That said, the Antwerp-based company have only been making bike helmets since 1987, largely because before then most riders didn’t bother with helmets at all so there wasn’t a market for them. Plus advances in technology have meant that the plastic moulded lids we have today just weren’t possible back then – hence why the leather sausage helmet ruled all. In that 28-year period, Lazer have learned a considerable amount, but they aren’t a company to dwell on previous successes and they’re still right on the cutting edge in technological terms. In the last 18 months they’ve released a couple of fantastic and futuristic features in the LifeBeam – heart rate monitoring technology that works through the helmet – and the orientation gauge in the Wasp TT lid, which tells the rider whether their head is in aerodynamically optimal position while they’re riding.
While traditionalists might argue that those features are far from necessary, it’s great to see a company that aren’t afraid to push the boundaries because, ultimately, it’s thinking like that which will see the next genuine leap in helmet design.
Still, Lazer have a broad range and, despite its sleek look, the Blade is actually one of Lazer’s cheapest road-dedicated lids, coming in at a very reasonable £60. That said, it’s been heavily modeled on the top-of-the-range Z1, and you could be forgiven for assuming that, on looks alone, the RRP would be considerably higher.
Like all of their helmets, the Blade features Lazer’s own Advanced Rollsys (ARS) retention system, which is adjusted from the crown of the helmet rather than the back of the head. It’s a neat system, and one that’s very easy to operate with one hand, and either hand at that. You just push the roller to the right or left to tighten or loosen.
Inside there’s a slightly different mechanism as well. When you tighten the retention system on most other helmets, the retention system is attached to the inside of the helmet about two thirds of the way forward on both sides. When you tighten the ratchet, it works by effectively pushing the front of your head into the front of the helmet to achieve the tight but comfortable fit everybody’s after. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that, but it means that comfort will rely on the padding on the forehead being to your liking. But Lazer’s ARS tightens around the head, rather than forcing the head into the outer shell of the helmet. Flip the helmet over and it’s easy to see. It’s smart, and something I’ve enjoyed from using Lazer helmets in the past. Another of the bonuses of the ARS is that it cuts down on the bulk at the back of the head and, as Lazer point out, means that the inverted ‘U’ shape at the rear make their helmets ideal for anyone who rides with a ponytail. Plus you get five different positions for the rear cradle, which is impressive for any helmet, let alone one this cheap.
The claimed weight for the Blade is 240g for a medium, very competitive for a £60 lid. Fortunately, for the sake of comparison, our test sample was a medium as well, and when we placed it on the scales of truth it came out at an impressive 234g, pleasantly light for the price point, and reasonably light for a helmet in general. Having said that, I can’t stress enough how weight shouldn’t really be the dominant factor in your helmet choice. Unless it’s heavy enough to cause neck ache, which few modern lids are, comfort is the absolute number one priority. I’ve ridden in a huge number of different helmets over the years, and it’s remarkable the variation that you can get. There’s a limited amount you can learn from standing in a shop and putting one on, but you’ll immediately weed out any that simply don’t suit your head shape saving yourself a wasted trip to return it.
In use, there’s almost nothing on which I could fault the Blade. In back-to-back rides in similar conditions with the Z1 there’s honestly very little between the two. The 60g or so weight difference is almost imperceptible and the main dividing feature would be the ventilation. The Blade is by no means poorly ventiliated, but I did find my head heating up a bit more than its exalted sibling (the Z1 has 31 vents to the Blade’s 22). The Z1 obviously has a few more fancy features too, like the Rigidity Brace System, but if you’re not looking to drop £200 on a new helmet then the Blade will do very nicely indeed.
The straps are reasonably comfortable, and the dividers work well, making it easy to get a snug fit. There isn’t too much left over when you’ve chosen your desired strap length as well which is one of those things that always irritates me. There’s no way you should end up with three inches of spare strap, unless there are loads of narrow but exceptionally long-headed riders out there I’ve never come across, of course! Still, too much is always better than too little as far as helmet straps are concerned. They’re fasted by a conventional buckle, and there’s not much to say about it really other than it works perfectly well.
One final thing to mention is that the Blade is available in a whole range of colours. Our test lid is matte black/flash yellow, but there’s also matte black/flash orange, white/silver, matte black, white/red and black/Belgian blue, as well as a Team GB colourway to celebrate Lazer’s partnership with British Cycling.
There are plenty of things to like about the Lazer Blade. It’s a well priced, great looking helmet that actually manages to live up to the hype of being a cheap lid that looks expensive where so many before it haven’t quite succeeded. Functionally it’s comfortable (although that’s a personal thing, of course), pretty well ventilated and the Rollsys is definitely one of the best retention systems on the market. One of the fantastic things about the cycling boom in the last few years is that there really are a lot of excellent, cheaper products out there now meaning that cycling doesn’t exclusively have to be the hobby of the well off. This is one of those products.