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While the yellow MIPS rotational liner has become ubiquitous in high-end helmets, Lazer has a new helmet safety design called KinetiCore that consists of multiple foam blocks on the inside of the helmet that are designed to crumple and absorb energy in the event of a crash.
Lazer is using KinetiCore in six new helmets, including the $299 aero Vento that Wout van Aert (Jumbo-Visma) is expected to race in Sunday at the Tour of Flanders, and the more vented Strada ($109).
Both the Vento and the Strada have received the top five-star rating from Virginia Tech testing lab, the most-recognized third-party lab for helmet safety testing.
Lazer still has many MIPS lined in its broad helmet range, and the company’s partnership with MIPS dates back more than a decade. Lazer is also part of WG11, the “Working Group 11” that consists of members of MIPS and helmet brands who are trying to determine a testing protocol specific to rotational impacts. MIPS stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System.
“Lazer has long recognized that government-instituted safety protocols are woefully inadequate to offer the very best safety for cyclists,” said Lazer USA marketing manager Chris Smith. “Basically anything we can do to add safety, we did.”
The MIPS liner was created to reduce impacts reaching the brain by allowing the helmet to move slightly on the head, reducing the rotational forces. Another system is Bontrager’s Wave Cell, which folds or tears or crumples under impact. And of course, the foam in all helmets is designed to absorb some of the impact force in the case of a crash.
Smith said both MIPS and Wave Cell are fully legitimate systems.
“Virginia Tech has 15 5-star helmets now in their testing,” he said. “There are more 5-star rated Lazer helmets than any other manufacturer. And there are 3-star MIPS helmets. You can’t just plug in MIPS and have the best helmet.”
In creating KinetiCore, Lazer set out to add safety without adding weight or reducing ventilation.
“Five years ago, Lazer started looking at its own type of safety integration. We wanted a system that was lighter, better ventilated, and also had a reduced the use of plastics,” Smith said.
“The design of KinetiCore is not unlike motor vehicles with crumple zones. Here, these are crumple zones built into the helmet,” he said. “The foam will more easily compress, or crack, or distort, and absorb the energy and prevent it from reaching the rider’s head.”
The Vento will be on sale in mid-April for $299, with a CPSC-approved medium weighing a claimed 290g. It will replace Lazer’s Bullet 2.0 aero helmet. Smith said the Vento is 30 percent lighter and 2.3 percent more aero, and 5.4 percent better cooling than the Bullet 2.0. Lazer measured ventilation with a head form covered in heat sensors.
The Strada will sell for $110, and will come with an aero shell.
There are also the Jackal KinetiCore mountain bike helmet, the CityZen KinetiCore commuter lid, and the two kids’ helmets the Nutz and Peanut KinetiCore.
The Vento helmet also has a new style of retention, with the RollSys being replaced by the ScrollSys. Instead of a dial, the ScrollSys is wide piece of rubber on two rollers mounted on the back of the helmet. You can loosen or tighten the retention system by ‘scrolling’ the rubber up or down. There’s also a mount on the ScrollSys for a rear LED.
For riders who like to remove their glasses and put them in their helmet, the Vento doesn’t have vents for sunglass arms to go into, but it does have dedicated slots on the sides of the helmet with silicone grippers to keep sunglasses in place.
One main difference in the crumple zones of the KinetiCore helmets versus a traditional foam helmet is that the effects of a crash will be easier to see on a KinetiCore helmet.
“Does that mean you will have to replace your helmet more often? Maybe. But that’s better than riding around in a helmet that has done its job and needs to be replaced,” Smith said. “Lazer recommends replacing helmets every three to five years, and that has nothing to do with material degradation – just wear and tear. Lazer has tested helmets that have sat in the back of bike shops for 20 years, and they are fine.”
Check back soon for a review on the Lazer Vento.