LaZer Falcon Pure Carbon Helmet
Finally had a chance to take my new helmet on it's maiden ride last night. It wasn't a long one -- only a hundred miles or so, but I think long enough to form some reasonable impressions. Bottom line is this helmet is something of a disappointment to me. Not that it's horrible -- it's not. But neither is it a huge improvement over what I already had. If it were my only helmet, it would be OK. But as it is, I'd rather have my $400 back or have gone in a different direction maybe.
First, a word on what I was looking for: When I came back to riding ten years ago, I was totally committed to full face helmets as I'm convinced they're the safest and I wanted to set a good example for the kids. But then the kids got to where they were off doing their own things often regardless of whatever examples I had set. So it goes. So the past couple years I've experimented with one modular/convertible helmet (a Shark Evoline 2), a couple 3/4 helmets, and even riding without a helmet a little. There is nothing like the feel of going au natural, but after my wanderings, I came back to safety. I ride in mostly protected gear 95% of the time. (Regular jeans being the exception.)
True to human nature, with the Shark, I wound up riding "open" way too often. There was an extenuating reason for this as well: That helmet pinches down on my cheekbones significantly when closed -- enough so that it becomes painful after and hour or so. I found the sun visor effective, but as the helmet got older, it seems like there's an annoying rattle that's developed relating to it. The other negative is that it is huge. Talk about mushroom head! Plus it's not at all aerodynamic when you head check -- I assume in part because of the size. To be fair, straight forward, aerodynamics aren't bad despite the size.
So this year I was looking for a full face helmet again so I wouldn't have the option to ride open unless I deliberately chose a different helmet from my "main" one. I liked the way Anthony described the Falcon as a "premium" helmet and when I saw that for a mid-level price you also got the transistions shield, it was a done deal.
First, I wouldn't really call this helmet premium. When you get right down to it, it's more utilitarian to my way of thinking. Not much about it seems cheap to me though mine came with a couple minor QC issues -- one trim piece needs to be reglued and one shield hinge needed the philips screw fully tightened. Speaking of the shield mechanism, the quick release works well enough, but replacing the shield seems a little out of adjustment and takes a little man handling. You get a hint of that in Anthony's video. The vent mechanisms are actually pretty cool -- they work really well and easily, but nothing about them seems "deluxe." Again, rugged and functional would be a more apt description I'd say. The back vent is a little odd in that the mechanism has three positions -- the middle of which is the only one that seems to be open. Not sure why Lazer wouldn't just make it open and shut, but oh well.
Talking about venting and sticking with the back vent for a moment, something I found very odd is that the helmet seems noisiest with this vent CLOSED. Not sure what to attribute that to exactly. On the other hand, open or closed on the other two vents doesn't seem to impact noise one way or the other. When it comes to the highly touted venting, the face related airflow works super well -- but only at above 45mph or so. Below that, the helmet seems super closed and requires cracking the shield open. The shield doesn't have a true crack position so be prepared to live with "cracking" at about an inch or so open at slower speeds. That's not a big deal for me because I ride behind a windshield that I figure would catch most debris and bugs but might be more of a concern to the unshielded rider not wearing sunglasses. I did try riding briefly with the shield fully open and that works. The shield doesn't become a huge lifting wing. Finally, the top vent doesn't work nearly as well as I'd hoped. Maybe it works to benefit the face venting, but I couldn't feel any air flow over the top, sides, or back of my head.
Let's talk about physical aspects for a moment: The weight is very light as advertised, but I've never found that aspect in and of itself to be that big a deal. What makes it one with this helmet is it's relatively small shell and extremely good aerodynamics. This is the most stable helmet I've ever had including while heading checking. So from this aspect, I can see where this will be a very good touring helmet. I'm one of those that tends towards a round head and the "neutral" crown of this helmet works well enough for me. The helmet seems to run true to size with no surprises for me there. However the cheek pads press almost as hard against my cheek bones as the Shark did, so I suspect I'll be swapping out my large pads for the extra large sooner than later. The chin bar could be an issue for some riders. As mentioned by another reviewer, it seems to ride somewhat higher than others I've tried. I got used to it quickly enough, but all things being equal, I'd prefer it out of my line of sight a little more. The thing that I think might not work for a lot of people is how close it is to the chin. It's VERY close for me and I have an under bite. I suspect anyone with an over bite or a strong chin might have issues. Chin protection is of course why I'm restricting myself to a full helmet. Were I to crash in this helmet in such a way that my chin were involved, I suspect I'd end up with a broken jaw. Better that than it being broken or scraped off, but still...
The touted transitions shield may not be dark enough for me as noted by several other reviewers. If I have to resort to sunglasses, this key feature becomes totally irrelevant and I'll sorely miss the built in sun visor of my Shark. Optically though, the shield is great -- the clearest I've ever had. Contradicting that though, riding into the sun seemed much worse then usual. I don't get where that comes from unless it's a by product of the transition. Bottom line here is that I think riding straight into the sun with a clear shield and without sunglasses might be better than riding with this shield.
Noise level seems slightly better than normal. I'll revert to wearing ear plugs which is my habit anyhow. I imagine protection from this helmet to be very good as it's a very snug fit. That will also make it warm though and the chin bar issues remain a negative. Also the snug fit winds up rubbing my pronounced eye brow ridge mostly when taking the helmet off. That was an issue with my Roof Lemans and really does become a big deal after awhile. I suspect it will be rubbed raw and sore on long rides with many stops. I guess I need to say something about the finish too -- it's good except for the noted trim piece along the bottom which I'll have to glue.
So how do I sum it up? I wouldn't consider this an overall upgrade from what I've had in the past. It's not worth the $400 to me as an upgrade though it's a reasonable $400 helmet as your first one. Maybe it will prove out to be my choice for touring -- I hope so. I'm almost positive it won't be my choice for short rides or certainly ones around town. Ultimately, I fear that I might choose my aged Roof Lemans as my main long ride, full face helmet over it which is a bummer.
June 30, 2014
Aside from the noise ...
The LaZer Falcon Pure Carbon is great. It has one major drawback for some, it is quite loud in comparison to larger shells of heavier helmets. And the one minor drawback is no pockets for speakers. More on that later. I was also able to adjust the fit as LaZer has a nice system of interchangeable parts, so I pulled the XL cheek pads which were overly tight to a pair of XXL cheek pads which are snug but won't make me bite my cheeks.
The ventilation is the best. Awesome amounts of airflow. Big switchable vents that are very glove friendly. And the liner is adapted for the airflow. Of course with the sweet comes the bitter. The airflow is the likely culprit for the noise level, which at 70 was easily drowning out the bike and traffic.
Mine came with a free Lumino shield, so tasty photo chromatic self tinting Transitions tech of my very own, right before my eyes. So a total of three shields with the helmet, the US mandated clear shield, the graduated shield, and the wizardly Lumino self darkening shield.
I did install a Cardo Scala G9x audio kit. It was a pretty smooth process, I choose the wired mike option, and ran the wire along the seams of the EPS. I did remove a small amount of the foam in the cheek pads, but it is easily accessible when the pad was removed. I located the sweet spot by letting the Velcro grab the chinstrap covering with the cheek pads out, so fingers could go in. For me, and it varies by where your ears are on your head, the very top of the strap was best, so I was able to put them in the cheek pads leaving the fabric layer intact, and the speaker just behind. I reserved the foam circle I cut out in case the pad settles in a bit, so I can put one layer back in behind the speaker. Or both layers if I go to earbuds.
I also installed an Echo helmet quick release buckle. Double Ds are nice but hard to deal with with gloves on. And for me, I overheat easily and so the helmet coming off is a priority, similarly just for ease of use when commuting.
Overall two thumbs up, even though loud.
June 23, 2014
A little tight
I recently ordered this helmet and will, unfortunately, have to send it back. First of all, I have a fat head. The LaZer size chart lists XXL as 63 - 64 cm which is standard sizing. Actually, the helmet itself says XXL, 63 cm and that is about right. It has a great intermediate oval shape and comfortable interior, but runs about 1/2 size small.
The small size is really a shame because I really like this helmet. The quality is very good and I like the design of the venting, visor system, and the weight of the carbon fiber. For those of you that can fit, I'm envious. Enjoy.
June 21, 2014
First carbon helmet I have owned, didn't know what I missing as far as weight is concerned. The rest of the helmet is average to above average. Nothing bad and nothing outstanding except the weight.
May 26, 2014
Good for the money
Very nice helmet that is really light weight, comfortable and has good air flow. The transitions shield works perfectly, no need for sunglasses. The helmet is a little loud from wind noise, over all it is a great helmet for the money. Also, the free shipping was extremely fast, very surprised.
April 5, 2014
Excellent Euro Design!
Helmet reviews are merely subjective. If you have a certain head shape, require certain features, are attracted to a certain style, and can justify spending a certain amount, will only the right review be meaningful to you.
With that, I will try to describe what I like about my new Lazer Falcon Pure Carbon helmet.
Style – I bought the white version. I’ve been rocking white helmets; moto and cycling, for many years, so this fit my tastes. I’ve never understood tribal or graffiti graphics, but that’s just me. The paint design reminds me of the helmets from the Moto GP era when Rainey, Doohan, Lawson, and Schwantz would battle each other for 500cc supremacy. The carbon weave subtly shining through gives an understated hint at the tech inside. The splashes of orange/red contrasts the white and black tastefully and outline the flow of the design. The triangular intake designs that oppose each other above and below the shield had me a bit unsure, but the blocking design of the black carbon fiber in those areas doesn’t make them a focal point. The high-tech machined aluminum shield pivot has a stippling around the surface that oozes coolness. Overall, the shape, details, and graphics are fantastic.
Materials – The aforementioned aluminum shield pivot, along with stainless mesh exhaust vents tie in just some of the sophisticated materials used in the helmet construction. The carbon fiber weave is visible on about 40% of the helmet surface and appears to be high quality. The white paint graphics are bordered by 3M reflective tape that pops at nighttime. The cheek padding is constructed from a washable antimicrobial fabric that is very smooth and soft at the same time. The crown padding consists of fabrics of different densities stitched together allowing ventilation and comfort. All this padding snaps out easily for cleaning. Underneath, the EPS is deeply channeled with large vent and exhaust ports fore and aft designed to move lots of air. The straps, snaps, D-rings, chin shroud, shield gasket and vent doors have all been designed well and work well together. High quality construction is obvious everywhere you look.
Shield system – In the box, the Falcon Pure Carbon comes not just with a clear scratch-resistant Pinlock-ready shield, a gradient, half-shaded Pinlock-ready shield of the same quality, but with a Pinlock insert as well. These are accessories that other helmet makers require you to buy at an additional cost. I took advantage of the free Transitions photochromatic shield that is Pinlock-ready as well. This shield came equipped with the machined aluminum pivot (even though it was not stippled). If you haven’t been paying attention, the Pinlock system uses an optically-correct, removable, silicon-beaded insert that creates airspace within the shield that prevents fogging. Very trick stuff. The shields mount to the helmet in a system that takes a second to understand, but once you do, it is very simple to swap. Of the three shields, there were only two aluminum pivots. I probably won’t use the plain, clear shield unless the other two shields become horribly scratched, so swapping the pivots often won’t be necessary. The abundant, quality shields that arrived with this helmet keep pace with the value of the rest of the helmet system.
Fit – My grape measures in at 23” or just over 58cm above the brow. The ML is sized at 22.8” or right at 58cm. Initially the helmet felt snug and I had to pull down a little harder than I’m used to. But after wearing it for ten minutes or so, the padding adjusted well to my head shape which can be described as Intermediate Oval. I felt no hotspots or pressure points during my initial ride. One strange sensation was how high the shield cutout was. It was like the chinbar was too tall. It could be that I’m still learning how to wear the helmet and next time will rotate it downward a bit more. Also the straps felt a bit short. I’m used to being able to grab a longer strap when donning a bucket. One more, tiny gripe about the strap. I really like snaps (or magnets) that keep strap tips tidy and out of the way. But why did Lazer put the receiving snap on its own little tab? I have fumbled around for it every time I’ve worn the helmet.
Performance – My first ride with the Falcon Pure Carbon was at noon on an 80* sunny day. The first thing I noticed was how light this helmet was. It is a full pound lighter than my last helmet. Big difference. The next sensation was when I was looking over my shoulder while merging in traffic at highway speed. There was much less drag on the side of the helmet which could either be the shape or the weight again. I tested the vent system next. Two big intakes are positioned on the forehead and chin. They use a center, horizontal pivot to open and they click into place. So it’s like two openings occur at each vent. On the back of the helmet there are two exhaust vents located high and low. The top vents can be closed if desired. All vent controls can be operated easily wearing gloves even though the rear vent switch felt a little stiff. Let me say that these vents WORK. I tried combinations of opening and closing the forehead and chin vents. The big rush of cooling air over the top of my head was great as was the swirling air at my nose and mouth. The engineering was very effective in the cooling department. Next, the photochromatic shield really worked too. Within a few seconds in the sunlight, the shield went from crystal clear to dark, almost black. I kept checking the tint color in my mirrors. When I stopped under a bridge I peeked over to notice that the shield had faded to nearly clear. This technology is cool! I have a gripe about the Pinlock system, though. When I’m in slow traffic (happens a lot in Atlanta) I like to pop the shield up one click to keep a little more air flowing. The bottom edge of the Pinlock insert positions itself right in the middle of my line of sight! Maybe when I try rotating the helmet downward a bit this will go away.
Overall – This helmet is loaded with functional technology. There is no feature that is unnecessary. At $400, with the gradient AND photochromatic Pinlock shields thrown in, this is the best full-carbon helmet value today. I love it.
April 4, 2014
This is A GREAT helmet!
I ordered this Hemet last week and I gave ridden in it over 200 miles over the Thanksgiving weekend here in Upstate NY where it has been in the mid-20's. I have been riding for over 25 years and have owned all of the major brands. This helmet is easily as good, if not better, than them all. It is light, quiet and super comfortable. The Pinlock system is superb. The visor will not fog up! The 2 visors are great and I love the partially shaded one. I consider this helmet a great value and top of the line helmet.
December 1, 2013
light and quiet
I'm a beginner rider and was looking for lightweight, quiet helmet that fit my smaller than medium head. The Falcon has been all that and worth the purchase price.
September 23, 2013