Announced on the eve of the 2019 UCI World Road Cycling Championships, the Lazer Genesis represents the latest flagship helmet in the Belgian brands’ range of high-performance road helmets. Adorning the heads of WorldTour pro teams, cycling enigma’s such as Mathieu van der Poel, Primoz Roglic and as of late 2019, our nowhere near as talented blog editor, the new Genesis promises to be more aero and ventilated than the outgoing Z1 all while being supremely comfortable.
So with thanks to Shimano Australia, we’ve spent the last few months putting the Genesis through its paces to see how it fares in the real world.
Who’s it for? Dedicated riders looking for a top-quality helmet that balances ventilation, aero efficiency and comfort.
What we liked: Out of the box comfort, interior shape and ventilation qualities.
What we didn’t: Heavier than its rivals despite the lightweight claims and the retention system won’t appease all-comers.
Related Reading: The Ultimate Helmet Buyer’s Guide
Resetting the Bar
Lazer is the world’s oldest helmet company, having started out making old leather hairnets for Belgian hardmen racing steel bicycles over cobbled farm roads back in 1919. With over 100 years of experience, passion and dedication coursing through the veins of the company, Lazer is always trying to create the perfect mix between design, comfort, safety and technology.
With the Genesis, Lazer claims it has reset the bar for a top-level performance cycling helmet. With a lighter weight, improved ventilation and an emphasis on comfort, the Belgian outfit hasn’t built on the strengths of its outgoing predecessor, the Z1, its evolved it into a do-it-all lid that’s bang on-trend and versatile enough for everything from road riding, CX racing, XC shredding, gravel grinding, and everything in between.
The Genesis is available in Australia both with (AU$349) and without (AU$299) MIPS, comes in three sizes; Small (52-56cm), Medium (55-59cm), Large (58-61cm), and four colours; White/Black, Matte Black, Matte Black/Gold and Matte Titanium.
Lightweight and Ventilated
Lazer claims that the Genesis is its lightest lid ever, and with a claimed weight of just 189g for a Size Small (non-MIPS) it’s easy to see why. Much of the reduced weight comes courtesy of a weight relieved retention system and a slimmer outer form. The revised shape provides a sleeker look than both the original Genesis and the outgoing Z1 which is sure to appease riders concerned about aesthetics. To achieve the slimmer form, Lazer has moved to in-form construction, where the inner foam and outer shell are heat shaped and bonded together as one unit. All-told the Genesis is claimed to be 25g lighter than the five-year-old Z1 it replaces and within spitting distance of its ventilated rivals such as the S-Works Prevail II and the Kask Vallegro.
Moving to ventilation and Lazer claims that during testing, the Genesis was 8% more efficient at transferring air over the head than riding with no helmet at all. This claim is thanks to revised internal ventilation ports at both the front and rear of the helmet that when riding at speed, is claimed to accelerate the airflow over the head, creating the cooling effect. Lazer isn’t the first manufacturer to utilise internal porting in this fashion, aero helmets such as the previously tested Giant Pursuit have used such efficient methods in the past.
On the scales, our Size M MIPS equipped lid tipped the scales at a commendable 275g, five grams under the claimed 280g as posted by the manufacturer on the box. While these figures are considerably more than the marketed claim of 189g, it’s worth noting that AS/NZS 2063 regulations that Australian helmets are reliant on are some of the strictest safety measures in the world as such manufacturers are often required to make tweaks to adhere to local standards, more often than not, resulting in a weight gain.
Safe and Comfortable
While the Belgian outfit has made a determined effort to lighten up its flagship lid, thankfully this hasn’t been achieved at the expense of safety. The MIPS rotational protection system has been successfully utilised by many brands across the industry for many years now. The Genesis makes use of the traditional slip plane under the padding of the helmet, as was the case for the MIPS equipped version of the outgoing Z1. The conventional slip plane protects the entirety of the head with a negligible effect on the ventilation.
The internal shape of the lid is more rounded than most other Euro lids such as those offered by MET and Kask, and more akin to the shapes offered by the likes of Bell or Specialized. Out of the box, all Genesis models ship with two levels of padding, race and comfort. The race padding is slimmer, and marginally more lightweight than the comfort-orientated padding, which is the opposite. For the sake of a few grams, we opted to use the comfort padding for the duration of the test.
Arguably having the most significant impact on the comfort of the lid is the Rollsys retention system. Rollsys was revolutionary when it was first unveiled on the original Genesis RS back in 2010, for the fact that it was one of the first retention systems that covered the whole head, rather than just the rear. With all-new Genesis, the Rollsys system continues to offer the same wire-based retention system and adjustable rear support. However, the system is now more lightweight, and ponytail friendly at the rear for those endowed with longer locks.
Since taking delivery of our Genesis in late 2019, we’ve ridden the Genesis in everything from baking hot summer days, driving rain, tricky crosswinds and ideal conditions. With around 1500km of riding with the Genesis perched atop my melon, I can confidently say that the Genesis lives up to all the marketing hype.
Upon taking delivery of our tester, when the Genesis out of its box, the first impression was one of refinement. The matte black outer shell is slick and unassuming; the interior padding looked to be thoughtfully dispersed, and the Rollsys retention system effortless to adjust. Aesthetically, the Genesis is much sleeker than Lazer helmets of the past. The subtle branding on the lid is a nice touch, ideal for fashion-focussed riders looking for a helmet that will fit with whatever kit is on rotation.
The helmet plays nicely with sunglasses, with ports on the lower side vent tucking away my shades nicely. The ports are deep enough for the arms not to foul on the MIPS liner inside and creates a secure hold.
Moving to comfort and this is arguably the trump card of the Genesis. I’ve been privileged enough to test many high-end helmets over the journey, but few have offered out of the box comfort quite like the Genesis. The internal shape suits my head well, the padding conforms around the bony protrusion on my bonce effortlessly and the retention system, in my opinion, is up there with the best on the market.
Adjusting the internal wire system is as simple as rolling the dial on top of the lid. The system doesn’t “click” into place like many other retention units on the head; instead it gradually encloses around the head. The result is a “barely there” feeling of comfort coupled with a reassuring level of support. This won’t appease all comers, however, as it doesn’t offer the same “locked-in” support as some of its competition, particularly those utilising a BOA retention system or similar.
The helmet straps are soft to the touch and easy to adjust. The straps are anchored seamlessly inside the helmet and provide ample adjustment room for your ears. I found that when tightening the chin straps there was a slight amount of leftover strap left flapping in the breeze, it’d be nice to have a more effective way to tuck away the excess strapping left over neatly.
While the feathery weight figure touted at launch was headline-grabbing, it came as no great surprise to learn that Australian models had gained a few grams to meet local standards. The actual weight figure brings the helmet back on par with its competition, which doesn’t mean the lid is hefty by any means, it just may not appease the weight weenies hoping for a sub 200g stack hat.
Much like any contact point or frequently used item on the bike, the best gear is often an item that simply does the job it's designed to do, doesn't alert you to its presence and allows you to get on with enjoying the ride. Lazer claims that the Genesis is a lid that riders will “forget they’re wearing”, and the marketing is correct. Simply put, if you only have room in the budget for one lid to rule them all, this should be high on the list. It’s supremely comfortable, ventilated enough to keep you fresh on hot days, and versatile enough to suit all your riding needs.
So if you’ve been looking to pull the trigger on a flagship helmet, or want experience what extending your budget affords you in the helmet world, the Genesis is worthy of your consideration, or at least, a test-fit at your local bike shop.
Regardless of what type of bike you ride, you’ll find a helmet to suit your needs here at BikeExchange. Check out our Helmet feature page to browse the latest lids on offer from leading independent retailers across the country.