Weighing a feathery 250g, Lazer's Blade helmet is discernibly lighter than many twice the price. Conforming to both CE and CSC standards and available in six colours, features once reserved for the Belgian brand's pro issue Z1 have trickled down to the mid-point.
Finish is generally excellent throughout. In-mould construction (where EPS liner and outer shell are formed simultaneously) is extremely neat; an exposed brim is the only indicator of cost-cutting and theoretically more susceptible to knocks and dings. This is pretty typical of this price point, though, and a carry sack comes as standard, minimising this risk in storage or when being transported by car.
Talking of which, for 2015 it's adopted the Z1's Advance Rollsys retention system – this is designed to work like a car's roll cage, protecting the brain from twisting injuries that can result from a nasty crash. This isn't a completely original concept and is essentially a sophisticated nylon band that wraps symmetrically around the head for a pinch and pressure point-free fit.
This dials in via a recessed barrel adjuster, which has several advantages over the ubiquitous thumb wheel. Drilling into the crown area requires additional material – adding weight. Lazer has overcome this problem by using a clever bridge to provide reinforcement. It's certainly sleeker, not to mention more convenient for riders with ponytails. I found myself instinctively reaching around the back when fine-tuning fit on our first few outings, but it quickly became intuitive – albeit a little fiddly in full-finger gloves.
The strap dividers are more refined that most – among only a few that have lain perfectly flush against my head.
Less airy than its bigger brother, 22 vents are still impressive, scooping a steady stream of cooling air over the scalp. This seems unchanged whether cruising along at 20mph, grinding up a climb at walking pace and begging for a lower gear, or screaming down 1 in 4 descents. Wind noise at higher speeds has been minimal, so conversation needn't verge on shouting and, crucially, overall awareness isn't hampered.
I am blessed with a thick shock of hair, which is very conducive to a hot, sweaty scalp given an hour or so's intensive effort – even with the mercury hovering around 15 degrees. However, even during the recent heat wave (remember that?), those vents scoop a seamless flow of cooling air through, so most riders shouldn't have any problems with overheating.
On the flip side, thundery showers left me right royally soaked, but the helmet does come with an aero shell that you can attach on days when you want as much speed as possible or if the weather's looking threatening – or remember to pack a cap.
Overall, I've been seriously impressed by the Blade's performance, which is easily on par with some helmets at nearly twice the price.
Excellent mid-price road helmet with remarkably high spec – recommended
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Make and model: Lazer Blade helmet
Size tested: Medium, 55-59cm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Lazer says: "Dripping with the same style and class the top end Z1 helmet, the Blade helmet combines great looks with high performance
"This is the helmet you wear on your weekend rides and your daily commutes
"Its compact style combined with the Advanced Rollsys System ARS provides an excellent fit and great adjustability
"Ventilation is a priority to keep the rider, cool, comfortable and prevent any loss in performance through overheating so the Blade uses deep ventilation channels which draw air through the helmet, while keeping the gap between head and shell to a minimum."
Extremely high specification and performance raises the mid range barrier somewhat.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
In-mould construction, 22 vents, Rollsys fitment system, conformity to CE and CSC standards, strap dividers (ensuring these sit flat against the face for greater comfort).
A very high standard throughout.
Well made, although exposed EPS liner more vulnerable to everyday carelessness.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Lazer Blade is one of the best road helmets I've used in a very long time and easily on par with some in my collection costing £100 plus. Thanks to the Rollsys, low overall weight and little details such as those strap dividers, it fits and performs beautifully. Having 22 vents doesn't usually merit much comment but these are extremely well designed and ensure consistent, comfortable airflow in all contexts. And on grotty days you can cover the vents with the aero shell. Overall, a superb lid with an equally favourable price tag.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Rollsys fitting system and other race quality technology, high standards of safety, construction and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Exposed EPS liner but this is a minor point that comes with the mid-price territory.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely
Age: 41 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70kg
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)