Lazer's Genesis Winter Cap keeps your ears warm without restricting your hearing, but fitting it under your helmet could be an issue if you're at the upper end of your size.
With the cap, Lazer has essentially integrated some lovely soft ear muffs into the design of its excellent Genesis helmet. These are connected to a band that runs inside the helmet, sitting comfortably against the forehead. There is also a mesh section that covers the top of the head, giving good breathability.
There are certainly days I can think of where the cap would have been rather useful. Frozen ears are not fun, and the thought of them can keep even the strongest tucked up in bed on a Sunday morning. The fit left me a little annoyed, though. Being at the upper end of the medium size Genesis helmet, it was a very tight squeeze to get the cap to sit inside it. When I tried it with a large lid, the cap fitted well, but it would be annoying to have to buy another helmet just to use a cap.
One area where the cap excels is hearing. I simply found that I could hear normally, with no wind rush like I would expect with a skull cap or headband. This is because of the holes at the ear, which allowed me to hear traffic as I would normally.
The ventilated mesh on the top of the head was a little cool at higher speeds. I combined this with the Aeroshell on the coldest days and it was absolutely brilliant. The ventilation was just enough to prevent overheating, while the Aeroshell kept the worst of the wind off. It's a slightly odd look, but one of the best combinations I've used for the coldest training rides.
Another nice little touch is the band that holds your helmet straps in place. It's not the biggest feature, but it kept the straps central over my ears and also kept the cap in place.
In terms of value, it's on par with other winter skull caps – more than some, less than others. For me, it would have to be thinner at the forehead to allow for a closer fit under my helmet to rival a simple skull cap. However, being able to hear properly was a bonus.
For those who really value having warm ears at subzero temperatures, the Winter Cap is a nifty piece of kit. It kept my ears and head really warm with just enough ventilation. I was also impressed to be able to hear normally. It's definitely one to try before you buy, though, as it added enough bulk to put me up a helmet size.
Soft and warm, a great concept for the coldest of days, but be careful with helmet size
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lazer Genesis Winter Cap
Size tested: Medium
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 Helium winter cap; Original LAZER HELIUM WINTERCAP insulated pad set. This system fits perfectly in to your helmet, replacing the original pads and providing protection against freezing temperatures."
The ear warmers are well made with good hearing and soft fabric. The mesh at the top is great for ventilation. The padding at the front and sides just made it too bulky to fit under my, normally perfect, helmet.
Super-warm with good breathability.
It's washed well and doesn't smell.
A touch heavier than a standard skull cap.
Very soft fabric all round gave no irritation.
You can get cheaper – and more expensive – skull caps.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. A little cool with a vented helmet, but warm when used with the Aeroshell.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
I could hear much better than with a skull cap.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fit is just too bulky. I don't want to have to buy a larger helmet just for this.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they have the space under their helmet.
Use this box to explain your score
Gains points for being soft, warm and allowing me to hear properly. If it fits under your helmet comfortably then it's great; for me, though, it's too bulky – and more expensive than a simple skull cap.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!
Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.