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Lazer Z-1 MIPS Review: The Best Road Bike Helmets of 2020 – Cycling Helmet Reviews

1B Pick for Best All-Around Premium Road Bike Helmet of 2020

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Aerodynamics 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Price: $219.95

Weight: 284g

Vents: 31

Fit System: ARS Advanced Rollsys System

Safety Tech: MIPS, T Pro

What We Like: MIPS, T Pro, Highly Adjustable, Magneto Eyewear Doc

What We Don’t: Heavy, High MSRP

The Lazer Z-1 MIPS is an unmistakable helmet with a unique look and unique features to boot. While it sits in a very crowded niche of premium road bike helmets, competing with the likes of the Giro Synthe, Giro Aether, and POC Ventral Spin, the Lazer Z-1 MIPS holds its own with a unique combination of protection, aerodynamics, comfort, and one-off features.

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Compare to Similar Products

See Our The Best Road Bike Helmets of 2020: Cycling Helmet Review!

POC Ventral SPIN

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 90% 90%
  • Aerodynamics 100% 100%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

Unparalleled Combination of Weight

Safety

Ventilation

Cons

Price

Weight: 280g

Vents: 14

Fit System: Proprietary 360 Degree Retention System

Safety Tech: SPIN

Giro Synthe MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Pros

Highly Adjustable

Well Ventilated

Aerodynamic

Great Sale Prices

Cons

MSRP is Nearly as Expensive as the POC Ventral Spin

Weight: 268g

Vents: 26

Fit System: Roc Loc 5 Air

Safety Tech: MIPS

Lazer Z-1 MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Aerodynamics 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 90% 90%

Pros

MIPS

T Pro

Highly Adjustable

Magneto Eyewear Doc

Cons

Heavy

High MSRP

Weight: 284g

Vents: 31

Fit System: ARS Advanced Rollsys System

Safety Tech: MIPS, T Pro

Giro Aether MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 100% 100%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

MIPS Spherical

Roc Loc 5+ Air Fit Retention System

Cons

Staggering Price Tag

Weight: 267g

Vents: 11

Fit System: Roc Loc 5+ Air

Safety Tech: MIPS Spherical

Smith Trace MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 70% 70%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 100% 100%

Pros

Top of the Line Safety Features

Improved Ventilation Over Smith Overtake

Cons

Still Not the Best Ventilation

Price

Weight: 280g

Vents: 18

Fit System: VaporFit

Safety Tech: MIPS, Koroyd

Giro Foray MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 80% 80%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 80% 80%

Pros

Premium Features at a Budget Price

Cons

Doesn’t Vent or Fit Quite Like the Giro Synthe

Weight: 298g

Vents: 21

Fit System: Roc Loc 5

Safety Tech: MIPS

Bell Stratus MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 60% 60%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 70% 70%

Pros

Premium Features in a Mid Priced Helmet

Cons

Lacks Some of the Safety Features of the Bell Z20 MIPS

Weight: 296g

Vents: 18

Fit System: Float Fit

Safety Tech: MIPS

Kask Valegro

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 90% 90%
  • Ventilation 100% 100%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Lightweight

Great Ventilation

Cons

No MIPS

Issues With Octo Fit Retention System

Weight: 234g

Vents: 37

Fit System: Octo Fit

Safety Tech: In Molding, MIT

Kask Protone

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 80% 80%
  • Weight 80% 80%
  • Ventilation 70% 70%
  • Aerodynamics 90% 90%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Highly Adjustable

Aerodynamic

Cons

No MIPS

Falls Short of the Giro Synthe’s Adjustability and Ventilation

Weight: 248g

Vents: 20

Fit System: Octo Fit

Safety Tech: In Molding, MIT

Bell Z20 MIPS

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 90% 90%
  • Weight 50% 50%
  • Ventilation 80% 80%
  • Aerodynamics 70% 70%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 80% 80%

Pros

Float Fit Race Retention System

Ventilation

Cons

Weight

Nowhere to Stash Sunglasses

Weight: 305g

Vents: 18

Fit System: Float Fit Race 

Safety Tech: MIPS

Kask Mojito X

  • Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability 70% 70%
  • Weight 100% 100%
  • Ventilation 60% 60%
  • Aerodynamics 60% 60%
  • Safety Tech and Additional Features 50% 50%

Pros

Solid Performer in Every Category

Cons

Doesn’t Vent or Fit Quite Like the Giro Synthe

Weight: 220g

Vents: 26

Fit System: Up & Down Fit System

Safety Tech: MIT, In Molding

Comfort, Fit, and Adjustability

The Lazer Z-1 MIPS road helmet uses Lazer’s Advanced Rollsys System, ARS for short, to give it a great range of adjustability. Rather than being adjusted by a dial on the back of the helmet, like every other road bike helmet that we reviewed, the Lazer’s ARS system uses a rod mounted anchor to increase or decrease the retention band. This is mounted on the top of the helmet and is easy to reach. However, you will probably find yourself reaching for a dial in the back of the helmet for the first few rides.

Meanwhile, the cradle itself does not mount at the temples. Instead, it wraps all the way around your head, and anchors at two points near the top of the helmet. Like the full wrap Roc Loc Air retention of the Giro Synthe, this makes for a widely adjustable helmet without hotspots at the temples, which are all too frequent after tightening many road helmets.

Inside the helmet, X-Static padding is minimal but well placed. Like the X-Static padding on the Bell Z20, it is sparse enough to keep your head from overheating, but it is placed in just the right places to provide padding where you need it.

Meanwhile, the unique Y buckles at the ears create a large ear hole and are among the most effective and easiest to adjust out of all of the helmets that we reviewed.

Weight

There was bound to be a bit of a rub with such a great helmet that does everything. According to Lazer, the Z-1 weighs in at a feathery 225g, but our testing put it closer to 285g. How big of a deal is this? For us, not a very big deal at all. The Z-1 makes up for its slight disadvantage in the weight category almost everywhere else, and when you consider that it has a ~30g MIPS liner in it, the weight really isn’t all that bad, at least in our eyes.

Ventilation

There seems to be a direct connection between helmets with a great retention system and great ventilation, and the Lazer Z-1 MIPS road bike helmet fits that category. Its 31 vents were designed to maximize airflow across your head at both high and low speeds. Like the Kask Valegro, maximizing ventilation was the driving force behind the design of the Lazer Z-1 MIPS and its vents, rather than maximizing aerodynamics. This pays off in the form of one of the best-ventilated road bike helmets on the market. 

Safety Tech and Additional Features

Of course, the Lazer Z-1 MIPS road helmet sports a MIPS insert, as you might expect from its name. In addition to this, the Lazer Z-1 also employs what Lazer calls T Pro, which is marketing speak for temple protection. If you have ever been bothered by the way many road bike helmets perched high on your head, leaving far too much of your squishy temples exposed, then the Lazer Z-1 helmet is going to be right up your alley. The Z-1’s shell has been extended to provide temple coverage that is generally only found in mountain bike helmets.

We promised that the Lazer Z-1 MIPS would offer unique features and, along with the ARS retention system, Lazer’s Magneto eyewear dock is about as unique as they come. Most cyclists have encountered some type of issue related to the arms of their sunglasses at some point. Often, it is just the pressure of the arms against your head after long periods of time. Other times, the sunglass arms might actually interfere with your helmet’s straps or retention system, although this tends to be more of an issue with mountain bike helmets than road bike helmets.

The Lazer Magneto Eyewear Dock solves these issues by doing away with sunglass arms altogether. This is done by using a magnet attached to the chin strap, and another magnet attached to the shortened arm of Lazer Magneto sunglasses. The two magnets attach to each other and hold your sunglasses in place without the issues caused by arms against your head or helmet.

Of course, this only works with Lazer’s own Magneto compatible eyewear, but it is a great setup for cyclists who struggle to get along with the arms on their sunglasses.

Aerodynamics

As we mentioned, the Lazer Z-1 MIPS was designed with ventilation as the primary goal, rather than aerodynamics. However, adding to the unique style and ideology of the Lazer Z-1, Lazer offers the Aeroshell. This is a small, lightweight plastic shell molded to snap perfectly over the Z-1. This covers its vent holes but is a unique solution for riders who want to shave a few seconds off of their time trial times without having to purchase a second helmet. 

The Bottom Line

The Lazer Z-1 MIPS is a true contender among the crowded lineup of premium road bike helmets that we reviewed. Its safety, ventilation, comfort, and adjustability are all top notch. Meanwhile, it offers some of the most unique features and styling of any helmet that we reviewed. In the end, we would basically call it a push between the Lazer Z-1 MIPS and the Giro Synthe for the best overall road bike helmet in the sub $250 price range. Like the Synthe, the  Lazer Z-1 MIPS retails for just over $250, but sale prices can be found for under $180. While the Synthe is lighter and a bit more aerodynamic, the ARS retention system and unique features of the Lazer Z-1 MIPS will undoubtedly speak to many cyclists.

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We participate in affiliate programs to help us fund Gear Hacker. Some of the links in this website are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product using our link, we will earn a small commission. Don’t worry! This comes at no additional cost to you, and we will never base our reviews on whether or not we earn a commission off of a product. With that said, if you find our review helpful and decide to purchase an item we review, we would be very appreciative if you use our links to do so. It will help us bring you more awesome content in the future!