This product review is something of a departure for the blog so hear me out.
Up until now, this blog has been a catalogue of video game and hardware thoughts and reviews but I’ve decided to expand on the usual theme every once and a while and write about one of my other passions: Mountain biking.
Now, I’m not as good as I think I am at mountain biking and I’ve only really being doing it for the past five years after what seems a lifetime of road bike riding, but for me, it’s quite a stress release to get out on two wheels and hit some dirt trails after a mentally exhausting week in the office. For me, there’s nothing quite like zipping through forested tracks to bring a little calm to things.
So, every now and then, I’ll post about mountain bike-related things: It might be a new piece of clothing or a new piece of kit for my bike but it’ll mix up the gaming and tech content, hopefully broadening the appeal of the blog. First up is a new helmet that I got last Christmas: Lazer’s LZB-23 Coyote MIPS helmet.
Lazer was founded in Belgium in 1919 and note, this blog post isn’t sponsored by Lazer or a local bike shop: This is me, an average bike rider, doing a review of a helmet I own and I have found a great product.
MIPS and the technology behind it
MIPS – or multi-directional impact protection system – is protection built into the helmet that helps reduce rotational forces that can occur during certain impacts. Essentially, there’s a layer of protection inside the helmet that is designed to mimic the brain’s own protection system that will reduce the strain of rotational forces, thus lessening the risk and severity of brain injury if you have a crash.
The good thing about MIPS is that a MIPS-equipped helmet looks almost identical to a non-MIPS-equipped helmet except for when you look inside, there will a thin liner beneath the pads. The only indicator that the helmet is any different to one without MIPS is that some brands have a small yellow MIPS logo on there – or in the case of Lazer’s Coyote helmet lots of little MIPS logos dotted all over the liner.
My dear wife bought me the Coyote as a Christmas present (I don’t know what it cost her but it ranges at retail for around $NZ180) and it’s probably the best mountain biking helmet I’ve used since I picked up the sport. My previous helmet was a Giro Phase which I picked up during a well-know New Zealand outdoor pursuits retailer’s regular online sales. I’ve been a long-time Giro wearer – my current road bike helmet is a Giro – and the Phase is a good entry level helmet but it’s pretty much an entry level helmet that does the job and that’s it.
Before settling on the Coyote, I tried several helmets on, at several bike shops, over several weekends and eventually settled on the Coyote after chatting to the helpful staff at Evo Cycle’s in Christchurch. Helmets can be weird things: The fit and comfort is all dependent on the peculiarities of your nonce and I ended up with a medium (55-59cm) Coyote, tipping the scales at 370 grams.
What I like about the Coyote over my previous Phase is that back-of-the-head protection that the Coyote offers: It extends further down the back of my head, offering more protection. Like with all new helmets, it took me a couple of rides to adjust to the feel and added weight compared to the Phase which comes in a 342 grams but soon enough the Coyote felt comfortable on my head.
The Coyote’s chin strap is comfortable enough and as is the norm these days the helmet’s “tightness” on your head is adjusted by a ratchet know at the back: turn clockwise to tighten the internal liner, turn counter clockwise to loosen it. Simple enough.
The Coyote has 19 vents across the surface of the helmet – the widest being across the top and at the back – and not once have I suffered “hot helmet head” while out riding, even on hot days. The helmet has remained secure and and my head cool every time.
Perhaps the only gripe that some riders might have with the Lazer Coyote is that the front visor isn’t detachable (as it is on the Giro Phase via two velcro dots). Personally, I haven’t had any vision issues with the fixed visor on the Coyote but then again, I’m not going 6000km/h down black trails at the Christchurch Adventure Park or advanced grade tracks where perhaps an adjustable visor might prove useful.
For me, Lazer’s Coyote is the best mountain biking helmet that I’ve used: It’s comfortable, offers excellent protection and is stylish, and I can see myself hitting the trails with it on my head for a long time to come. Luckily, I haven’t had to test out the MIPS protection – touch wood – in a real-world setting.
Long may that continue.
Do you want to see more mountain biking related content on the site? Let me know.