LifeBEAM Helmet Review
The final issue is perhaps the biggest for LifeBEAM. The helmet is based on the Lazer Genesis, which will immediately gain it plenty of fans as they are a popular brand. However, that’s also one of the major drawbacks of this innovative lid, as it’s only available as part of the Lazer Genesis. Were it available for retro fitting to all helmets then it would be a sure fire winner and we could see cyclists binning their chest straps left, right and centre.
And that’s the rub. Just how bothered about chest straps are you? Enough to invest in a different helmet to your usual brand? Would you switch to a Lazer Genesis helmet in order to do away with that annoying bit of elastic round your upper body?
Opinions of cyclists we showed it to were mixed and the responses telling. Everyone was interested in the helmet, though some I talked to, many of them users of Lazer helmets already, were very, very interested and keen to know more, whereas wearers of other helmets soon drifted out of the conversation when it became clear that a brand change was required to benefit from the technology. The Genesis is not the top of the range Lazer helmet either, which again will be an issue for some pro-wannabes.
Those issues aside, any buyer would already be a Lazer user or accept that a switch over to Lazer helmets is on the cards. They are great helmets and are used by many pro teams. It’s also used by the legend Dave ‘Bruce’ Berkeley who just set a new world record for the greatest distance covered by bicycle in a month, with nearly 10,000 kilometers covered in 31 days. Given the hours he spends in the saddle, if there’s anyone who would choose a comfortable lid, it’s Bruce.
Unlike Bruce, whilst I’ve been doing this review, I’ve been swapping helmets around a lot. The helmets have all been very different with very specific aims, whether it be aero, lightweight, well vented or whatever. The LifeBEAM is not specifically aero nor lightweight but despite that it has quickly become my go to helmet for training; I look at the row of helmets and everytime I am going training I grab the LifeBEAM. It is a very easy choice to make.
In races I seem to be more willing to wear a chest strap with an aero lid than in training where, because it provides the option to not use a chest strap, I reach for the LifeBEAM time and again. That’s not to say I haven’t raced in it, as I have, and I can see it being a great option for that as well, though the extra weight of the brain box may be an issue for some in the world of racing. A standard Genesis weighs in at about 280g, whereas the LifeBEAM version weighs in at 359g, but for most of us, what’s 79g when you weigh 79 kilos!
Apart from that, there’s lots to like as the LifeBEAM looks great, has a snug, aero-ish fit with a noticeably narrower frontal profile than others – Lazer call this a ‘low compact profile’ – and there’s plenty of vents, 19 in total, to keep you cool. It’s a bit of a do-it-all lid making it easy to live with.
When first wearing it does take a bit of getting used to, as the helmet floats above your head like no other I have used, thanks to the clever rollsys system. This is a ‘cage’ which hugs your head well below the level of the hard protective shell. As a result the hardshell part can be moved from side to side with ease. This may seem odd but makes perfect sense when it comes to providing protection, by helping to dissipate forces in the event of a crash. It’s similar to the system used by other companies but is just more floaty. I like it a lot. The rollsys adjustment is via a wheel mounted in the top of the helmet which is much more easily accessible than other brand’s tensioning systems.
So all that brings me back to think about who should consider this helmet? Well anyone who needs a new helmet and uses a heart rate monitor, in theory. In practice, if you fit the previous category and like Lazer helmets, then definitely take a long look at the LifeBEAM. If you’re already a Genesis user then it’ll be an even easier decision, assuming you want to ditch the chest strap.
If you are open to buying a new brand of helmet, perhaps dissatisfied with your current lid, then you won’t be disappointed by the Lazer, nor by the LifeBEAM’s enhancements.
Perhaps most telling of all is that I will no doubt continue to reach for a dedicated aero lid come race day, as it certainly gives me a psychological lift if nothing else, but on any other given ride day, I’ll be wearing the LifeBEAM – and no chest strap!
LifeBEAM Helmet $229.00
Gallery continued overleaf…