Known for riding off the front of group rides only to be caught in the first mile, CJ got back on a road bike and realized he must win the Donut Derby at least once in his life. Regularly pledging he's "not a climber," he can be found as a regular attendee of Trexlertown's Thursday Night Training Criterium or sitting on the couch watching Paris-Roubaix reruns. CJ has been a constant rider of the Hell of Hunterdon in New Jersey and races the Tour of the Battenkill before going into seasonal hiding on cross-country ski trails.

Review: Lazer Blade Helmet ($80 USD)

Review: Lazer Blade Helmet ($80 USD)

I once had an entry-level vehicle that astonished me in various capabilities. The car had a rather remarkable stock set of speakers. It was always an interesting comparison to great sounding music while having to physically roll up the windows. And the car drove great in the snow. Once during above average snowfall, I had confidence to overtake a Hummer plodding along unplowed roads. The car’s weakest trait, the engine, is what did it in after years of service. Even with hundreds of thousands of miles to its credit, I would put faith in long road trips and feel comfortable having done so.

 

Memories of that car were resurrected when trying the Lazer Blade+ helmet. Having a Z1 helmet for comparison, I was ready to strike down the helmet’s frugality and highlight its heft or lack of airflow. After several rides with Lazer’s new addition, I actually forgot I was earing the entry-level road helmet and not the top-of-the-line Z1. I was ready to write the helmet off but its quietly convinced me otherwise.

The Lazer Blade+ continues the same look as previous Lazer helmet designs, including the Rollsys technology.

The Lazer Blade+ continues the same look as previous Lazer helmet designs, including the Rollsys technology.

Cycling helmets strive to do one thing: protect. Whether the helmet is entry or pro level, the design is to protect the head. Variation in pricing is a combination of venting, weight, and bonafide protection zones. The higher the price tag, the less weight and more vents. But the Lazer Blade puts in a remarkable performance for its weight and venting. Twenty-two vents are quite impressive for an entry-level lid. I wanted to try this helmet specifically because of its challenging reputation to professional caliber helmets.

 

What follows is a narration of comfort. Riding the entire course of the Hell of Hunterdon, I had quite forgotten I was sporting a Lazer Blade and not the standard Z1 helmet. The fit was quite comfortable. As stated before the sizing is a bit different in Lazer world. Normally a large, Lazer sizes me into the upper end of a medium. A large looked too big and cinched down too much for justification. The Blade comes with Lazer’s unique Rollsys system, an accessible top-of-the-helmet wheel for on-the-go adjustment. This makes Lazers ponytail friendly because the adjustment is on the top of the helmet. I was mystified by how much this helmet felt like its bigger brother. 

 

Lazer has led the way with helmet additions and the Blade continues that tie. Should you want to add a Lazer LED rear light for extra visibility, they got you covered. The Aeroshell is also compatible with the Blade, indicating a similar shell from the Z1. The Blade also works with Lazer’s LifeBEAM, a strapless heart rate monitor that fits into the Blade’s design. And to keep you in the game, Lazer offers a crash replacement program in case you do find yourself on the deck. I have always promoted companies who stand by their products to keep you in their wares.

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 With so much going for it, there was nearly nothing we could find at fault of the Blade+ helmet except for the short chinstrap. The Blade’s is hanging from the office coatrack with its chinstrap maxed out, right next to the medium Z1 with a maxed out chinstrap. The only wish for the entire helmet industry is to switch the Velcro on the helmet spider in case one wants to remove it and wear a cycling cap. The soft Velcro side would be better served inside the helmet and not on the inside of the spider. 

 

Lazer has released a truly impressive helmet in the Blade+. It feels like the Z1, looks like the Z1, and has many of the same features as the Z1, all at more than half the cost. Lazer suggests this could be a commuter helmet or it could be a backup helmet in case the team one is misplaced. I think it would serve just as well as the regular helmet for anyone. If it protects just as well at $80, why not slide right over to the sunglasses case and upgrade there? Either way, you will have the same protection with the Blade+ as you would with the Z1. The only noticeable difference is that you’ll have $120 leftover. Maybe you could tell your friends you finally won a prime. I think back to my entry level car and find similarities with the Lazer Blade. It was affordable, got the job done, and wouldn’t you know? Both were white.

Review: Rescue Project Preston Trucker Hat ($20)   

Review: Rescue Project Preston Trucker Hat ($20)  

Essay: On the Six Degrees of Strava Heatmap

Essay: On the Six Degrees of Strava Heatmap