With great coverage and a solid fit and feel, the new Lazer Z1 helmet is one you’ll love wearing. Although, be warned: your wife might love it even more.
In March, I crashed head-first at 25 miles per hour and walked away. At the time, I joked that my Lazer helmet died so that I may live. Naturally, I mourned its demise, although, let’s face it: helmets are good for one crash only. Upon hearing of my accident, Chris Smith at Lazer was good enough to ship out a brand-new Lazer Z1 helmet for me to review.
The Z1 is the lightest, most sophisticated cycling helmet that the 96-year-old brand has ever produced. At 190 grams, it’s the lightest helmet I’ve ever used, and yet it offers greater surface coverage than most of my other helmets. The coverage is particularly good in the temple area, which is the most likely point of impact in a crash. The helmet is lower over the temples and opens up in the front so it doesn’t sit across your eyebrows.
The solid fit and feel starts with the adjustable head basket that cradles the back of your head securely and comfortably. The biggest difference in this cradle is that the adjustment dial is on top of the helmet instead of at the back of the head, which allows the middle to be left completely open. I’ve used Lazer Helmets for five years and never realized what a HUGE FEATURE this is. I am bald (by choice); however, my wife is not, and when she and her ponytail put this helmet on, I knew she would never let me wear it again.
The adjustment wheel on top of the helmet is the control for the Lazer Advanced Rollsys® fit system. This system adjusts the fit by 360 degrees, unlike most helmets, which only snug up the back half of the helmet. ARS allows you to truly fine-tune the fit with just one finger.
As great as the fit and feel is for me, the difference for a woman is more substantial. This is by no means a gender-specific product, but the design of the fit system will be an especially comfortable design for women or anyone who wears their hair pulled back.
My wife, like me, has several helmets, but she has refused to wear any other helmet since this one has arrived. I told her that she had to let me ride with it first so that I could complete this review, and she was grossed out and afraid that I would “funk it up.” Happily for us both, though, the Lazer Z1 uses the X-Static fibers in the padding, which prevent it from absorbing odors, so it still smelled fine even after I soaked it in sweat.
Lazer has recognized that their design is particularly female-friendly, and has capitalized on it with the MOi! collection. These helmets include more feminine styles as well as maintaining the “ponytail-friendly” designs.
My wife’s enthusiasm aside, do not mistake the Z1 for a “women’s” helmet. It is the chosen protection of the Optum Pro Cycling team (both genders) and the 31-vent design moves a lot of air across your head to to keep you cool. Many modern helmet designers are searching for a more aerodynamic design, and while that shape may prove to be faster in the wind tunnel, it can be detrimental on the road. Bottom line: if you are not moving enough air through the helmet, you’ll overheat, which leads to slow-down.
So what about shorter races where you would like to have the aerodynamic advantage? The Lazer Z1 is available with an optional Aeroshell. This lightweight piece clips over the helmet and covers all of the vents, turning it into an aero helmet. It is also great for cold days, as it help keep warm air in.
At $270, the Lazer helmet isn’t cheap, but it is consistent in price with other top-of-the-line offerings. And, having walked away from a potentially debilitating crash thanks to my dearly departed Lazer, I consider that is a small price to pay.
Styling: 4 stars
Performance: 5 stars
Comfort: 5 stars
Value: 4 stars
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