Why You Want
You’re looking for a well-ventilated brain protector that passes all the required impact tests, is easy to adjust, comes in a wide variety of colors and sizes, has a narrow profile, and you can stomach the $230 price tag.
For better or worse, the first thing most people notice about a helmet is how it looks. Some bicycling brain buckets actually look like buckets (a bad thing). Some are more jet-fighter cool. From our looking-in-the-mirror perspective, the Lazer Helium fits into the later category. It has narrow profile that accentuates oval shaped noggins like ours. We also like the fact that it comes in four sizes (S-XL) and 11 colors, including super bright flash yellow and flash orange.
But obviously looks aren’t everything, especially when it comes to bike helmets. The Lazer Helium is also exceptionally easy to adjust via its patented Lazer Rollsys system, which is a dial mechanism located on the top of the helmet. Turn it one way to increase tension; spin it the other direction to back off. This is an especially helpful feature when you’re out on the bike and need to adjust on the fly. For instance you might start a ride with a beanie on, but then take it off and need to snug things up a bit.
The Helium also utilizes what Lazer calls the adjustable rear Rollsys system, which allows you to easily adjust where the Rollsys basket touches the back of your head. You need to take the helmet off to adjust this, but it simple to use otherwise.
Airflow is adequate thanks to 19 vents that run the entire perimeter of the helmet, meaning air can both get in and get out the back. Construction material is dual-density EPS foam that helps keep weight somewhat in check (more on that below). Inside the helmet is the usual X-Static padding, which cuts down on odor and can be removed and washed if things get really stinky. Finally, the straps are easy to adjust, and unlike many cycling helmets, they actually lie flat against your cheeks.
The AquaPad is comfortable on bare skin, but can get in the way of a cycling cap.
The Lazer Helium doesn’t exactly live up to its name when it comes to weight. At 325 grams (size medium), it’s 100 grams heavier than the last helmet we tested, Giro’s top-end Aeon. But honestly, once off the scale and onto our head, we really didn’t notice a significant difference. Remember that 100 grams is about 40 grams less than the iPhone (sans case) in your jersey pocket. And that extra weight helps ensure it passes the stringent CPSC safety standards
We’re also not completely sold on the AquaPad, a gel pad that sits at the front of the helmet and is designed to eliminate forehead hot spots and channel sweat away from your eyes. It’s definitely comfortable on bare skin, but we found it a little bulky when worn with a cycling cap or beanie, and despite those channels, we still managed to get sweat dripping down the front of our face on hot days.
The Helium’s $230 price tag must also be noted. But for better or worse, it’s right in line with other helmets in this high-end space. By comparison, Giro’s Aeon is $250, Specialized’s S Works Prevail is $230, Mavic’s top-end Plasma retails for $220, KASK’s Vertigo is $300, and the Catlike Whisper runs $225.
Points are also deducted for the fact that we struggled to find a vent combination to stash our sunglasses, and instead had to opt for the behind the head method, which worked just fine. And finally we cant pass on judgment on the taillight on our test model because it didn’t work out of the box.
Like most bicycle helmets, the prime rating factors are fashion, fit and function — often in that order. For us, the Lazer Helium gets high marks for fashion and fit, but has a few function issues and isn’t particularly light.
We like the way it looks, and are impressed with its ease of adjustability and ventilation. But we’re not sold on the AquaPad and were disappointed that the taillight on our test model failed right out of the box. Make sure to check before you buy.
Overall Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Price: $230 (four sizes, 11 color options)
More Info: www.LazerSport.com
Here’s a video from PressCamp 2012 that further illustrates all the features of the Lazer Helium helmet.