As makers of my all-time favorite road/light XC helmet, Lazer had my full attention when details of their new-for-2011 Oasisz helmet started to surface last summer. Developed as a high coverage but still breathable all mountain helmet, featuring the company’s Rollsys retention system, a hard nylon Rigidity Brace System skeleton inside the foam, and a very slick self-aligning Magic Buckle (described by Tyler here). We’ve spent the past several months with Oasizs perched on our noggins- hit the jump to see how it’s gone…
Though early samples of the Oasiz had overly thin straps that gave the Magic Buckle a frightening and very unmagical habit of coming loose while riding (something you’ll no doubt see mentioned in other reviews), Lazer have fixed the problem and all Oasiz helmets are now shipping with somewhat thicker and much more secure straps. With that (very serious) problem addressed, we could get on with reviewing the Oasiz.
With more coverage than other ventilated all mountain/trail helmets, the Oasiz certainly looks the part. The 21 vents and moderate internal channeling promise more comfort than skate style helmets- and at temperatures up to 80 degrees can hold their own against more XC-oriented options. Once temperatures top 80, the extra coverage and reduced ventilation are noticeable, but not unbearable. Once the sweat does come on, the Lazer’s anti-funk X-Static pads do a better job of managing moisture than those in Giro’s Hex and are much less likely to drip when saturated.
At 360g in the L-XL size, the Oasiz is a fairly substantial helmet. It’s not so heavy that it’s noticeable when worn, but while handling, the heft can be considered to be either off-putting or reassuring, depending on your perspective. Smaller than either Lazer’s Genesis or Nirvana models in the XXS-M size, I found myself unable to get the smaller Oasiz over my ‘Giro Medium’ head and reaching for an L-XL. As much as I love Lazer’s Rollsys retention system on a light helmet and when I’m closer to the upper end of a helmet’s size range, it does feel a bit overwhelmed by the Oasiz’s weight and the slack it’s being asked to take up- and other riders who’ve tried the larger size tend to agree. Alex, shown here in the red/white helmet, is quite happy with the smaller size and doesn’t find it to be floppy at all. As always, a helmet’s fit is critical. The non-adjustable visor is perfectly placed, shading the sun without really intruding on the wearer’s field of vision. The graphics are better integrated than most, too- which makes for a handsome package.
With the strap issue resolved and fit issues set aside, I had a bit of a scare with the Oasiz on a long Colorado descent when the helmet became alarmingly loose. Coming to a stop and removing the helmet, I found that the front of the Rollsys system had come unmoored from the helmet (see picture at left). This is something that has never happened to my Genesis in several years of near-constant use- and arguably should never have happened with the Oasiz. Because the system popped back into place easily and I haven’t been able to reproduce the problem in the months since, I have to think that one or both of the anchors weren’t installed properly from the beginning. Something to keep an eye on.
As much a fan as I have been of Lazer helmets, I have to think that the Oasiz needs a bit of work. Three sizes really would help more riders find a helmet that fits their heads and reduce the demands placed on the retention system. In addition, making an all mountain Rollsys variant -one that came down lower in the back to better cradle the skull- might be a good idea. If these issues were addressed, the Lazer would be one of the better ventilated and best looking high-coverage helmets on the market. As it stands, and especially given its intended use, I can only recommend the Oasiz for riders whose heads fit the shell well. Available in 5 standard colors (including the red/white shown) for $125 and 3 Brian Lopes-endorsed color schemes (including the grey/orange also shown) for $135.