With improvements in battery capacity and packaging, it isn’t surprising to see the rise in E-Bike popularity. Battery assisted bikes are now available in everything from high-performance carbon fiber bikes to urban cargo bikes. One challenge with E-Bikes is the fact that they typically have higher sustained speeds compared to standard bicycles. This has led to the development of the NTA-8776 E-Bike helmet certification to ensure that helmets are safer at higher impact speeds (upto 45 km/h or 27.9 mph). The Lazer Urbanize MIPS carries the NTA-8776 certification as well as offering MIPS for improved rider safety. However, you don’t need an E-Bike to appreciate the Urbanize helmet, as it incorporates a number of commuter friendly features.
The Lazer Urbanize MIPS helmet a well designed and full-featured helmet perfect for E-Bike or commuters.
One unique feature is the removable clear panoramic lens that protects you from debris on the road as well as wind chill. The lens attached using integrated magnets on the lens and the helmet itself, making it easy to remove or place in a flipped stowed position. Additionally, a rechargeable LED tail light on the rear provides night time safety. Lazer has also made the rear tail light removable allowing the large vent hole it mounts to be used to slide a lock through to secure the helmet. These features combined with the included winter kit that protects your ears from the cold, make the Urbanize a compelling helmet for commuters or E-Bike riders.
|Measured weight (in g)||418 (size M) + 32 (winter kit) + 58 (panoramic lens)|
|Likes|| + MIPS integration |
+ Included winter kit and tail light
+ Magnetic panoramic lens
|Dislikes||– Straps feel stiff|
– Taillight lacks battery status indicator
– No storage bag for lens or helmet
|Where to Buy (US)||Lazer|
The Urbanize is securely shipped in a standard cardboard helmet box with high contrast printed graphics. The helmet was also wrapped in a plastic bag for extra protection. Inside the box you’ll find:
- Urbanize helmet w/ tail light installed
- Winter kit: Two ear covers + Foam vent blocker + Velcro attachment stickers
- Instruction manual
- Micro USB charging cable
- Magnetic panoramic lens
We were quite impressed with the number of additional items Lazer includes with the Urbanize helmet as typically tail lights and lenses are sold as addons at an additional cost.
DESIGN & USABILITY
Designed for urban use, the aptly named Urbanize helmet has the familiar helmet profile associated with commuter helmets. The helmet looks similar to a baseball or snowboarding helmet, with a tall rear profile and a few strategically placed vents around the sides. There are 6 vents, a wide one on the front of the helmet and two on each side. The sixth vent hole is on the rear of the helmet and also doubles as a mount for the removable LED tail light. Although Lazer also markets the vent hole to put a lock through, we found that it was inconvenient as the retention system needs to be pushed out of the way. However, the side vents are large enough that you could stick a lock through those instead.
The tail light is rechargeable and has to be removed from the helmet to gain access to the charging port. The removal of the light from the helmet does take a little force though. There are three modes with the tail light: solid (8hr runtime), flashing (26hr) and pulsing (10hr). Pressing on the face of light cycles between the modes and allows you to turn it on and off. While the tail light is not particularly bright (about 5 lumens) which means it is not visible in the daytime, the large size of the taillight lens results in good side visibility at night. However, as with many tail lights, there is no battery status indicator so you’ll need to remember to charge it periodically.
Lazer has also incorporated a MIPS liner inside the helmet which can reduce the chance of injury for certain impacts. Compared to heavily vented road cycling MIPS helmets (like the Lazer Chameleon), the MIPS liner in the Urbanize is nearly a single uncut piece that wraps around the interior of the helmet. Lazer has added a number of premium design elements that make the Urbanize stand out from other helmets on the market. The most obvious is the use of leather straps and metal clasps rather than the traditional plastic and nylon. While we found the straps a bit stiff, the leather grain is a nice detail. Also, Lazer uses a magnetic buckle which makes putting the helmet on and off a breeze. This is similar to the Bontrager Specter we’ve reviewed, as with that helmet there is a bit of a learning curve to removing the magnetic buckle as the direction is different from plastic buckles.
As a road cyclists, we are more accustomed to seeing integrated lenses on aerodynamic helmets to reduce the drag caused by helmets. That’s why we were a little skeptical to see the magnetic panoramic lens on the Urbanize helmet. While this isn’t Lazer’s first commuter or E-bike helmet to have an integrated lens, it does appear to be the first to use a magnetic attachment mechanism unlike previous helmets that use bolts or pins. This allows you to easily attach or remove the lens by simply aligning the magnet in the lens and the helmet. Lazer also allows you to attach the lens upside down above the brim to stow it away if you decide to not wear the lens.
We were impressed with the optics of the clear lens which is great for day or nighttime use. While there is some distortion near the top of the lens, it is easy to forget you’re even wearing the lens thanks to the partially frameless design. On the road, we found that the lens provided excellent protection for the upper half of your face from bugs and wind chill. At this time, Lazer only offers a transparent lens, so you may still want to wear sunglasses. We found it was easy to wear sunglasses underneath the lens, as it sits flush with the exterior of the helmet leaving a large gap between the lens and your face.
Another thoughtful addition with the Urbanize is the included winter kit. With this kit you receive two ear covers and a foam vent blocker. The ear covers are designed to keep your ears warm on colder days, yet have cut-outs to ensure your hearing isn’t reduced allowing you to ride safely. Combined with the lens, the winter kit keeps you protected from cold wind chill while riding without the need for a beanie or additional headwear. The front vent cover is also a clever piece that slides into the backside of the front vent to restrict the airflow through the helmet. Unfortunately, there is some assembly required with the ear covers as you’ll need to attach little velcro stickers to both the helmet and ear covers.
FIT AND COMFORT
Lazer uses what they call an Advanced Turnfit System for retention. This uses a dual direction dial at the rear of the helmet to easily adjust the fit of the helmet, and also allows the rear cradle to be adjusted between a few fixed positions. While this setup is less pony-tail friendly than the Lazer Chameleon which uses a top mounted dial, we found the helmet comfortable and easy to adjust. Our primary complaint with the fit are the leather straps which felt stiff but as with leather products in general, we expect them to become softer over time. Also it is worth pointing out that the medium sized Urbanize tipped our scales at 418g without accessories which is heavier than typical road helmets (200-300g) which makes the helmet noticeable although it doesn’t feel bulky.
Overall, we found the Lazer Urbanize MIPS to be a well designed helmet with plenty of features making it perfect for E-Bike or commuters. While the helmet lacks ‘smart’ features (i.e. crash sensors, bluetooth integration, etc) Lazer has integrated a variety of design details and features that extend the helmet’s functionality. We particularly like the magnetically attached panoramic lens that has clear optics and can be stowed when not needed on the helmet itself. Also, the removable tail light and included winter kit allow the Urbanize helmet to be used throughout the year and add additional safety. The additional NTA-8776 E-Bike certification and MIPS liner also help provide some peace of mind by potentially reducing the chance of an injury in an impact. If you’re looking for a commuting or E-Bike helmet, the Urbanize is definitely one to consider.
Disclaimer: The product for this review was provided by Lazer. The views expressed on this website are solely those of the authors and are here to help people make an informed choice before a purchase. The authors or the blog itself does not get any monetary compensation from the product manufacturer or third-party websites/vendor links that are posted here.