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Lazer Z1 helmet – review

Having made helmets gracing the heads of the likes of Tom Boonen and Paolo Bettini, and currently adorning the heads of team Lotto-Belisol, Lazer know a thing or two about bike helmets. Incidentally, the lid they made for Boonen had a 1.18 carat diamond in to celebrate his 2005 World Championships victory, but then that’s the sort of treatment you get when you’re Tommeke. And world champion.

Anyway, their current top-of-the-line helmet is the Z1 – 239g of head-covering goodness that comes in a wide variety of colours depending on what you fancy. The one we have here is their latest ‘Flash Orange’ version as used by the Madison-Genesis team this season and a really rather fetching colour, in my humble opinion. It’s also pretty high-vis, which is a bonus. But if you’re not feeling the orange, there are eight other colourways available ranging from matte black to a British Cycling replica, so there’s just about something for everyone. And, irrespective of the colour, the overall look of the Z1 is pretty slick too, which is always a consideration when buying any bit of bike kit and a definite plus point.

Another little bonus with the Z1 is that it comes with Lazer’s aeroshell; a light, clear covering that turns your standard helmet into an aero road lid. So it’s sort of like getting two helmets in one (but not really). The aeroshell also doubles up as a great way to keep the rain out when it’s really hammering down, which isn’t necessarily in the spirit of being a hard-as-nails cyclist but if anyone asks you can just tell them you’re after some marginal gains…

The retention system on the Z1 is Lazer’s Advanced Rollsys. The original Rollsys won awards for it’s design and innovation, and the Advanced version just builds on what was already a thoroughly impressive system. Most retention systems in helmets are some form of ratchet that effectively pushes into the back of the head to make your forehead fit snugly against the front. It’s effective but it can be uncomfortable, creating pressure points in certain areas. The Rollsys, on the other hand, is designed to tighten progressively around the head, meaning that no one area suffers undue pressure. I’ve ridden in a fair few Lazer helmets over the last couple of years and I personally think that the Rollsys is one of – if not the most – comfortable retention system around. In fact, the overall fit of the Z1 is just about the best of any helmet I’ve used, though naturally that can depend on the size and shape of your head.

Buyer’s guide: how to choose a cycling helmet

To tighten or loosen the helmet there’s a roller wheel at the top, which you either roll to the right to tighten, or the opposite to loosen. One of the big plusses is that it’s designed to operate with one hand and doesn’t need the other hand steadying the helmet. It also has five different height adjustable positions, so you can have the cradle at the back as far up – or down – your head as you want.

On the subject of ventilation there are 36 vents across the top of the helmet, and it does a fantastic job of keeping your head cool. Plus, as I mentioned earlier, the aeroshell is a great concession for days when it’s cold or wet, adding another dimension to the Z1.

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Conclusion

With an unsurpassed fit, good looks and weighing in at an acceptably low figure, Lazer’s Z1 is one of the very best helmets around. And if you’re breaking out in a cold sweat at the prospect of paying £200 for a helmet, quality runs through Lazer’s whole line – just check out our review of the Blade.

Pros

– Good looks and a range of colour choices
– Arguably the best retention system around in the Advanced Rollsys
– Extremely well ventilated, and the aeroshell adds options for bad weather

Cons

– Light, but you can find lighter if that’s your main concern

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