Thursday, March 07, 2013

Product review: Lazer Street Helmet - Belgian Chocolate

So after a bad experience of: drinking and bicycling and bouncing my already scarred and dented noggin off the sidewalk about a fortnight ago (no blood this time, just a wide knot on my upper left temple which healed up after consuming a large amount of steak) I finally broke down and bought a helmet.

I had been looking at helmets all over the internet but only idly.  So I went to The Bike Shop and had a RL look.  Now I had been leaning towards a Nutcase Sharkshin Matte (which I still kind of want due to color and lack of labels on the helmet) but since I was there I saw and picked up the Lazer Street Belgium Chocolate.

Not having worn a helmet before (pfft, helmets in the late 80s, early 90s?  Sure if you were some kind of a wussy momma's boy) I wasn't sure what to look for.  I knew I didn't want one of those fancy alien helmets the Spandex riders wear (good on them for being hardcore and aerodynamic but neither article of clothing would work for me).  I knew I wanted something simple and not a feminine color.  Basically it was either blue, pink, or the Belgium Chocolate (which was at the very bottom of the stack of helmets - and a little dusty).  Considering I  mainly wear earth tones, brown it was.

What I didn't know is that there are single impact and multiple impact styles of helmets.  I'm not sure how the design style or code works for each type but I didn't see much point in spending money on something that I'd have to replace after one good knock (though I plan to do my best to only bike sober from now on).

I also vaguely knew the size of my head in cm.  I had recently had my head measured, I don't remember why now, but I think I have almost a 28" noggin which makes it a large.  Not quite an orange on a toothpick but it is a cinder block head.  The Lazer large comes with two sets of inserts to help fit the helmet to your head, one thicker and one thinner, they attach by velcro and are super simple to switch out (I did this while waiting at the counter).  The chin strap was a little trickier to get right (probably because I hadn't monkey'd with one before).

I'm not sure what the upsides are supposed to be for a helmet but I can tell you what I like about it.  It's pretty comfy and once I got the chin strap right feels fairly secure.  The vents actually keep my head cooler than when I ride without it so the circulation is good.  My forehead actually gets cooled down pretty well and the foam insert things seem to soak up a good amount of sweat which would normally pour down my face and blind me.  It is a pretty light helmet (450g or less than 1lb for us non-metric people) but the weight is comfortable and I feel that it's study enough not to shatter (it's also a multiple impact helmet).  "And I even like the color."

The downsides are not really downsides but I can see them becoming problems in the future.  The first is, even with the inserts and chin strap secured it still feels a little loose.  Perhaps loose is not the correct word, maybe not entirely secure.  When I shake my head the helmet shifts a little.  Not much but it makes me worry about my head if worst case scenario happens.  I guess if I had a full head of hair then it might be more secure but I ain't got hair.  I might try a medium for the next helmet.  I also thought a bike helmet would have more of a hardhat/military style webbing suspension on the interior for it to rest on the head.  There is also a lot of text on it, which I plan to cover with Hooliganyouth stickers anyway so it's not a huge deal.  Additionally the dings and scrapes just from carrying the thing, chucking in a basket, etc. are pretty visible.  Again not a huge deal but if it was a matte finish it wouldn't be as apparent.

All in all I'm happy with my purchase - which came in around the average $60 mark for this kind of helmet.  I feel quite a bit better riding with a helmet than without.  It's not that I'm an old lady, it's that I can't afford a visit to the hospital.

Hope that you and yours are well fed and not letting life get you too down.  Ride safe and if you operate a motor vehicle stop pulling halfway into crosswalks and driveway, indicate your turns, and for the love of bacon do not wave me on when I can see cross traffic coming on fast.  Oh, and texting drivers delenda est.

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