02 October 2010

Lazer Tardiz TT Helmet Review

Back in June, I contacted the fine folks at Lazer Helmets to ask if they would be down with providing me with their TT Tardiz aero helmet for me to tryout, and review on my blog.

They were down. 

A few emails back and forth, and the next thing I knew, I was being asked for my head circumference in centimeters. After wifey and I broke out the measuring tape and wrapped it around my dome, I sent Lazer back an email with my head circumference.

You know that saying "beggars can't be choosers?" Yeah, well I never really subscribed to that point of view. So, I asked the folks at Lazer, if it were all the same to them, if they wouldn't mind sending me their Team Red White Blue helmet, because.... well.... it matches my bike, and it's super cool looking.

I waited patiently for my package to arrive. A couple of weeks went by, and I had not heard, or seen anything from Lazer. I sent an email to my new friend and asked if something had happened.

Did they accidentally find out that I am just an average age-grouper that is not very fast?

Had it been mailed, only to be confiscated by my mail carrier who wanted to get from house to house a little more quickly?

Then, one day, without any notice, I receive this package on my porch.

I was a bit eager to open it and find out what was inside.

It was like Christmas morning!

Mark had to try it out. Oh yeah, I'm aero

Adam also wanted to see how aero he would be on the floor of my living room. 

We both have rather strange form, I would say. I am completely upright, and Adam keeps his legs tucked behind his butt. That's how he rolls. 

After a few minutes of trying out the helmet, we realized that we were not that fast. Apparently, we forgot to turn it on. 

Oh, yeah... that's much better. I feel much faster now. 

Okay, for you hardcore data junkies—here are the technical specs:

Fit System:
Rollsys® Retention System
In-Mold (2 pieces)
6 vents + Aquavent
395g (XSS-M)

Now, I lifted the following descriptions of the helmet right from their website. They call this their Lazer Advantage:

Lazer Advantage
Turn me on! Simply control the size and the comfort by turning the wheel on the top of the helmet.
Minimum weight.
Colored Straps
The color of the straps has been aligned to the helmet color.
Channeled Ventilation
Internal ventilation channels for optimum airflow.
Ventilation port on the top of the helmet to disperse water over the head.
Wind tunnel tested for maximum airflow.
X-static Paddings
Antimicrobal and temperature regulating padding system.
Air channels built into the front of the Rollsys belt and pad for optimal airflow.
Perforated helmet padding to distribute water over the head via Aquavent.
Dual Layer Aerodynamics.
Head-Down Aerodynamics
Optimal aerodynamics while riding with head down.
Now, my official review of the Lazer Tardis helmet:

Comfortability:  zeer comfortabel! (Dutch for "very comfortable:" Lazer's headquarters are in Belguim)

I have tried a number of aero helmets that did not feel quite as comfortable as this helmet, or do not breath in the same way without sacrificing friction. The Lazer helmet allows for what I consider to be an decent amount of airflow through the vents onto your dome. The top of the helmet allows you to pour water right down into the vent if you want to cool your head. One of the innovative features of the helmet is its perfopad—a perforated helmet padding–which distributes water across your head evenly. 

The helmet is not an "aero furnace" like other ones I have worn. I have had some friends tell me that they wished they hadn't worn their aero helmet at their Iron distance events this summer because they felt like they heads were baking on the course. Unlike some other aero helmet models I have worn, the straps are not ridiculously obtrusive. I don't know if any of you have that problem, but it drives me insane when the strap feels funky on my face. I know it has something to do with the lengths not being equal on both sides—or something. Whatever the case, I don't want to spend time before every ride adjusting my helmet. 

Design: Lazer offers six different design on their website. I really dig the Tardiz design, which is part of the reason that I contacted Lazer, instead of some of the other leading manufacturers. 

The other reason I was interested in contacting Lazer is because I see far less of these helmets at triathlons in the U.S. than I do other models, and I think it is important to bring an awareness of great gear at a reasonable price. I was surprised to find out that Lazer has actually been making helmets for the past 95 years, and they recently won the prestigious 2010 Eurobike Award for one of their innovative helmet designs. 

The Rollsys® is actually a pretty cool feature. It saves time in transition, because you can get on your bike and start pedaling out of T1 while adjusting your fit with a free hand as you go. 
Price: At an average MSRP around $175, the Lazer Tardis comes in under many of the leading comparable models. 
The Spiuk Kronos: MSRP $229.99
Louis Garneau Rocket: MSRP $179.99
Rudy Project Syton Supercomp: $180
The First Ride: My very first ride in my new Lazer helmet was on one of those incredibly, brutally windy days where you look down at your speedometer, only to realize that you are going two or three miles per hours slower than you would normally average—I do not have legs like Chris Lieto—I go slower in that kind of wind. 

One of the first things I noticed was how QUIET it was. What does that mean? 

You know those incredibly windy days, when you are put your head down, and just try to trudge through to the turnaround, so you can fire like a missile out of a silo. I hear SO much noise and the wind is going past my ears. 

I hear considerably less wind with the Lazer Tardis—even with my head down. I am not quite sure how the dimples on the back of my helmet work for aerodynamic airflow, as I am not a physicist (like my nephew Michael, who is a part-time physicist.) All I know is, even the sound of the wind rushing past your ears can have an amazing involuntary psychological effect on your performance. Clearly, it is NOT all psychosomatic. I mean, less noise means less friction. Duh. 

You will not only look wicked fast, you will be wicked fast. 
Just look at this fast dude on Cookie Monster.

In his article titled Aero Helmets: Cheap Speed, Jordan Rapp talks about the advantage of racing with an aero helmet:

Racing with an aerohelmet can make a big difference in how much drag you generate on your bike. Aerohelmets work because of two things, their smooth covering (none of those massive vents of your regular road helmet) and their long profiles. How much an aerohelmet benefits you will be determined, to some extent, by your position on the bike.
If you are sitting up into the wind on regular road bars, then a piar of aerobars probably should be your first investment. But if you can ride comfortably on the aerobars, an aerohelmet is the cheapest way to gain some free speed. When you consider that you need to race in a CPSC-certified helmet in the US, meaning that your aerohelmet must be as good at protecting your brain as your regular helmet, you can actually gain speed totally almost for free, since you could get away with only owning one helmet.

I will leave you with the words of Jordan Rapp once again, who said  "One thing I hear from people say often about aero helmets is that “they look stupid.” I don’t really know what to say to this one, except to say that nothing looks cooler than going fast. 

Look stupid—go fast!  That's my new motto.

If any of you are looking at going stupid fast next season, I highly recommend picking up the Lazer Tardiz helmet. It's cool looking, cool on your head, and reasonably priced for an lightweight aero helmet. 


Alexa said...

oh my god Mark.. did you not bother to wrap your bars before Ironman? my hands would have died!

RockStarTri said...

One of my friends used a LASER for IMLP and is a big fan. We, of course, could only reference it with air quotes aka Dr. Evil from Austin powers. Just something to think about...

Jeff - DangleTheCarrot said...

Thanks Mark, you know I was waiting for that!! Gonna have to see if I can get one to match my bike too?

Kathleen said...

I have been waiting for this review as I was sure it would give my a better perspective about aero helmets. It did. Glad you are enjoying yours! :)

Julie @ "Hotlegs Runner" said...

Thanks for passing by my blog! =)

You look really happy when opening that delivery! Lucky you! =)

I'm gonna add you to my blogroll. I need to read your blog to guide me through training for my first tri next year. =)

Mark said...

Ironmen don't wrap bars you wussy.

Just kidding. I did not wrap my bars. Alas, my hands have survived. I think I am getting a new handlebar. My third one in less than three months. Hooray!

Kevin said...

It may be a fast helmet but it also makes the person wearing it look ridiculous. :-)


Trevor and Heather Wurtele said...

Nice bike too!!

cheap helmet said...

this type of helmets mostly use for cycle riding and swimming.