There were more helmets at Eurobike than you could shake the proverbial stick at.
We zoomed in on new offerings from three of the bigger brands: two well established, and the third bidding to make a mark with a striking design and radically different design philosophy.
Here’s a detailed look at two new helmets each from Belgian brand, Lazer, Italian outfit, LAS, and Swedish firm, POC.
The new flagship road lid for Lazer, the Z1 tips the scales at a claimed 220 grams, and meets the three leading safety standards, in keeping with the Belgian brand’s ‘one helmet for the world’ philosophy.
The lower temple panels, a design known to Lazer as ‘T Pro’ (or ‘temple protection’), is designed to prevent injuries around the eye, occasionally seen in the UCI WorldTour (Mark Cavendish’s crash on sta three of the 2011 Tour Down Under, for example).
Lazer’s signature crown-mounted adjustment system (‘Rollsys’) is present and correct on the Z1, as is the five-point adjustment harness seen on the majority of its range.
Another Lazer signature – the ‘spoiler’ effect created from the moulding at the rear of the helmet – is also in evidence on the Z1, although we’d imagine the downforce generated is negligible.
It’s compatible with Lazer’s detachable aeroshell, and with their Magneto glasses: eyewear that attaches via magnets on the helmet straps. A second set of magnets (or ‘docking port’, in Lazer-speak) can be attached to the rear of the helmet, keeping the front free for ventilation.
Lazer’s UK distributor, Madison, has yet to receive a Sterling price on the Z2, but expect it to be around the £200 mark. Delivery is expected in the early part of next year.
POC Octal and Octal Aero
Young Swedish brand, POC, unveiled its striking new Octal road helmet at Eurobike, one claimed to have resulted from a different design philosophy to its competitors.
While almost all cycle helmets have a reinforcing roll cage buried in the polystyrene shell, the strength of POC’s lid comes from what the brand’s man on the stand described as an exoskeleton (think grasshoppers, snails, and such creatures whose strengthening resource is on the outside).
How does it work here? The plastic outer shell provides the strength and rigidity of the helmet, rather than a roll cage, a feature surplus to requirements with POC’s design. It’s absence is a key contributor to a weight of 190 grams.
The absence of a roll cage also boosts ventilation stats which POC claim beat the number one and two best selling helmets by 27 and 21 per cent respectively. How? No roll cage cross members means a greater volume of air can be channelled, in this case through 18 vents (the high numbers of vents in rival lids are the result of necessity, rather than choice, say POC).
Further advantages? POC claim the exoskeleton design allows them to use a lighter density foam which ‘activates’ (is compressed, essentially) at significantly lower impacts than the minimum required by the three leading safety standards (North America, Europe, and Australia).
Like Lazer’s Z1, temple protection is a key consideration for the Octal, which takes its name partly from ocular lobe. POC say it achieves this with a position that sits low on the head. We’ll be finding out shortly when one arrives at RCUK Towers for test. Watch this space.
The retention system appears to be one of the few conventional features of the Octal, with a dial adjuster at the back: one that POC say delivers 60mm of adjustment around the head, and 45mm of up-and-down adjustment.
There’s an aero version too: the aptly named, Octal Aero. The smooth shell, say POC is the result of billions of computer generated iterations, that revealed a ‘stagnation point’ for the air passing over the lid. Dimples (see Zipp’s carbon wheels, for example) are a common solution, but POC believe puling air through the vent is a more effective solution. Its 13 grams heavier than the Octal, so 203 grams.
The Octal will cost £210, and the Octal Aero will cost £225.
LAS Victory Supreme Fortieth Anniversary Edition and Victory Vento
The Italian brand will celebrate its fortieth birthday next year, and will launch a limited edition helmet in celebration.
The Victory Supreme is LAS’ top-tier helmet, and each of the fortieth anniversary models sold will carry its own unique identifying number.
It has a carbon cage, an aluminium adjustment dial, and nylon straps especially ironed to create greater softness.
A magnetic buckle is used to allow opening with just two fingers, LAS claim. The padding is impregnated with eucalyptus oil, providing a natural antibacterial agent.
Unlike many brands claiming a European heritage, LAS hold production in their country of origin: in this case, the north Italian province of Bergamont.
LAS also showed an aero helmet: a smooth-shelled version of the second-tier Victory (he same in every regard as the Victory Supreme with the exception of the carbon cage) – the Victory Vento.