By Brandon Bilyeu
- Huge vents and channeling allow for good air flow over your head
- MIPS version available
- Super adjustable and comfortable retention system
- One of the lightest helmets available
- Included carry bag
- Crash replacement program
- Pricey, although still considerably less than other top-end helmets
- Thick foam shell looks a bit bulbous on the head
Cost: $220 (MIPS version: $240) Aeroshell costs $20
How obtained: review sample from company
Available: online, retail
Colors: Matte Titanium (MIPS version: Matte Blue Gray, Matte Black, White, Matte Orange)
RBR Sponsor: no
Tested: 50+ hours
Lazer G1 – Optimized for Low Weight
Pulling the G1 helmet out of the box, I immediately noticed the reduced weight in hand compared to my go-to Giro Synthe helmet. My medium Synthe is 266g, while the medium G1 is just 200g. That difference of 66g (0.15 pounds) doesn’t sound like much, but the G1 is 33% lighter than the Synthe.
The actual weight of the G1 depends on size, but also depends on whether you want MIPS and where you live. Lazer makes two versions of this helmet, the G1 for the US (and Canada) and the Genesis for everyone else. The US CPSC safety certification is different than Europe’s CE-CPSC-AS and results in the US version being slightly heavier. I tested the European version Genesis in size medium, but for reference I’ve listed all the relevant weights below for comparison (weights from Lazer, size small).
G1 (US/Canada Version)
-Non-MIPS = 230g
-MIPS = 260g
Genesis (outside of US)
-Non-MIPS = 190g
-MIPS = 220g with MIPS
Aside from pro riders and weight weenies, helmet weight is probably not a huge selling point for most cyclists, but does have its merits for longs days in the saddle and for those with neck issues. Personally, the G1/Genesis felt light on my head, but in isolation I’ve never found any other helmet to feel heavy. The real question for me was how Lazer achieved this low weight, and if there was any kind of a compromise in fit/function/comfort to get there.
Fit – Lazer’s Advanced Rollsys System Goes on a Diet
To cut weight, Lazer took their excellent retention system, Advanced Rollsys System (ARS), and simply optimized the material usage to cut weight without changing the function. For those not familiar with ARS, the basic functionality is very similar to most other high-end helmet retention systems. A dial allows you to adjust the tension of a cage around the circumference of your head for a snug fit without pressure points.
The ARS system differs in that the dial is located on top of the helmet instead of at the rear. This allows the rear of the helmet to be more open, which is very helpful for those with ponytails or who wear do-rags that tie in the back. And while small rear mounted dials can be hard to operate with thick winter gloves, the ARS dial does not require finger dexterity as you can just roll your hand across it.
There is also an Adjustable Head Basket (AHB) at the rear of the helmet that cradles the rear of the head for a very stable fit. The AHB is vertically adjustable to five different positions to customize the fit based on your head shape. I found the AHB mechanism to be difficult to adjust, but it is a one-time adjustment and I’m very confident that it will never get out of alignment. My head shape falls into the round category and the G1 shell has a more oval shape, so the AHB really helped make the fit feel right.
Finishing out the fit are two sets of pads for varying cushion/weight. There is a continuous pad across the forehead to help keep sweat out of the eyes, as well as three top pads. The helmet is secured under the chin with a standard buckle and adjustable strap separators keep the straps off the ears. All the built-in adjustability makes for a very customizable fit that is quick to set up and very comfortable.
Ventilation – 22 Vents Gulp Air
Manufacturers always tout the number of helmet vents as an indication of excellent airflow, but the placement and size of those vents is more important than the actual number. With ‘only’ 22 vents the Lazer G1 is well behind other helmets that have 30+ vents, but the G1’s ventilation is superb. The huge vents gulp air, and the channeling in the foam shell allows that air to flow over the entire head and out the back of the helmet. With most of my testing in cooler weather, I could really feel the cold air flowing around my head. Even on slow climbs the cooling was very effective.
It is worth noting that I tested the non-MIPS version and that typically the addition of a MIPS liner can negatively affect the venting performance. The degree of venting reduction depends on how well the liner holes match up with the helmet vents. Lazer does have a 60-day money back guarantee, so if you go for a MIPS version and aren’t happy with the air flow, you can return it.
One thing big vents are not good at is aerodynamics. For those times when you want an aero advantage, the G1 can be outfitted with Lazer’s Aeroshell (sold separately). This super thin and light plastic shell snaps onto the G1 and covers everything except the rear vents and the ARS dial. The Aeroshell is also great for wet/cold rides and I’ve put it to extensive use during the last few months. The Aeroshell is solid and non-collapsible — not something you could carry in your jersey pocket in case of rain showers or a surprise time trial.
Classic Looks, A Little Bulky
From an aesthetic perspective, the G1 is a good-looking helmet with pretty classic styling, but the foam shell does appear to be a little thicker than other helmets which leads to a slightly bulbous look. The shell thickness is especially noticeable at the forehead, with the sides being of more typical thickness. All helmets look bulbous to some extent, and I think the G1 looks good. But if you must have the most svelte helmet, the G1 might not be for you.
The marketing of this helmet as superlight might only appeal to a small subset of cyclists, but the reality is that this is a great, no compromises helmet that just happens to be lightweight too. The Lazer G1 shines in fit, comfort, and ventilation. Extra safety is available with the MIPS version and extra aero performance with the Aeroshell. It is by no means cheap, but for a top of the line helmet in today’s market it is a relative value. And with a 60-day money back guarantee and crash replacement program (50% off MSRP), Lazer has got you covered.