When Andre Greipel came across the line on the Champs Elysees with his hands in the air, they were raised above the Lazer Z1 helmet. At Rio 2016, Team GB will be hoping to replicate this kind of success in the road race, where they will also be sporting these lids. So ahead of the games and after Greipel's smash and grab at the Tour, we took a look at the Z1 in the new Flash Orange colour.
The first obvious element of the helmet is that it has clearly been designed with ventilation in mind, with 30 vents throughout the body. The airflow is about as good as you will find and is certainly the best I have used. Talking to several others in the cycling industry, I came to the conclusion that this is one of the best liked helmets around for its ventilation and fit.
The strong fit is achieved through Lazer's Rollsys system, which maintains pressure around the entire head rather than placing it on the rear like most other helmet systems. This means there are no hot spots of pressure, making it comfortable to wear for long periods of time. In terms of fitting the helmet, it is effortless as it just has a wheel on the top of the helmet that you twist to either tighten or loosen. Rather than needing to fiddle around behind your head, like with most other helmets, you simply put the helmet on and twist from the top.
It also combines added protection around the temple, a feature that Lazer calls 'T-Pro'. The sides of the helmet are lower around your forehead than most. Although it's unconventional, I quite like the look and even though I couldn't test it properly in terms of temple protection I'm sure it would work in giving added protection. It also has significant crumple zones that will keep the wearer well protected if the worst were to happen, but again not something that I actively tried.
In terms of looks, aside from the considerable number of vents the most striking feature is Lazer's signature rear 'spoiler' – a small fin that crosses the centre of the helmet towards the rear. The new Flash Orange colour also looks really good, reminding me of the new Giro Empire SLX shoes; it's more subtle than many would think if you were just to describe it as 'an orange helmet'. And with the T-Pro element, which means it sits lower on the sides of head, it's a look that takes a bit of getting used to but one that, in the end, I quite like.
As I said at the start of this review, the Z1 has some of the best ventilation I have found on a helmet, with a fresh breeze being pushed through the ample number of vents. This kept me cool even on long climbs or extended periods of intense effort. The pads also work effectively, not getting smelly when I had been using it for several days in a row, but also giving a decent amount of comfort.
The helmet also comes with an aeroshell, which has two functions. One is to keep the wind and rain off in poor conditions, the other is to improve your aerodynamics. At the moment our wind tunnel is being used by Team Sky to try to make their bus more aerodynamic in their latest push for marginal gains, so we couldn't test its efficiency. That being said, the aeroshell is easy to put on or take off: simply pull from the front to remove and push on to add.
At £200, the RRP for a helmet of this quality is about right. It compares favourably to the price of the POC Octal (£220) and Kask Protone (£195), which would be considered its rivals at the top end of the helmet market.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Z1 Flash Orange. It is slightly heavier than the POC Octal, but 10 per cent cheaper, and as we saw from Andre Greipel, certainly not enough to have any effect on performance. The ventilation and fit are particularly impressive and certainly the strongest part of the helmet, and I have yet to find any other that works quite as well.
Great helmet that provides maximum ventilation and a comfortable fit
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Make and model: Lazer Z1 Helmet
Size tested: Medium, (55-59cm), Flash Orange
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?
The helmet is aimed at elite cyclists, from the British Cycling team adopting the helmet as well as gracing the head of Andre Greipel as he took four stages in this year's Tour.
It is at the top of Lazer's range but despite this, it is surprisingly undersold, with Lazer's line being - "The Lazer Z1, Lazer's most advanced road helmet to date".
It performs well and from the amount of ventilation and comfort of the fit, it would be hard to argue that there hasn't been a considerable amount of R&D for this helmet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
- The Z1 features new technology such as T-Pro, or temple protection
- Safety is always a priority when designing a new helmet and we identified that one of the weakest points in the skull is around the temple. As a result, the Z1 offers additional coverage at the side of the head by lowering the helmet in that area
- Without adding weight and while ensuring comfort Lazer made an upgraded extra light version of the award winning Rollsys® system, called ARS or Advanced Rollsys System
- Ventilation is a priority to keep the rider, cool, comfortable and prevent any loss in performance through overheating so the Z1 uses deep ventilation channels which draw air through the helmet, while keeping the gap between head and shell to a minimum
The helmet feels light but sturdy, with a significant number of vents not affecting the overall rigidity of the helmet. Considerable thought seems to have been given to both the fit and ventilation. It's a well made helmet.
Performs very well, providing really good ventilation, light weight and a secure fit. I was happy riding for hours in this without any kind of discomfort or overheating.
Due to the quality of construction, the Z1 is likely to be able to last for years. I could not test it in a crash situation, but all signs point to it being built to withstand significant impacts.
There are a couple of others at this price point that are lighter, but 238g for a helmet is a very good weight and when you are talking about a difference of less than 40g to the lightest, it is unlikely to be a sticking point.
With excellent ventilation and using the Rollsys system, this is one of the most comfortable helmets I have used.
It is a premium helmet that comes at a premium price. If you are in the market for a top end helmet that is likely to last and also not have any adverse effects on a long ride, you could do far worse.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, it is comfortable to wear for long periods of time and you won't be cursing it for its weight when halfway up Mt Ventoux.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ventilation is fantastic and the amount of vents throughout the helmet does not have any impact on how sturdy it feels.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There wasn't anything major, perhaps the T-Pro system gives it a slightly odd look that takes a bit of getting used to.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
One of the best helmets I have used and, having spoken about it to many others in the industry, one of the most popular across the board. This is for good reason: with its combination of excellent fit and strong ventilation, it takes some beating.
Age: 27 Height: 6 ft Weight:
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Evo 6 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed
George spends his days flitting between writing about data, running business magazines and writing about sports technology. The latter gave him the impetus (excuse) to get even further into the cycling world before taking the dive and starting his own cycling sites and writing for Road.cc.
When he is not writing about cycling, he is either out on his bike cursing not living in the countryside or boring anybody who will listen about the latest pro peloton/cycling tech/cycling infrastructure projects.