LifeBEAM: Heart Sensing Head Gear

We review the Lazer Z1+LifeBEAM helmet, a cooperative effort from Lazer and LifeBEAM, two companies that make things for people that go much-much faster than a bicycle… Lazer are at home at 200+ MPH on moto helmets and LifeBEAM’s head gear additions travel around at speeds that start with the word “Mach”, which is fairly quick…

Lazer have been making great head gear for 97 years…

97… A relatively long time compared to the other folks in the bike helmet game. Pick three other top helmet brands and their combined ages might be close.

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In fairly stark contrast, LifeBEAM are a bit younger organization than Lazer, but like Lazer, who started in motorcycle helmets, LifeBEAM also started in an area where the required level of protection is a lot higher than what is required in cycling.

LifeBEAM make wearable human data acquisition for astronauts and fighter pilots and this information is also highly applicable to endurance sport.

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For the Z1, LifeBEAM concentrate on heart rate

Within cycling, the benefit of Lazer’s years in both motorsport and cycling play out with high level head protection in the form of the latest edition Z1.

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The first priority of a helmet is protection and Lazer have always been among the sturdiest, coverage focused lids on the market. The Z1 keeps this tradition rolling with very good rear protection and additional temple area coverage…

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Most of the other helmets in the house have a coverage that ends roughly where the red line above runs. While that might help shave a few grams, I’ve come to prioritize my skin and bones more than the battery life of my gram scale.

This temple area is not a small detail… I have seem multiple head injuries as friends have crashed and instinctively turn their heads as they go down, resulting in injuries right where Lazer added shell and foam on the Z1. I was sent a picture of a friend on Facebook (Hi Craig T:)) literally a couple days ago where he was cut right where this structure is added.

While the shell shape is notable for safety, it’s pretty useless if it’s not secured on your head in the correct position… And the security and comfort of Lazer’s retention systems have been trend setters for the industry.

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Most all other retention systems use the back portion of the retention system to push your head into the front / forehead area of the helmet. The Rollsys retention system differs from most others because it draws the entire retention system (Green lines) together and centers your head away from almost all of the shell (red lines).

It’s easily adjustable (tight or loose) with a simple turn of the wheel on top of the helmet…

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Helmet shape is a big deal for most people because your head gets smashed forward into that shape… The Rollsys system will simply conform to most normal head shapes, slightly suspending your head away from most of the shell AND I think it feels more secure.

While no two accidents in the real world are the same, I have crashed other helmets and had them shift on my head, but I have never had a Rollsys helmet move in an accident.

The back of the helmet also adjusts for depth.

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But what’s notable here as well are deeper vent channels that are open and linked together for very good flow as well as a more open rear design for exhausting hot air.

Many companies tout the number of vents, but the quantity of vents is simply not as important as the channeling between vents and the ability for air to move through the helmet and out the back…

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Lazer stepped up development in ventilation, using updated flow testing to shed heat, sweat AND the reputation for not venting quite as well as the absolute best in class helmets.

pro-TECH-tion…

The Addition of the LifeBEAM units to the Genesis and Z1 are a great upgrade.

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You’ll cut the brow sensor to size (at the indicated notches!)…

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(for a medium, the standard fabric brow pad let me know that making the cut made sense for this size)

You’ll snap in the correct mount at the back of the helmet… (shown are both the LifeBEAM and rear LED mounts)

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You’ll run the wire from the brow unit through the center channel and under the mid/back pad…

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And straight out the back of the helmet…

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Where you’ll plug into the transmitter unit that is snugged inside a rubber …

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Once it’s all mounted up, pairing takes all of a couple of seconds…

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Unless…

Unless you want your little LED rear light too.

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If you’re like me, you want that little red flasher helping to keep you safe as much as you want to record your heart rate… In fact, you want a few red flashers, so that you reduce the chances of the LifeBEAM recording your last heartbeat before you get run over by a truck.

So…

You’ll grab a zip tie that is small enough to thread through the rubber loops of the LifeBEAM mount and loop it through the hole just off to the side of the LED mount.

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You’ll be very careful not to damage the EPS liner and you’ll bend a small/ thin piece of plastic from your daughters toy wrapper around the inside of the foam and tighten the zip tie just enough to hold the unit in place (it is very light and requires very little tension). And that will be that…

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Of course this also occurred to Lazer. And if you have a little patience, they have a combination mount that will be available very shortly.

ON THE ROAD

I don’t think I’ve put much thought into it before now, but I can’t think of another item used by so many people that is also disliked by every single person using it… But with that said, I know of no person that likes a chest strap.

Chest straps suck. (Even great units like Wahoo’s Tickr X that do massively more than anyone could imagine). But the mounting of that wearable also sucks as much as most other units.

There are some folks making shirts and bras with integrated measuring units, but they suck in different ways because of washing etc.

The LifeBEAM helmet system does not suck… In fact, I don’t even know I’m using it, which is the Holy Grail of on-body measurement.  It tracks heart rate as well as any chest strap / body mounted piece of kit and better that most of the wrist mounted trackers that can sometimes be finicky.

Transmitting in Bluetooth and Ant+, the unit speaks to your other geek bits just like any other tracker. In fact, you can purchase a hat or visor and swap the little box over for use.

Battery (lithium poly) life is very good for something this tiny and light.   The unit has a life averaging better than the 15 hours it’s suggested to last. It’s also USB rechargeable and seems to work with virtually all of the USB charge ports I have (I have not timed it to see how long a recharge takes).

The whole kit swap adds just 43 grams to a helmet (MUCH better than the early versions of this tech which had a helmet weighing better than 400 grams).

Perhaps the best part of this is that the LifeBEAM portion of this basically disappears after install.

All you’re left with is an outstanding Z1 helmet that has very good ventilation (the best yet for any Lazer product, capable of dealing with Arizona’s triple digits). The updated channeling and vent pattern simply works very well and this despite the added protection especially around the temples.

The weight for the unit is also relatively low at 278 grams.

This is solid construction with a Polycarbonate shell and an RBS Internal skeletal structure that reinforces the EPS foam.

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You really want your helmet to stay on your head in a crash and you also want as much of the shell and foam to stay together as possible. This internal structure helps things stay put for more protection in the follow up (2nd – 3rd) impacts that can happen in a crash…

The LED light is something you’re seeing more of and honestly I can’t think of any reason for every helmet produced today to not have this feature (in the form of a removable/replaceable light). Safety is too critical and the cost is too little for responsible helmet makers to skip this feature.

That this all comes with a heart monitor (add 43 grams) mounted in a form and fashion that you don’t know it’s there is a hell of a bonus (I believe Lazer will offer mounts for the Lifebeam unit on other models as well).

You can:
• See the full line from Lazer at: https://www.lazersport.com/
Shop for a Lazer Z1 here.

Have Fun,
Charles Manantan
[email protected]


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PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products you see here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper / safe use, handling, maintenance and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

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