Let’s face it, a cycling helmet isn’t just about keeping you safe, it’s about looking the part too. And with pro-level endorsements both the Lazer Genesis and the Abus Airbreaker offer that cool look whether you’re out riding or just sitting at the coffee stop.
They’re both designed to be aero and airy, with both brands claiming great aerodynamic performance without sacrificing ventilation for hot day climbing comfort.
Both are lightweight too, with a size large Abus Airbreaker weighing 230g and a Lazer Genesis in the same size coming in at 250g. Neither helmet is cheap, but they’re not at the very top end of helmet prices, and if you're after the best cycling helmet then they're both worth your attention. Which one's the best, though? Let's take a closer look.
3 REASONS TO CHOOSE THE ABUS AIRBREAKER OVER THE LAZER GENESIS
1. SMARTER LOOKS
Both the Lazer Genesis and the Abus Airbreaker are good looking helmets that aren’t too bulbous and sit comfortably on the head.
The Abus Airbreaker has the edge in finish though. It’s slightly more compact, so it should offer a bit less air resistance. The bottom edges slope neatly inwards too and the outer shell wraps over more of the expanded polystyrene foam at the bottom lip.
That’s an area that, over time, tends to pick up gouges and bashes, so the Airbreaker is likely to look better for longer than the Lazer Genesis. There are slightly smoother internal edges to the vents too and the high gloss finish and mesh area on top at the rear look that bit smarter than the Genesis.
2. DEEP VENTING
For hot summer riding, good airflow over the head is key to comfort. The vents in the Abus Airbreaker are exceptionally deep and they run front to back, so there’s nothing to stop cooling air from passing over your head.
In contrast, the Lazer Genesis’s vents are shallower and they don’t run as directly front to back, so cooling isn’t likely to be quite as effective, despite Lazer’s claim that the Genesis gives you more airflow than riding without a helmet.
3. AERO STRAP DESIGN
There’s not much to gain by having an aero helmet design if the straps are flapping around and generating air resistance.
The inboard anchor points of the Abus Airbreaker’s straps mean that they sit exceptionally close to the head and there’s little windflap. They’re very soft and comfortable too and Abus has given the leading edge of the forward straps a rolled profile which, it says, makes them even more aero. There’s no moveable clip where the forward and back straps meet either, which should also improve aerodynamics.
In contrast, the Lazer Genesis’s straps are a bit more run-of-the-mill, with a flat profile, a separate moveable plastic clip between the two straps where they meet and a connection into the helmet that’s a bit further from the sides of the head.
3 REASONS TO CHOOSE THE LAZER GENESIS OVER THE ABUS AIRBREAKER
1. AVAILABLE WITH MIPS
Unlike the Abus Airbreaker, the Lazer Genesis has the option of MIPS. MIPS is a smooth plastic liner that is loosely attached within the shell of the helmet.
If you are involved in a crash, your head may receive a glancing blow rather than a straight-on impact. This type of accident can cause injury to the brain as it moves within the skull, which modelling suggests would rotate along with the helmet shell.
MIPS adds a sliding layer between your head and the helmet, which reduces rotational forces on your head in an impact and can potentially lessen the risk of injury. It’s a system that many helmet makers are adopting, although not Abus yet. Independent tests consistently rate helmets with MIPS as safer than the majority of those without.
2. ADVANCED ROLLSYS ADJUSTMENT
Almost all helmets rely on a dial at the back of the inner cradle to adjust fit. Not the Lazer Genesis, which has Lazer’s patented Advanced Rollsys adjustment mechanism.
This consists of a roller incorporated into the top of the helmet, which tightens the cradle and results in a nice streamlined look to the back of the helmet. It also means that there’s a gap in the rear cradle where the dial adjuster would otherwise be, which is both more comfortable and works much better if you have a ponytail.
3. AEROSHELL COMPATIBLE
In the summer lots of ventilation and airflow are nice to have in your helmet; in the winter not so much. Lazer gets around this with its Aeroshell. It’s a semi-rigid plastic cover that clips over the helmet, closing up the vents, so your head stays warmer and you’re protected from the rain. For an extra £20, it’s a nice bonus.
ABUS AIRBREAKER VERSUS LAZER GENESIS: THE VERDICT
If you’re after a well finished, quality lid that’s reasonably compact and doesn’t give you the mushroom head look, the Abus Airbreaker will fit the bill. Its well finished, high gloss exterior should stand the test of time too.
It’s very comfortable, lightweight and its deep front-to-back vents will help you keep your cool on hot climbs.
The Lazer Genesis is a bit more bulbous and its venting isn’t as deep, but it too is a polished performer. The Advanced Rollsys cradle adjuster is a bit more comfortable and streamlined than the Airbreaker’s. Both helmets weigh about the same.
But a helmet is ultimately about keeping your noggin together in a spill and MIPS is generally rated to up the level of protection offered in a more severe crash - and it’s only available in the Lazer Genesis and not the Abus Airbreaker.
ABUS AIRBREAKER VERSUS LAZER GENESIS: THE ALTERNATIVES
The cycling helmet market is a crowded space and there’s no shortage of other options out there. Both Abus and Lazer have cheaper alternatives to the Airbreaker and Genesis that offer just as much protection with a bit of extra weight and a slightly less top end finish.
If you are after a pro-level lid there are options from other brands at a similar price and with similar performance too, including helmets from Kask, Specialized and POC.