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Mountain Gear

Clothesline Review: Lazer Tardiz time trial helmet – $180

Technical editor Zack Vestal tries out the Lazer Tardiz time trial helmet.

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*The Clothes Line is an occasional column about clothing, shoes, helmets, and other accessories we’ve encountered. Clothing is possibly the most personal of all gear choices: two riders can try the same jersey and come back with completely different opinions. This is not meant as an extensive review (as in, worn until threadbare), but we simply hope to ride these products for as long as possible and report back on the basic fit and features. We hope you find it helpful.

Dimples on the short tail are meant to minimize aerodynamic drag.

After a few months of uncertainty as to whether or not the promoters would continue to run it this season, the local time trial series is off to a good start. Of course the races are always hard, but it’s a fun, inexpensive mid-week TT effort on the same course every Wednesday. Comparing war stories and finish times every week against friends, start times, and weather conditions never fails to entertain.

The other fun aspect of the TT series is busting out all kinds of sweet, slippery toys and spooling them up to whatever race pace the legs allow. I’ve been fooling around with SRAM’s R2C shifters, Zipp VukaShift extensions, and Hed Stinger 9 wheels, among other things. Look for a Wrenched and Ridden on the shifters in the next few weeks and a comprehensive review of six pairs of deep section wheels in the September issue of VeloNews.

Lazer’s Tardiz time trial helmet turned my head last June at a media event. It sports uniquely angular ear covers that give a look that would make Bugs Bunny’s occasional antagonist, Marvin the Martian, proud. I got one in February and have since spent enough time tucked in on my TT bike to report that it’s a darn good time trial lid.

Lazer built the Tardiz to be versatile for both road time trial and triathlon use. As such, it doesn’t have the super long and sleek tail of a pure TT helmet. It’s streamlined in a typical time trial position, but the shorter, dimpled tail is also meant to minimize drag with the rider’s head dropped down or turned to the side. For example, Iron-distance triathletes rarely manage to maintain perfect TT form for the entire 112 miles, and the Tardiz is designed for minimal aerodynamic penalty even if the rider’s position isn’t perfect.

Also with long, hot events in mind, Lazer paid extra attention to temperature regulation. There are three small vents at the front, but larger exhaust ports at the rear help draw air through.

There’s also a ventilation hole in the shell at the very top called “Aquavent.” It’s got a cover that stays in place for maximum aerodynamics but can be removed for hot events. Triathletes like to dump water over their heads to stay cool, and this port is built to allow both water and air into the helmet. Inside, the padding is perforated and channeled to help distribute water over the head.

Finally, Lazer’s signature Rollsys retention system helps keep the helmet in place, along with the typical chin straps.

It comes in two sizes (XXS-M, and L-XL) and four color options. My XXS-M tester weighs 390 grams.

I got to know Rollsys with Lazer’s Genesis helmet (VeloNews May 2010), and I wasn’t totally convinced. But it’s the best feature on the Tardiz, and I dig it. Time trial helmets weigh more than standard road helmets and the tail sometimes causes them to shift around. Not so on the Tardiz, which can be dialed in to stay put right where you want it. It’s extra beneficial because I tend to want my TT lid tipped back on my head so the tail runs flat to my back, and the Rollsys makes it easy.

I also like the ventilation. No problems with overheating on a couple of toasty, 90-degree late afternoons. The perforated pads across the front of the Rollsys band help a lot, and for that matter, all the X-Static padding is very comfortable

Finally, I like the straps. I’ve had problems in the past with Lazer straps not lying flat for feeling comfortable against my face. But for whatever reason, the strap anchor points, geometry and angles seem to work much better on this helmet.

Isn’t that lovely?

My only real negative comment is that I’d like to see more shell sizes. As a guy with a small head, I’m not a fan of using adjustable retention to take up big gaps in the fit. I like the shell size to more closely match my head.

Is it fast? I can’t pretend tell the difference between one aero lid and the next in terms of wind drag. But it feels good, fits great, stays put, and gets the job done.

As Marvin the Martian would say, “Isn’t that lovely?”