Lazer Helium ReviewMay 21, 2014
- Head cradle hugs the head like no other helmet
- Innovative use of dual density foam
- Magnetic buckle is easy to fasten and even easier to release yet is secure
- Retention system reduces airflow at the forehead
- Fit and finish is a bit sloppy
Lazer's Helium helmet built on the success of their Genesis helmet. Using the same Roll-sys retention system as its predecessor, the Helium goes a step above by using innovative features that improve convenience and enhance safety. Unfortunately, Lazer's valiant attempts to innovate come up a bit short resulting in a helmet that offers a good sensation of secure retention at a high weight and minimal ventilation.
The overall design is distinctive blend of organic forms and graphics that lean toward the Euro-garish end of the scale. Like it or not, Lazer has developed a strong design language that sets it apart from other brands. For its construction, Lazer uses a blend of two different densities of foam for the Helium, utilizing higher density foam in areas where impact is more likely and lighter foam elsewhere to save weight. The dual density foam is co-molded to a thin plastic shell and is reinforced with a woven composite that looks suspiciously similar to materials used by both Mavic and Rudy Project in their helmets. Head retention duties are filled by the Roll-sys retention system and lightweight nylon webbing straps secured by Lazer’s Magic Buckle. Both of these features are unique in the high end helmet world. The buckle cleverly uses magnets for closure which makes it very easy to both buckle and unbuckle it. Lazer’s head cradle actually surrounds the entire head and suspends it away from the foam shell. Instead of the typical dial on the rear of the head cradle, Lazer has designed a barrel adjuster on the top of the helmet that cinches down the retention system by way of fine cables, not unlike a Boa system for your head. A somewhat minimal amount of X-static antimicrobial padding is provided to cushion the head and control helmet-stink.
The interior shape of the Helium leans slightly toward fat and round proportions. Of the helmets I tested the Lazer Helium has the thickest shell at the forehead, nearly the thinnest at the sides and average thickness at the top. Mushroom factor is on the low end. At 317 grams, the Helium’s weight is the second highest and quite a bit higher than claimed weight.
With all its unique features, I was eager see how the Lazer Helium stacked up against more conventional helmets. The Roll-sys adjustment system was easy to adjust and provided a very secure feeling of retention. However I found that the continuous band around the forehead afforded very little ventilation on hot days despite variable thickness padding and vent openings through the head cradle in that area. The rest of my head felt well ventilated though. I found the Magic buckle to be very effective and have come to prefer it over conventional side-release buckles for its ease in both closing and opening. Others have complained that the relatively high weight of the magnetic buckle causes the thin straps to loosen during rides but with the buckle snug under my chin, I never found this to be the case. Overall, I found the comfort to be sub-par. The lack of forehead ventilation combined with how my admittedly pointy head bottomed out on the area where the unpadded Roll-sys mechanism in anchored to the shell left me ready to be done with my rides after an hour or so.
It’s always exciting to see a brand that tries to innovate. The risks are great but so too the rewards. In the case of Lazer’s Helium, the result is a mixed bag. The Magic Buckle and Roll-sys retention system provide an unequaled feeling of security but that same retention system also falls short when it comes to ventilation; it never performed as well as more conventional helmets in that department. Sometimes there’s a good reason why everybody does something a certain way. In the case of Lazer’s wrap-around head cradle, maybe Lazer should have followed the pack.