SEVEN DAY CYCLIST
CYCLING, BUT NOT USUALLY RACING
LATEST UPDATE: MAY 30th
Lazer Chameleon Helmet
283g Medium Matt Blue as tested £59.99
The Lazer Chameleon Helmet is designed to bridge the gap between several genres of riding - commuting, touring and of course, gravel. Not a completely new concept and the aesthetic possibly a little too “trail” for traditional road riders. Nonetheless, the Chameleon lives up to its moniker, has some nice touches and rapidly became my go-to for general riding.
Pros: Lightweight, airy, nice specification given the price point, good performance on and off road, crash replacement scheme.
Cons: Polycarbonate shell doesn’t extend around the rim. Chin strap Q/R fiddlier than some.
The Chameleon is available in a choice of four matt colours. If matt blue’s not your thing, black, white, dark green, black/red are the alternatives. There is a MIPS version, which adds £20 to the asking price. For the unfamiliar, MIPS is basically a liner that works like a roll-cage to protect the head from rotational, twisting impacts.
The Advanced Rollsys adjustment system is designed to achieve a precise, unform fit around the head, avoiding pressure points, while offering unhindered exit for ponytails.
This adjusts via a knurled dial that nestles high at the back. Counter intuitive, coming from traditional thumbwheels but generally user friendly. Same goes for the quick release chin strap buckle.
There are thirteen large vents, and the rear panel is designed to accommodate an optional 20 lumen rear LED, which adds another £20 to the asking price and is very sleek. However, I’m pleased to report other models, including Magicshine Seemee (100, 180 and 200 lumen models) a perfectly good fit, ditto the slightly heavier and now discontinued Xeccon Mars 60.
Up front, a solid, well-executed peak is designed to offer protection from mud, dust, sun, wind and similar stuff, but more subtle than some pseudo/ cross country mountain bike models.
Compliant with CE EN1078, there’s a crash replacement scheme, giving a 50% discount on a like for like basis. Most of us would never want to be reliant on our lids and there are some conditions, but it’s a welcome touch, nonetheless.
All told, pretty much what I’ve come to expect from this end of the market, but in some regards, better executed. Weight for the medium is cited as 265g, 283 according to my scales-by no means portly and lighter than some competitors, including Pro-Viz Reflect 360 , which I still wear regularly.
The shape is also very flattering to different genres of bike and riding style-think commuter, tourer, crosser and gravel, while still blending quite nicely with street attire. Aside from the peak, the top section lends itself nicely to mounting action cameras, or lighting, including the mighty Sigma Buster HL 2000.
Lazer’s sizing guide is very accurate. The Advanced Rollys System and adjustable head basket are very user-friendly. Ours was ready to go in a minute - straight from the box. The thumbwheel’s size and location mean minute adjustments on the fly are trickier than more traditional thumbwheels, especially wearing winter-weight, full finger gloves. However, I’ve not needed to do this often, so a consideration, rather than deal-breaker.
’ve only noticed the Chameleon in the most positive sense through a decidedly wintry March. I’ve paired it with a traditional Belgian cap, when bitterly cold, but more typically these water repellent Showers Pass models, or a buff.
Thirteen large vents might not win bragging rights down the club house and it’s a little warmer than a feathery road model but still channels plenty of cooling air through the scalp. I’ve been belting along at 20odd mph for two to three hours on milder days without any overheating issues-they'll also allow rain in, hence the water- resistant, breathable cap.
Thankfully, no issues with painful “ice cream” headaches, or annoying wind noise when haring along blustery descents. The peak is similarly well configured. Its less extreme than some cross-country mountain bike models, meaning it’ll give your eyes a sporting chance against rain, wind, dust sun, sleet-especially if you’ve forgotten your glasses.
Crucially, it hasn’t hindered my ability to scan traffic, look over my shoulder etc. Oh, and to date it’s been similarly useful along single track and bridlepath where there’s a good chance of being ambushed by rogue thorns and brambles.
As I said while discussing the specification, the shape is very conducive to mounting high power lights, further confirming its trail capabilities, although the added weight was noticeable initially and after a few hours.
It’s easy to get a little cynical when it comes to claims made about adjustment/safety systems, but I'm pleased to report the Advanced Rollys system and Adjustable Head Basket has caressed my head uniformly well. No issues with pressure points and while I seldom use rider mounted luggage these days, it hasn’t caught cycling specific models, such as this Oxford Aqua Evo 12 Litre Backpack .
While careful with the helmet, I’ve not babied it either. The inevitable everyday cut n’ thrust of everyday, mixed terrain riding haven’t left any obvious calling cards in the polycarbonate shell, or EPS liner alike. No fraying or similar deterioration of the straps either. Not that I'd expect this but reassuring just the same. Matt finishes require a little more TLC to keep their looks. Several weeks down the line, I’ve given ours a single helping of matt “polish”. That’s about it, save for a quick blast of anti-bacterial spray to the pads and straps since I was there.
£59.99 is competitive and its heavily discounted just now, making it phenomenally good value. Arguably its closest rival is the Bell Trace LED, which is another all-rounder with 16-vents and a 20 lumen LED as standard. It also has a higher end MIPS sibling costing £20 more. Then of course, there’s the Pro-Viz REFLECT 360 Bike Helmet (now £69.99) which is a little heavier but also features an integral rear LED light and incredibly effective K-Star retro-reflective technology (really brings the helmet to life when graced by vehicle, or street lighting).
However, the design precludes light mounting, which lends it better to town, rather than trail duties. Met All Road Helmet costs £70 and features an integral rear LED (like the Proviz) and is also reckoned to morph between concrete jungle and mountain biking.
I’ve been impressed with the Lazer Chameleon and feel it covers most bases, with minor compromises. There are some, typical of competitors-the exposed EPS rim being the most obvious and the chin strap release feels a little fiddlier than some. Nonetheless, as an everyday helmet, it has a lot in its favour.
Verdict: 3.75/5 Capable all-rounder for everyday riding.
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PUBLISHED APRIL 20213
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