Lazer’s stylish Coyote helmet brings the brand’s best protection features at a more affordable price... twigs not included
Like the best mountain bike helmets on the market, Lazer’s new Coyote helmet uses something more than just EPS to protect your head in the event of a crash. Like the flagship Lazer Jackal model it’s based on, the Coyote features KinetiCore, designed to slow down the forces from rotational impacts or glancing blows, much like MIPS.
he results are presumably very good too, as this Coyote has a prestigious 5-star safety rating from the Virginia Tech Helmet Lab (a highly respected US-based independent test facility).
The latest Coyote model then is essentially a cheaper version of the Jackal, which means it’s an extended coverage trail/enduro helmet using a proprietary KinetiCore design. For £80 less cash, the only features it omits are a more angular shape, some rubberised goggle grippers, action cam mount and a carry bag.
Design and specifications
There are a lot of features here for a helmet costing under £80, including a magnetic chinstrap clasp and rear retention dial (both easy to adjust one-handed with gloves on) and chin straps tuneable for ear clearance via small clasps.
Lazer’s rear ‘TurnSys’ retention wheel tightens a flexible band fully wrapping the skull (not just the sides) over a broad height range. You can precisely dial the rear wheel position via a ratchet ladder mechanism for secure fit, and while the rear cradle doesn’t have any padding like some rivals, it’s well-shaped and perfectly comfortable.
The Coyote’s outer shell has big vents and exhaust ports, including 3 large holes just above the brow. This forehead zone is critical for cooling, and the triple vents are also cut away on the inside to help channel air and aid heat management when working hard. Lazer’s minty green internal padding is thick and the Coyote uses a really broad padded panel that covers most of the crown of the head towards the front of the helmet.
The Coyote peak has three manually adjustable height positions, but I had an issue with the security of each snap-in-place setting that I’ll get to later. Behind the visor, it’s great for this much cash that the smooth, sculpted, outer fully wraps the EPS (expanded polystyrene) to prevent against knocks and dents.
It’s evident in this EPS area where KinetiCore differs from most with the Coyote interior lined by a series of moulded tiny blocks and shapes. Lazer calls these raised shapes ‘controlled crumple zones’, with the idea the little pieces can twist and deform to better protect your head and redirect impact energy. The design is pretty low profile, but it’s hard to know for sure whether each block sitting a few mm proud of the main internal dish makes the Coyote slightly less low profile overall than a thin slip plane MIPS helmet – I’m no scientist, but it seems logical that the closer to your skull a helmet can be (and the closer the mass is to the centre of the rider’s head), the less rotational forces will be sustained in an impact.
If the first thing you’re wondering is whether you can feel the little KinetiCore shapes on the inside; I definitely couldn’t. The Coyote is very comfortable with those thick absorbent pads and a retention system that sits securely and doesn’t dig or press in anywhere.
Even with all the big vents, the helmet runs a bit hotter than some equivalents; mainly focussed on the area of thick internal padding. I reckon this is due to the padding patch (rather than thinner strips) covering a big area on the top of your scalp, rather than any issue with the outer shell vents. It gets hot and sweaty around the hair line working hard, but it’s only really an issue on warmer days and I like how the thicker padding gives that comfy 360-degre, locked-in, feel a bit like a Troy Lee A1.
Lazer’s chinstrap adjusters are occasionally noticeable nudging the jaw line while riding, but way more obtrusive is my major Coyote bugbear. On rough DH/Enduro trails, the 3-position visor continually jiggled down to its lowest position and bang into the line of sight. This wouldn’t be quite so annoying if the low setting didn’t really encroach on forward vision on steeper/faster trails where you really have to look far ahead.
As it simply wouldn’t stay put while out riding (there’s no Allen key bolt to tune visor tension) I fashioned a trail side fix using twigs to keep it pointed up (see the photos) – and, yes, I know that looks sketchy, but it seemed less so than not being able to see where I was going at speed. This issue could have been a one-off with my sample, but was a real shame when Lazer’s Coyote is good quality and well sorted in every other area.
If Lazer sorts out the unstable visor issue of continually tipping down into rider’s field of view, this Coyote would make an excellent feature-packed trail helmet at an affordable price, but having an unstable peak proved a bit of a dealbreaker for me.