The Lazer J1 helmet is youth-sized with adult styling. Its dial-adjust fit system and in-mold construction make it an exceptional option. Read the review below for all the details!
Pros & Cons
- Incredible quality and durability
- Tons of ventilation
- Sweat-wicking pads
- Inner cage can be adjusted up or down to accommodate taller heads
- Locking sliders on side straps
- LED light on back of helmet
- Standard buckle can pinch, but keeps costs down
Lazer J1 Helmet Review – Results of our Testing
From the moment I pulled the Lazer J1 out of its box, I knew it was going to be a winner. Super lightweight, with best-in-class design and construction, the J1 oozes quality. In the sea of kids’ helmets you can find on Amazon, the J1 is unique for its adult styling and more precise fit. With a smaller head circumference range and the ability to adjust for head height as well as width, the J1 offers fantastic safety features to make parents happy, and fun colors to make wearing a helmet cool.
If you’ve never heard of Lazer, we’re happy to introduce you. While not yet widely known in the U.S., Lazer is a well-respected and popular bike helmet brand in Europe. Known especially for their commitment to safety features and innovation, Lazer is one of our favorite bike helmet brands.
Coverage and Size
While many youth helmets come with a large head circumference range, the Lazer J1’s is quite a bit smaller. With a range of 52 – 56 cm, the J1 has just 4 cm of size adjustment. In contrast, the Giro Tremor has a head circumference range of 7cm, from 50 cm – 57 cm.
At first thought, a smaller range may seem like a bad thing. That gives my child’s head less room to grow! I’ll have to buy them a new helmet sooner! Both of those things are true. But what you gain from a smaller range is a helmet that’s more precisely designed for your child’s head size.
When a child with a 50 cm head wears a helmet with a range of 50 cm – 57 cm, the inner cage is tightened for a snug fit. The outer shell of the helmet, however, clearly can’t get any smaller, so it often sticks quite a ways off a smaller child’s head. In this scenario the helmet is still safe if the inner cage is snug, it’s just a bit bulky and “bobble-head-like”.
Here’s a real world example. Below you can see the same child at different ages in two different helmets. He’s wearing each helmet at the age when his head size matches the smallest head circumference the helmet allows.
Lazer J1 vs. Giro Tremor: Bulkiness Comparison
On the left, he’s has a 52 cm head and is wearing the J1, which as a 52 cm minimum. On the right, his head is 50.5 cm and he’s wearing the Giro Tremor with a minimum head size of 50 cm. While not drastic, you can see that the Tremor does look a bit bulky on his head. This is because it’s designed to accommodate him for almost 7 more cm of growth, vs. the J1’s 4 cm of growth.
With a minimum head size of 52 cm, the J1 is one of the larger helmets marketed to kids. It’s a fantastic option if you’re looking for a helmet when your child’s head is at 52 or 52.5 cm.
Like most high-end helmets, the J1 tightens from the back using a dial-adjust. This allows the helmet’s inner cage to rest snuggly against your head so that it will stay in place in the event of a crash. As an added bonus not commonly found on other helmets, the dial adjust is also an LED light for twilight or night riding!
The Lazer J1 also goes a step further by allowing you to raise or lower the entire internal cage to accommodate for taller heads. (See yellow arrows below.) Have you ever even thought about if your head is tall or short? Most people haven’t. But the reality is that a fair amount of kids (and adults!) have tall heads.
Your average helmet isn’t designed for a tall head. As a result, if your child’s head is tall, a helmet may perch a bit on top of their noggin, which is less than ideally safe.
To top it off, the rear portion of the dial-adjust system has much more surface area contact with the back of a child’s head than a typical helmet. Rather than a just a horizontal band across the back, the Lazer J1’s dial adjust system cups the back of the head. The idea behind this is that the helmet should stay more securely in place.
Correctly adjusting the sliders on a helmet’s side straps is one of the most difficult parts of getting a helmet to fit properly. But it’s also necessary because those straps help keep the helmet centered on your child’s head.
The convenient thing about the sliders on the J1 is that they lock into place. Sliders are notorious for easily sliding down and needing to be re-adjusted very regularly. The locking sliders on the J1 keep those sliders in place much better, and require less frequent re-adjustment.
The buckle on the J1 is a standard-style buckle. While many other high-end helmets offer pinch-free buckles, standard buckles do keep costs down.
Additionally, pinch-free buckles are much more of a “need to have” with small kids who get helmet shy if their neck or chin gets pinched. With a head circumference range of 52 – 56 cm, kids wearing the J1 are old enough to buckle themselves and are pretty good about not pinching themselves.
The J1 features high quality, sealed, sweat-wicking pads. A very minor feature that we really appreciate is that the helmet comes with an extra set of pad stickers. Pad stickers attach to the foam core of the helmet and are velcro. They are the points of contact that keep the helmet’s pads in place.
If these stickers come off and get lost, then you have nothing to keep your pads in place. This happens more frequently than you’d think – even on really high-quality helmets. We love that Lazer just includes a few extras so when one does come off, you have an easy solve.
Construction, Vents, & Visor
Weighing in at just 295 grams, the Lazer J1 is very lightweight. By comparison, the Giro Tremor is also lightweight, but weighs 306 grams.
The Lazer J1 features high-quality, in-mold construction. This means that the outer shell is fused with the inner foam core so the helmet is one solid piece.
With bike helmets, in-mold is preferred over hardshell where the helmet’s foam core and the outer shell are two separate pieces. Hardshell helmets are generally cheaper, but the outer shell can warp, crack, and just come loose from the foam core over time.
The visor on the Lazer is removable, but won’t fall off easily. Visors are helpful for keeping sun out of kids’ eyes, but also for preventing injuries during a face-first crash.
Visors that are not built in (like the J1) can flex or come off in a crash, and so will only provide minimal facial protection. That said, built-in visors are pretty common on toddler helmets, but not on kid or adult helmets.
With 15 vents, the Lazer J1 has a fewer number of vents than its Giro competitors (Tremor has 18, Hale as 22), but has larger vents to keep your kid’s head cool. While we don’t have a number to quantify ventilation, the J1 certainly appears to be as well ventilated (if not better) than the Giro helmets.
Additionally, the foam core of the helmet has deep air channels to keep air flowing through the helmet.
Lazer helmets are well-designed, well-constructed, comfortable, and durable. The J1 lives up to the Lazer name, but without all the bells and whistles of some of the more expensive models, is more affordable for many families.
While the Lazer J1 has many great features, there are three that make it unique among its competitors: (1) The internal cage can be raised or lowered to accommodate the height of your child’s head, (2) With a 52 – 56 cm head circumference range, it’s one of the larger kid’s helmets on the market. (3) At just $45, it’s a high-end helmet at a crazy reasonable price!