After celebrating 100 years of producing safety headgear in 2020, Belgian helmet-maker Lazer upped its line of performance lids with a mid-priced offering that draws on decades of cycling experience. Experience that can be found with their sponsorship of Team Jumbo-Visma with the brand’s lightest helmet to date, the 225-gram G1, as well as the Z1 and the aero-oriented Bullet 2.0.
MIPS technology was developed by Swedish researchers Hans von Holst and Peter Halldin in an effort to understand the causes of severe trauma the brain experiences during a crash and minimize it. They found rotational forces were more common in real-world crashes than the head-on forces that are typically used in helmet safety tests.
Their novel research revealed that adding a layer between the helmet and the head to absorb the angular forces experienced during a crash greatly reduced severe head trauma. They named the new layer the Multi-directional Impact Protection System, or MIPS for short.
The Sphere was intended to deliver a comfortable, aesthetically pleasing helmet with MIPS technology that is less expensive than WorldTour-level lids. Our medium Sphere weighs 299 grams and is intended to fit sizes 55–59cm. Instead of the two or three sizes most helmet brands offer, Lazer has four sizes with five colors options.
A low-profile EPS foam polycarbonate nylon construction is paired with the MIPS liner and secured by Lazer’s proprietary and unique Advanced Rollsys System (ARS). The ARS is a staple for Lazer helmets, thanks to its range of adjustability and the snug fit it offers. Eighteen vents are linked through shallow interior channels to accommodate airflow. The six front vents are positioned at a 15-degree angle to promote ventilation at the most common riding position.
Fitting the Sphere takes some getting used to as Lazer’s ARS fit system is tightened through the thumb wheel atop the helmet instead of a traditional rear dial. The rear head cradle offers 5cm of vertical adjustability, and once set in the proper position, the ARS secures the helmet with pressure dispersed around the head much more evenly than traditional rear dials. Properly aligning the helmet straps is key as well, as they are flappy out of the box.
Most noticeable is how well-designed the ventilation is. Air is channeled through the front, and heat escapes through the four central vents and out the rear. Lazer offers a snap-on aeroshell accessory for the Sphere. For an additional $23, the aero shell covers nearly all of the vents to improve aerodynamics and add protection from poor weather conditions. Padding is well-positioned to minimize snagging on the MIPS liner and holds sweat well in the front; in other words, when the pads swelled with sweat, it dripped mostly off to the sides rather than streaming down the center.
One fault we found was in the eyewear docking design. It was hard to push most of the sunglasses we had into the proper position. The temples of the glasses would get caught in the MIPS liner and required some wrestling to settle into place. But once in position, the glasses were securely stowed.
With our eye on the market, looking around at other sub-$200 helmets, it’s hard to beat the overall quality of the Sphere MIPS. Lazer does offer a non-MIPS version of the Sphere for $20 less, but given the proven safety qualities MIPS provides, we don’t recommend passing up the extra protection.
The Sphere MIPS places high on our list of bang-for-the-buck helmets. Top-notch ventilation, a low-profile design and a retention system that provides a precise fit add up for an all-condition helmet ideal for everyday riding. Add to it their lifetime crash-replacement policy (50-percent discount) and the Sphere brings even more polish. ν
More than two sizes helps ensure a precise fit
Proprietary Rollsys, plus MIPS
Weight: 299 grams
Sizes: S, M (tested), L, XL