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Good looking cycling equipment, including attractive helmets, doesn’t usually come cheap. Typically, as the price tag rises, so does the visual appeal. But Lazer’s mid-range mountain helmet, the Ultrax, is a great looking option for just $90.
Ventilation is on par with other offerings on the market. It’s nothing to write home about, particularly relative to airy road lids, but it does breathe slightly better than the Poc Trabec Race with Mips, which goes for $220.
When it comes to a mountain bike helmet, we would gladly trade some ventilation and weight for improved safety — so a comparison to the aforementioned road helmets isn’t really valid. A helmet with less ventilation can be and should be safer. This is part of the reason we fell in love with the design of the new Smith Forefront helmet and its use of the low-density material Koroyd, as it keeps ventilation high, while material wraps all around the rider’s head. The Ultrax fits into a similar category — vented quite well, but with the added protection necessary for off-road use.
The Ultrax comes stock with a rear reflector. It’s by no means an attractive addition, but it does provide a slot to attach Lazer’s aftermarket taillight — which we love. The Ultrax rear light is $10 and is rechargeable via micro-USB. The light is more subtle than the reflector when it’s turned off, almost invisible, really, and it has one setting: blinking. It’s awesome for getting home from the trail, as we find ourselves milking every last minute of daylight this time of year.
The purpose of a helmet is to protect our heads, obviously, so I must happily admit that this helmet has yet to be crash-tested. But even if I had bit the dust, the price tag makes replacing the helmet less of a headache as well; you should always replace your helmet after any impact or a season of normal riding, whichever comes first. Plunking down $90 each year, while retaining much of the performance of pricier options, is certainly much friendlier on the wallet.
The fit system of the Ultrax is what sets it apart from other helmets. It uses Lazer’s Autofit system, a spring-loaded system that grips your head just tight enough, no adjusting necessary. In our testing, we found it to be quite secure.
People with average sized heads can stop reading here — the Autofit system will work great for you. But one of our testers, who wears a large in nearly every helmet model (except an XL in Lazer’s Helium road helmet), found that the large Ultrax was a bit on snug side. It put unwanted pressure on his forehead. So, those with extra large noggins may want to look elsewhere.