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July 2016 Product Picks: Lazer, Giro, Lizard Skins, Mio, OruCase, and Fabric

by James Huang

July 9, 2016

Product Picks heads back to CyclingTips’ U.S. base in Boulder, Colorado, covering a wide range of hard and soft goods for both bike and body. Need a new helmet or shoes? Want to dress up your road bike on the cheap, or travel under the radar? Looking for novel ways to measure your heart rate or attach bottles to your frame? We’ve got you covered.


Click the links below to skip through to a particular review:

Lazer Blade MIPS helmet
Giro Factor ACC shoes
Lizard Skins DSP handlebar tape
Mio Link heart rate wrist strap
OruCase Airport Ninja bike travel case
Fabric Cageless water bottle


Lazer Blade MIPS helmet

by James Huang

The Lazer Blade MIPS borrows its modern aesthetic from the top-end Z1 model, with a similarly compact exterior and a closely related overall design that even includes the same floating arch straddling the Rollsys retention system adjuster dial. The impressively economical Blade MIPS shell is fitted with 22 instead of 31 vents, though, and the shallower internal channels make it easier to pass requisite safety standards without resorting to the Z1’s expensive secondary reinforcement structures.

Lazer's Rollsys retention system is quite possibly the best in the industry.

Lazer’s Rollsys retention system is quite possibly the best in the industry.

Also like the Z1, the Blade MIPS can be customized with a variety of optional add-ons, such as the Aeroshell snap-on cover for protection from inclement weather and better aerodynamics, a rear LED flasher for nighttime visibility, and a pad set with an integrated optical heart rate monitor developed in conjunction with LifeBeam.

Our Blade MIPS edition also features the low-friction MIPS (Multidirectional Impact Protection System) liner, which is designed to slide independently of the EPS foam shell during a crash to lessen the chance of a traumatic brain injury.

The MIPS liner supposedly reduces the chances of brain injury by allowing the helmet to momentarily slide around your head on impact.

The MIPS liner supposedly reduces the chances of brain injury by allowing the helmet to momentarily slide around your head on impact.

Actual weight for our small-sized sample is 292g, plus 43g for the matching Aeroshell cover. Lazer offers the Blade MIPS in three sizes and nine different colors.

Our Take:

Lazer’s most notable advantage over other helmet brands is its superb Rollsys retention system. Unlike most retention devices that typically only wrap around the sides and back of your head, the cable-based Rollsys system runs around the entire circumference of your head. Combined with the adjustment dial’s infinitely fine range and the choice of five height positions for the rear cradle, the Blade MIPS is immediately comfortable with a fit that’s not only pleasantly snug but very uniform.

In addition, the rear cradle is very flexible and nearly impossible to break — a nice bonus for frequent travelers who might be less careful about packing their helmets in luggage than they should be.

Shallow internal channeling lessen the effectiveness of the Blade MIPS' 22 vents.

Shallow internal channeling lessen the effectiveness of the Blade MIPS’ 22 vents.

The Blade MIPS’ comfortable fit, snazzy aesthetics, and a la carte feature set make it a good option for cooler days but its mediocre ventilation performance make it less than ideal for warmer ones.

Shallow internal channels provide little room for air to actually flow across your head, so the Blade MIPS feels warmer than its vent count might suggest. Lazer also hasn’t included any airspace at all between the browpad and foam liner so it doesn’t take long for sweat to build up and drip into your sunglasses — even during a casual road ride on flat terrain in 16°C (61°F) temperatures with low humidity.

The old-school straps are noticeably thick, and the sliders don't lock in place.

The old-school straps are noticeably thick, and the sliders don’t lock in place.

Some of the cost-cutting measures required to hold the Blade MIPS to a reasonable price are also a bit too noticeable. The simple strap sliders don’t lock in place, for example, and the thick strap material isn’t as soft against your skin as the lighter-weight stuff found on some of the Blade MIPS’ competition — especially after they’ve accumulated the salt of several hard summertime workouts. In addition, Lazer has left the lower edge of the Blade MIPS uncovered, meaning it doesn’t take long for it to get dinged up from everyday use.

Price: US$135 / AU$180 / €125 / £90
www.lazersport.com


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