(The Gear Loop) - We’ve already reported on Lazer’s proprietary cycling helmet safety technology - those myriad deformable EPS foam nodules that new line a selection of the firm’s most popular bike helmets, from city-friendly lids to mountain bike shredders.
In fact, we’ve put it to the test in the range-topping, road-going Vento KinetiCore, an aerodynamic head protector that is said to deliver those elusive marginal gains with the addition of advanced safety, but it also costs and absolute packet in the process.
But here, we’ve also managed to put the infinitely more affordable Strada KinetiCore through its paces - an equally lightweight, comfortable and safe lid that’s designed more like a traditional all-round road riding helmet but one that still boasts a number of features that are worth shouting about.
At launch, Lazer promised that its in-house impact dissipation tech would prove cheaper than licensing and using external systems from MIPS, and the Strada could genuinely be the first great value, high performance road cycling lid from the Belgian brand.
The Lazer Strada KinetiCore offers a fantastic blend of lightweight comfort, advanced safety technologies and a very tempting price tag. It promotes top notch thermodynamic properties, even if it’s not the most aerodynamic lid in Lazer’s range, yet still packs advanced energy dissipation technology to protect heads in the unfortunate case of an accident. For all-round road cycling, this is a really solid choice, although it just misses out on being perfect thanks to the fact the fit system interferes with sunglasses a litte.
Lazer Strada KinetiCore helmet
- Great price
- Stylish design
- Secure fit
- Rear light costs extra
- More aero options are available
In the Loop
What to expect from the Lazer Strada KinetiCore helmet:
- Ergonomic fit
- Proprietary KinetiCore "Crumple zones"
- Venturi ventilation system
- Eyewear docking area
- Lazer Aeroshell compatibility
- Lightweight: 6 per cent lighter than Lazer Blade MIPS
- Reduced Plastics: 20g less plastics used than in Lazer Blade MIPS
- Great size range: S/M/L/XL
- Lazer ScrollSys to dial in fit
Let’s start with the most pertinent feature and that’s the slightly unusual spattering of EPS foam "crumple zones" inside the helmet. Flip it over and it looks like someone has gone wild with a CNC cutter inside the helmet, but this patterning is very deliberate.
The raised sections have been designed to deform in the unfortunate case of an accident, absorbing impact and dissipating energy so it isn’t transferred to the brain. It works like MIPS, which dissipates rotational forces and can be found offered somewhere in almost all modern cycling brand's ranges.
But here, Lazer build the tech into the construction of its helmet rather than bolting it on, resulting in less material used, less bulk and an improved freedom of design.
As a result, the Strada is slim and sleek and looks great on those with small heads (like us). It’s also available in four sizes, so users can start with a fantastic fit and then dial it in further using Lazer’s new ScrollSys adjustment system.
This comes in the form of an oversized rubber dial on the rear of the helmet that’s not immediately obvious to locate. It sits flush against the helmet’s shell (for aero reasons, obvs), so takes a bit of getting used to for quick adjustments, but it’s easy enough to operate, even with gloved hands.
Other features include a "garage area" for stashing sunglasses, but it’s really wide and requires the arms of your favourite shades to be bent outwards. We found ourselves slotting them into one of the other vents instead.
On the subject of vents, the Strada is less focussed on aerodynamic gains than its more expensive Vento cousin and instead has a number of channels dotted all over the helmet. These are positioned in a way to encourage efficient air flow, dragging hot air out of the rear to keep the head cool.
It works well, even though its design isn’t as open as something like Specialized’s Previal II model. But we found those can look a bit bulky on smaller heads.
Finally, there's a small slot at the rear for attaching a separate LED lamp that Lazer offers. It clips into a small and discreet hole that's barely noticeable when not in use.
The Strada KinetiCore is an incredibly comfortable helmet and the ScrollSys adjustment system keeps the bulk of the lid away from the head. So much so, it almost feels like it’s floating above your skull and after a while, it completely fades into the background.
As with the Vento KinetiCore, the obvious hole in this adjustment system’s design is the fact that the arms of most sunglasses end up bumping up against the plastic basket, meaning you either have sit the rear of the arms on the outside, which can cause pressure points, or tuck them inside. Not ideal for the same reason.
It’s only a slight niggle, as it wasn’t really something that bothered us after few kilometres on the bike, and the design is deliberate, with Lazer telling us the ScrollSys set-up allows for a comfortable experience for those with longer hair or a ponytail.
There’s no point passing comment on its safety credentials, as were were perfectly happy to trust the results of Virginia Tech’s independent helmet safety assessments, from which the Strada - and every other KinetiCore helmet - has achieved the full five stars.
Temperature control is solid and although the Strada doesn’t get the full Venturi treatment of its clever aero Vento cousin, the channels remain well-placed and promote a healthy amount of airflow throughout.
Those riding in adverse weather conditions can make the most of a separate Strada Aeroshell, which is a low cost and easy-to-fit option that covers these open airflow channels to not only improve aerodynamic efficiency, but also keep out the cold, rain wind and snow… if you’re mad enough.
Boasting a reasonable price tag and a whole host of advanced road cycling features, the Lazer Strada KinetiCore helmet sticks to the brand’s promise of passing the savings achieved from use of its proprietary safety system to the end user. With a full five-star independent safety rating, a great fit, sleek design and lightweight construction, this is a fantastic road helmet for the money.