For 2012 Lazer Helmets offer a new line of eyewear, a revamped range of ‘bucket’ lids, updates to the Rollsys adjustment system found on the Nirvana and Oasiz mountain bike helmets and the incorporation of the MIPS protection system into their children’s line.
Sharp eyes have already seen Lazer eyewear popping up on the faces of sponsored pros. The company started development roughly a year ago and will offer five models this fall; three offer interchangeable lenses, one's a basic fixed-lens sport model and there's an off-the-bike model, too. All of the eyewear is named, appropriately, after laser beams: Argon, Electron and Solid State head the performance line, with the Xenon at the entry level and Quantum for fashion.
Lazer's Solid State, Argon, and Electron
The three performance glasses come with clear, yellow and dark lenses, a hard case and microfiber cleaning bag. All of the glasses come with polycarbonate lenses. The Argon and Electron represent Lazer’s premium line and are equipped with Carl Zeiss lenses.
These models also have two photochromatic options (not from Zeiss): clear to smoke for a 75% to 25% light transmission change, and brown to dark brown Melanin for a 30% to 12% transmission. Lazer call their photochromatic technology ‘Melanin’, which is said to work like a synthetic version of skin pigmentation.
All of the glasses feature Grilamid frames and cost less than US$100. The Argon and Electron cost $70-80 with Zeiss lenses and $80-95 with the photochromatics. Solid State runs in the $70 range while the entry-level Xenon is just $40. The off-the-bike Quantum costs $50.
The big news for the current helmet line is the improved Rollsys fit system for the Nirvana and Oasiz mountain bike lids. This allows vertical adjustment, so riders can get the retention system down, lower, around the back of the skull for a more secure fit. With the previous system, these helmets sat high on the head. Lazer say the new design should give a feeling of being ‘in’ the helmet.
Lazer's new Rollsys adjustment
The Clash is a new entry-level helmet for the off-road set, with extra rear coverage. It comes in one shell size only, but with the Rollsys retention system. It's $40 cheaper than this year’s entry level 02 model, at $80.
Lazeer's new Clash, a mountain-specific model
Lazer are making a big push into the urban and dirt jumping markets for 2012 with a new three-helmet line of high-tech ‘brain buckets’. The Next ($40), Street ($50) and Armor ($70) models combine new shells, EPS liners with designed airflow features, and sealed pads with bucket styling.
The top of the line Armor model weighs just 280g, which is surprisingly light for this style of helmet. It offers all of the latest features including an in-molded shell with plastic reinforcement covering the lower part of the EPS liner and three shell sizes to aid in fit.
Lazer will offer a special edition in memory of Japan’s devastating earthquake on 11 March. Some 300-400 ‘Support Japan’ models will be made, with proceeds going to the International Red Cross to benefit victims. The benefit model will cost an extra $10 – $80. “We’re committed to not making any money on the helmets; all the profits will [go to the cause],” said Michael Pederson, Lazer’s US brand manager.
Lazer's 'Support Japan' Armor helmet
“One of Lazer’s biggest distributors is in Japan, Mike [Pederson] has a lot of friends in Japan and in today’s world there are so many distractions that once an event like this takes place it passes out of everyone’s mind a few weeks later,” added Christopher Smith, Lazer’s US marketing director. “So this isn’t just for our donation – it'll get people out riding with it and remind people that this is something that Japan continues to go through and will for a number of years.”
MIPS for Lazer’s kids’ helmets
While Lazer aren’t the first to incorporate the MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System), they are the first to bring it to children’s helmets. MIPS is designed to better protect a rider’s head from an oblique fall that has the potential to accelerate the brain within the skull. It emulates how the skull protects the brain by way of a liner that rotates at a lower friction with the head and absorbs any impact's rotational energy.
The MIPS system in Lazer's P'Nut helmet
Smith is interested to see how riders, or more specifically, the parents of young riders accept the technology because of the considerable expense it adds to the helmets. The MIPS system will be an option on both the P’Nut and Nut’z models for 2012; standard models run $60, while the MIPS equipped versions will cost $80.