Lazer Genesis LifeBEAM helmet£199.99

Wireless heart rate built right in, no strap required

BikeRadar score3.5/5

If you're tired of chest straps but still want to know your heart rate while riding, there are a few good options out there. The Lazer Genesis LifeBEAM, however, slickly integrates an opto-electrical sensor right into a helmet that not only reads your heart rate just like a traditional setup but in some senses, actually works even better.

    The Genesis LifeBEAM starts out as a standard Genesis helmet with additional hardware added in. A sensor is positioned right at your forehead to detect the pulsing of blood, while a small electronics box at the back of the helmet wirelessly transmits the signal via ANT+ to any number of compatible devices. In essence, it's much like the little fingertip sensor used by hospitals but in a different location.

    LifeBeam's smart sensor measures your heart rate using an optical sensor that detects the pulsing of blood in your forehead - not unlike fingertip pulse oximeters used in hospitals. it works very well at detecting heart rate but the solid browpad restricts airflow relative to the standard lazer genesis helmet:

    The sensor is positioned right against your forehead

    Setup is brutally simple. Just turn on the helmet, put it on, and then tell your compatible device to search for a heart rate signal. Afterward, you just need to fire up the system and your heart rate is instantly detected as soon as you put the helmet on – and we mean instantly.

    Whereas traditional heart rate straps typically need some degree of moisture in order to read the minute electrical pulses from your heart (which can occasionally take a while, especially in cold conditions), the LifeBEAM has no such delay. Long-time heart rate strap wearers might also find it surprisingly refreshing after so many years of regular use to not have that constricting elastic band around your chest.

    A blue led indicator light is built into the back of the unit and is used during pairing, charging, and other functions:

    The electronics box at the back of the helmet houses a small rechargeable battery, the wireless transmitter, and a blue LED indicator

    We also found LifeBEAM's 15-hour claimed battery life is be just about spot-on and, at 315g, it's – somewhat remarkably – 4g lighter than a standard Genesis we used for comparison here in the BikeRadaroffice.

    All of the features we usually like about the Genesis carry over, too, including a trim outer profile, Lazer's comfy RollSys retention system, and compatibility with the snap-on Aeroshell cover.

    The lazer genesis lifebeam starts out as a standard genesis helmet but israeli company lifebeam then adds in a slick integrated heart rate monitor:

    From the outside, there's little to give away the fact that you've got a heart rate monitor on your head

    One thing that's unfortunately missing, though, is the Genesis's reasonably good ventilation. The LifeBEAM add-on's solid, gel-like browpad noticeably restricts airflow in that critical area and the electronics box blocks an exhaust port at the back of the helmet.

    As a result, the Genesis LifeBEAM wouldn't be our first choice for riding in hot weather, especially if it's also humid or if your rides regularly include steep climbing.

    From the outside, there's little to indicate that you've got a heart rate monitor on your head:

    The additional electronics box does block one of the rear vents, however

    Lazer also only offers the Genesis LifeBEAM in two sizes, and you'd better like white/silver as it's the only option offered at present. There's also the question of any potential long-term side effects from having an ANT+ wireless transmitter situated right at the base of your brain and, as the LifeBEAM sensor needs to be in direct contact with your skin, you can't easily wear a cap when the mercury drops.

    All things considered, the US$250 / £199.99 price is fairly reasonable – US$75 / £75 more than a standard Genesis – but that's probably still too much if all you're looking to do is ditch the chest strap. Riders who still use heart rate and are already in the market for a new helmet, though, should give this one a close look.

    James Huang

    Technical Editor, US
    James started as a roadie in 1990 with his high school team but switched to dirt in 1994 and has enjoyed both ever since. Anything that comes through his hands is bound to be taken apart, and those hands still sometimes smell like fork oil even though he retired from shop life in 2007. He prefers manual over automatic, fizzy over still, and the right way over the easy way.
    • Age: 40
    • Height: 173cm / 5'8"
    • Weight: 70kg / 154lb
    • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
    • Preferred Terrain: Up in the Colorado high-country where the singletrack is still single, the dirt is still brown, and the aspens are in full bloom. Also, those perfect stretches of pavement where the road snakes across the mountainside like an artist's paintbrush.
    • Beer of Choice: Mexican Coke
    • Location: Boulder, Colorado, USA

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