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The Laser Z1 MIPS helmet brings together the already impressive strengths of the original Z1 and adds the extra protection promise of the MIPS – Multi-directional Impact Protection System – layer.
I've been using the Z1 MIPS for the last two years, so this review comes from hundreds of hours of use, but luckily I still cannot vouch for its protection in a big crash.
The Z1 has been a favourite in the pro peloton for a long time, with Lotto Soudal and Jumbo-Visma both using this helmet during the Tour de France. It has been at the top of the helmet game since it was launched in 2014 simply because it's a great helmet.
The original Z1 offered impressive comfort thanks to the innovative closure system, with the dial on the top of the helmet tightening the system around the entire head rather than just at the back, so exerting pressure around the entire head too, not just the back. The system holds it in place well even when you're particularly sweaty, and whatever your head shape. The MIPS has been integrated really well so it doesn't impact this, which is something I was initially worried about having used the original model for a couple of years prior to this one.
Ventilation is also a real strength of the helmet, with the MIPS layer having negligible impact compared with the original version. You can still feel the wind blowing through your hair as you ride, with just a slight reduction that I only really notice because I regularly wear the MIPS and original version on consecutive rides.
The straps are the same as the original model; they don't twist easily and are comfortable against the skin for the duration of a long ride. Underneath, there is a traditional clip that's easy to use whether you're sweating on a hot summer ride or using extra-thick winter gloves.
Obviously, the main difference of the helmet is the MIPS layer, which sits a few millimetres below the foam inside the helmet. Four elasticated anchor points mean that it moves independently from the helmet shell, with the idea being that it reduces lateral forces on the head during impact and reduces the chance of concussion. Read our full article on MIPS to see if you're convinced of the benefits.
The only downside I've found with the MIPS version is that the pads wear quicker than on non-MIPS helmets, where they rub against the thin edge of the MIPS layer. I had to replace them after around a year, where in my non-MIPS Z1 they lasted closer to two.
Aside from that, when the helmet is on the head you can barely notice a difference. The MIPS layer isn't particularly subtle, and you can clearly see it through the vents, but given that it has 38 of those, trying to hide anything inside it would be an impossible task.
The helmet hits the road.cc Scales of Truth at 261g, which is very respectable for a high-end helmet with MIPS. For instance, the Giro Aether MIPS comes in 6g heavier and will make your wallet £85 lighter. It's only 47g heavier than the Abus AirBreaker, which doesn't have a MIPS layer and is £55 more expensive.
At £169.99 it's not a cheap helmet, but it's certainly not as steep as many others. The Met Trenta, which Mat tested last year, is a full £95 more, which puts it into perspective.
Over the past couple of years I have tested dozens of helmets, but there has only been one that I always use on a weekend ride when I'm not reviewing – the Z1 MIPS. I could talk about the ventilation, comfort, or aesthetics, but in reality that fact alone is the one that truly sums up my thoughts.
A really great helmet that's been my go-to for the past two years
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Lazer Z1 MIPS Helmet
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?
An elite-level helmet with a light weight and highly ventilated design.
Lazer says: "Building on a long tradition of innovation, Lazer decided to combine all elements of a high performance helmet and push each feature as far as possible."
This seems pretty accurate; the fact that it's still gracing the heads of pro peloton teams five years after it was released is testament to that.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Nylon layer and T-ProTemple protection
Advanced Rollsys® system
Lazer Magneto eyewear docking
Lazer Aeroshell compatible
Rear LED light compatible
Lazer LifeBEAM compatible
UCI World Tour helmet
I've been using this helmet for two years and haven't had any issues with it at all.
Ventilation and fit are what you'd expect from a top-quality helmet, with added MIPS.
It's been two years and the only things I've needed to change are the pads.
It's an impressive weight for a helmet with MIPS.
It's an extremely comfortable helmet.
When it was first launched it was one of the most expensive helmets on the market. OK, it's not cheap, but you can pay a lot more than this.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Extremely well; it offers everything you'd expect from a high-end helmet – great quality, fit, ventilation, plus 'extra' protection – at a more reasonable price than many.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It's difficult to name one thing, but I like the integration of the MIPS layer.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Giro Aether MIPS helmet is £90 more and 6g heavier, while the Met Trenta is £95 more (and 41g lighter, and doesn't have MIPS). The 206g Kask Valegro is 99p cheaper, at £169, but doesn't have MIPS.
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 overall score
It takes what was already a very good helmet and adds to it. It's excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.