Since transitioning from the hockey rinks of my youth to the fat-bike of today, I have desires/needs in a helmet for winter cycling, they are listed below in order of importance:
1) Protect the melon
2) Don’t overheat
3) Allow for a light to be mounted on the helmet
4) Look dashingly handsome
Upon receiving a box in the mail from Lazer, I opened it up, and light immediately beamed out of the box. The color of the helmet was Fluoro Yellow, and it’s seriously out-of-this-world bright. Over the next few minutes a few cool points were realized.
1) Brim (also known as a vizor, a “z” for Lazer of course): There’s a lot to like about a brim. They help mitigate the low hanging sun in the winter, and a bonus point for “dashingly handsome.”
2) Rear facing LED Light: This is a light for safety, especially in terms of those who commute. Click it once to keep the super bright red light on full-time, click it one more time to have it blink. One more click turns it off. It’s super simple, and a great feature for anyone cycling among car and truck like objects. It also fits into the helmet design perfectly.
3) Weight: Lazer mentions 410 grams on their website, that sounds like a lot. When you’re holding it, it feels like feathers.
4) Magnetic Chin Strap: No traditional click through chin strap here. At first review I worried about the strap freezing up with ice. (In the long term, it never did.)
5) Ear Protection: Removable built in ear protection from the sub-zero temps and wind. I like this. Having froze my ears multiple times last winter, I was ready for something better. (Did you know ears can turn black?)
6) Rear Goggle Strap Holder: I’ve dreamed of wearing goggles with my winter fat-bike helmet. However, in the past I’ve fogged up the goggles within 20 minutes. Another perk of the goggle strap holder was having the ability to tuck the cord from my light behind it.
7) Precision fit adjustment system: With a simple dial atop the helmet (Rollsys®) you can custom fit the tightness of the helmet. This is cool for that custom not-too-tight, not-too-wobbly appeal. It’s also adjustable while wearing your winter gloves.
8) Rear facing vents that open and close: A nice bonus feature. On one sub-zero ride this past winter, the heat escaping the helmet left a jet trail coming out of the back of my helmet. That was “Top Gun” cool!
Now moving past the first glance observations, my objective within this story was to wear the Dissent all winter. Which I did, we’re talking months of riding, and below is the assessment of the Dissent’s performance.
First off, it should be noted that I have a hot head. “He sweats easy” is how folks have referred to me. The coldest I wore this helmet was -12˚F, the warmest was 32˚F. During that span of temps I only closed the vents once. This was at the start of the coldest ride. Then, about 20 minutes into that ride I flipped the vents back open as I was toasty warm. During the warmer temperature rides my head did get hot. I reduced my heat by removing a layer of clothing from my core. My head temperature went back into the comfy zone.
Other cyclists had no problem seeing me on the trail with the Fluoro Yellow helmet. This is nice as we do have two-way trails in Cuyuna and each time I met on-coming cyclists, they were well aware of my presence. That’s good for safety!
The benefit of wearing goggles at -12˚F is it’s nice to protect your eyes and face from sub-zero temps and wind chill. Here’s the good news, my goggles didn’t fog up in 20 minutes wearing the Lazer Dissent. They did however fog up in ice like form within 60 minutes. YMMV, but I’d have a hard time recommending the Dissent for fat-bike racers who are pushing it full boogie for a few hours. However, for those who are going for a fat-bike ride, it’s a great helmet, really great. I realize there are products on the market to help mitigate the fog on the inside of the lens. I did not apply those type of products to my lenses on this test.
The Dissent is made for goggles, which means your goggles will fit easily around the helmet and tuck nicely in the opening surrounding your face.
It’s difficult to write a helmet ride experience. I actually had to remind myself to pay attention to my head during each ride.
Here’s the main point though: the Dissent just works.
No spiffy language needed, it works. It felt great on my head during the ride, it wore well, and the ability to tighten the helmet was appreciated. Throughout each ride I enjoyed having the covering over my ears. The simplicity of putting on a helmet and gaining toasty ears is wonderful. Please note with these ear coverings you will not be able to hear as accurately as with uncovered ears. I mention this for safety reasons such as vehicles (commuters), snowmobiles, other cyclists.
The brim bothered me once in a while as it seemed too low in the middle. This was most noticeable on my night rides. You can remove the brim if you like, but this was such a small gripe I left the brim on.
Sans brim the front of the helmet is fairly circular and not all that exciting. If there was anything Lazer could do better I would suggest revising the design on the front of the helmet to include more relief/interest. It’s currently round enough that a good number of folks greeted me by referring to me as “Marvin the Martian.” Again, this is a small gripe.
For night rides I needed to strap my light to the top of the helmet by using the vent holes. This was simple to do, and provided a decent base for the light. The only concern I could think of is if I needed to close the vents on my helmet during the night ride. With the light straps going through vents, that would no longer be possible. I’m sure an easy work around is to affix an adhesive to the helmet and the light base, I just get nervous about that bond breaking at a crucial moment during a night ride. Thus the straps.
I thankfully didn’t take a fall to my head during the winter riding season. That means I can’t report on how the helmet performs upon collision. However, knowing Lazer’s experience in the helmet industry, your head is in good hands in the Dissent. To learn more about Lazer’s Rollsys® feature, click here
• If you are a racer, and wear goggles, I’d have a hard time recommending this helmet.
• If you are anyone else, I recommend you take a serious look at this helmet for winter fat-biking. It’s serious, it’s a great performer, and with the optional color chic, you have the ability to really customize this helmet to your fat-bike. As an added bonus, Lazer also offers an optional Multicap which allows a GoPro to be mounted to the top of the helmet. This accessory was not included with the helmet, but from a few minutes spent on the Lazer website, this could be a cool option.
Live out the lifestyle of the Dissent. Differ in opinon, go upstream to the majority.