It's the first full face helmet to score full marks in Virginia Tech's prestigious helmet lab tests, but how does it score for comfort, ventilation and performance?
Lazer’s all-new full-face helmet uses a fibreglass shell with carbon fibre reinforcements and clocks in at under 900g in a size large, which is bang on the money compared to leading rivals. It’s touted as suitable for both downhill and enduro (rather than just the latter), and is the first ever full face to score a maximum 5/5 protection rating in Virginia Tech’s prestigious helmet lab tests in the US.
The safety headline here is Lazer’s own Kineticore technology, which is the result of 10 year’s work developing fully integrated rotational impact protection. The design saves weight and uses less plastics than previous generation solutions, with Kineticore using up to 100g less plastic than previously.
The key to the system are unique crumple zones (blocky shapes and pyramids or cones cut directly into the EPS liner) to ‘minimise both direct and rotational energy that can affect your brain during impact’. Like vehicle crumple zones, they’re designed to buckle in the event of direct or rotational impact, redirecting energy away from the brain. The pointy EPS also has deep ventilation channels running through it to refresh the head.
Lazer’s Cage shell has two massive air intakes on the forehead, big open vents on the chinguard and a grilled mouthpiece. This chinguard is a bit more flexible and twisty than others on test, and the underside of the Cage’s brow has exposed polystyrene; an area stones can often fire up into and dent.
Inside the fibreglass shell, quality, comfy and absorbent inner pads sit directly on Lazer’s funky-looking spiked interior and there’s a well-positioned neck roll. Main pads are fixed by small Velcro pads with sticky backs that remained in place during testing. But in our experience, these little glued pads can often lose effectiveness over time once sweat repeatedly penetrates the glue.
Five sizes ensure good fit, but there’s no retention system if you need to tune the sizing for different head shapes. This might be a consequence of Lazer not wanting to use excessive amounts of plastic, and a side benefit is excellent air flow; with no plastic webbing getting hot against the scalp, the Cage’s cooling is right up there with the best and ideal for all-day pedalling.
Unfortunately, the lack of a tensioning band was detrimental to helmet stability. There was very little side-to-side movement, but the Cage feels like it needs something to cinch into the back of the skull to stop it tipping fore and aft. Through the roughest tracks when the bike is working overtime and you’re nodding like a dog, it has a tendency to rock back and forth.
At its worst, the front of the Lazer’s helmet wriggled down and pressed onto the top of our goggles, pushing them down the nose.
This is a shame as the comfort, ventilation and looks are otherwise sorted, and who can argue with Lazer’s ambition to make a more planet-friendly full-face helmet.
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Sorted comfort, ventilation and looks are all plus points, and it scores highly for protection. However, stability isn't great with too much movement fore and after and side-to-side for our liking.