Lazer Z1 Review: The Swiss Army Knife of Helmets

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lazer z1 review

Updated 9/30/17

Helmet hair. Helmet head. Forgoing a helmet altogether.

It’s rare for cyclists to display much love for their lids. And for good reason. There’s nothing worse than an uncomfortable or ill-fitting helmet rattling your skull for hours. The best helmet is one you forget about until you actually need it.

With their latest top-of-the-line Lazer Z1 helmet, Lazer set out to shake up the helmet game and succeeded with flying Belgian colors. The Z1 is extremely light, highly vented and loaded with fun options.

But Lazer has outdone themselves, taking the most-loved characteristics of the Helium and Genesis, to produce their best helmet yet. Here are a few of the main changes:

Lazer O2 vs Helium vs Z1

Keep a Cool Head, Or a Warm One

31 vents make the Z1 a clear winner on hot days. Deep channels redirect air so it instantly evaporates sweat that threatens to drip into your eyes and you can feel the air moving through at all times.

For cold or rainy days, Lazer offers a aero-shell that protects your head from the elements or from excessive wind. The plastic cover snaps firmly into place over the helmet, offering some protection, while still allowing air to flow. When the rain stops, simply stash it in your jersey pocket.

Lazer Z1 aeroshell
Lazer Z1 with the aeroshell

While I can’t personally speak to any aero improvements afforded by the shell, it does do a great job of blocking out the elements and lessening the misery of a winter training ride. However, the shell is surprisingly low profile, so you could snap it on for your next time trial and see if it scores you any marginal gains.

Advanced Rollsys System

An upgrade to the original rollsys system, the Advanced Rollsys is a fully integrated mechanism that completely surrounds the head. Essentially it’s a flexible nylon strap attached to a dial at the top of the helmet, which precisely controls how snug the helmet is. Many helmets only adjust the tension in the rear, but the Z1 adjusts the entire helmet evenly.

Simply turn the dial for one finger fine-tuning. This evenly distributes pressure and avoids uncomfortable pressure points, something I had trouble with in the Helium.

lazer z1 helmet review

The Lazer Z1 also adjusts height-wise, offering five different positions. The Z1 sits up a little higher than similar helmets. Only two thin strips of padding actually come in contact with the head, lessening the chance of added pressure points.

Lazer crafted the padding out of X-Static fibers to keep the pads anti-microbial and smelling fresh, even after the sweatiest efforts. This additional height makes it easy to add a cap for winter.

One of my favorite improvements to the rollsys system is repositioning the tension adjustment to the top of the helmet. This means no longer having to wrestle a pony tail through the back, making it much more comfortable for women. 

Another awesome update is the Tri-Guide, which allows you to easily adjust the helmet straps, even without a mirror. The thin straps also lie flat and are unobtrusive.

The only gripe I have is that the vent design doesn’t hold my Oakleys very well.

Greater Crash Protection

The look of Lazer’s Z1 has evolved from their previous helmets. Since the temple is a common area of impact during a crash, Lazer created the T-Pro to protect the temples. Essentially they lowered the shell and added material for additional protection.

This means the helmet does fall a little lower on the forehead, an aesthetic complaint noted by a few reviewers, as the helmet line does drop closer to the eyebrows. They cited that this could potentially interfere with larger sunglasses.

Since many crashes result in multiple impacts, Lazer designed the Z1 to retain its shape in the event of a crash and to hold any cracked pieces together upon impact. The system is modelled after the roll bar in a race car.

lazer Z1 vs lazer helium
The Z1 provides greater crash protection around the temples.

Optional Add-ons

Did I mention that the Lazer Z1 is tricked out with various options to instantly improve safety, security and comfort?

Magneto

Recognizing that sunglasses often place uncomfortable pressure on the temples, Lazer introduced the Magneto Sunglasses, which eliminate the temple pieces and replaces them with magnets in the helmet straps and sunglasses. I have not tested these glasses, so I can only report Lazer’s description.

The sunglasses include either three different lenses or a photochromatic lens. Temple pieces are included for off-the-bike use. Here’s a full review from Road.cc if you’d like to find out more. 

Z-LED Rear LED Light

The Z-LED is a red LED light that snaps into the slot in the back of the helmet for added safety. You’ll also need the cheap Mudcap to mount the light.

Cappuccino Lock

This add-on turns the helmet straps into a lightweight combination lock. It’s certainly not a longterm security solution, but the Cappuccino Lock will buy you some time to slip away for a shot of espresso or celebratory beer.

LifeBEAM 

An unobtrusive heart rate sensor sits in the back of the helmet and continuously monitors heart rate, sending it to the device of your choice. Bike Radar has a full review of LifeBeam, as used with the Z1.

Aquapad

Swap out the included pad with ones that optimize cooling and actively work to keep sweat out of the eyes. They also reduce pressure points on the head.

Other Z1 Models

Z1 MIPS, which features the innovative MIPS system of protection for angled impacts.

Z1 Fast, designed as more of an aero road helmet.

Lazer helmet review
This helmet is light! Medium Z1

The bottom line: The Lazer Z1 bests its competition by producing an ultra-light, super cool and extremely comfortable helmet. Their innovative add-ons inspire fun solutions to common riding complaints, proving why this is the best Lazer helmet yet.

Buy it: If you want to invest in a top-of-the-line helmet with plenty of options. If you ride in a hot climate or frequently battle the elements, the Z1’s versatility will suit you well.

Save your money: If you’re looking for a basic helmet, don’t plan to ride in wet or cold conditions or won’t be pedaling on brutally hot days. In this case, I’d recommend the Lazer 02 helmet instead, which is still a high performing helmet, but at a much lower price point.

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