31 Mar 2022
How the pro peloton helped shape the development of Lazer’s new technology.
Lazer has an influential history with pro riders. So influential, in fact, that Lazer’s general manager Sean van Waes claims responsibility for pushing the peloton to wear proper head protection in the days before it was mandatory.
As he tells the story, it was the late-1990s, and most riders in the Grand Tours did not wear helmets, or only put them on for sprint stages. After riding a flat stage of the Tour de France, Australian cyclist Robbie McEwen gave an interview where he was asked why he was wearing a helmet. In response, he simply pointed at Van Waes and said, “That guy makes me wear it.”
Van Waes, seeing an opportunity to gain some press coverage for his company, compared wearing a helmet to wearing a condom. The ensuing column inches, combined with Lazer’s inspired idea to start putting diamonds on the helmets of riders who had won a stage, meant Lazer suddenly changed the perception of head protection within the pro peloton. “We made helmets more chic,” says Van Waes.
Today, the protective benefits of helmets are undisputable. For pros racing in competitions, they require helmets that not only provide the latest in cutting-edge protection but also advanced ventilation while remaining the lowest weight possible. In the peloton, every gram counts, so reducing weight and plastic use was at the forefront of Lazer’s design team’s mind when they began work creating what would become KinetiCore.
Lazer worked with Team Jumbo-Visma during the development phase of KinetiCore. As a supplier and co-developer of the team’s equipment, Lazer was in a unique position to gain invaluable feedback and input from riders on what they demand from a helmet, and what a helmet should provide during gruelling multi-day races such as the Tour de France.
Lazer’s commercial and marketing director Mike Smink says that the Jumbo-Visma cycling team was in a constant quest for development, not just in cycling products and materials but also in their riders’ skills. “They were looking for all kinds of developments in the way they approached food and nutrition, and one of the elements within our partnership was that we wouldn't simply supply helmets. We would be willing to invest in further development and help make the team perform better.”
The pro riders challenged Lazer by taking their current helmets as a reference point and asking if they can make them lighter, more aerodynamic, more ventilated and more comfortable at the same time.
“The riders wanted to have a helmet that provided advanced aerodynamics for the final sprint in races,” says Smink. “But it also had to be comfortable during the 200km of racing leading up to that point.” At that level of riding, a helmet can potentially mean the difference between a win or a loss – tiny adjustments to the helmet’s aerodynamics and weight can shave seconds off a rider’s time.
The result of this research and development alongside the pros is Lazer’s all-new Vento KinetiCore: a helmet that is incredibly light for an aero road helmet, features improved aerodynamic performance, and is well-ventilated while also containing the new KinetiCore improved protection built-in rather than as an added on extra.
It’s a helmet inspired and informed by pro riders, but designed for club riders and weekend riders across the world who want more than just marginal gains. They’re looking for the ultimate in comfort and lightweight design that will help boost speed while keeping them cool with advanced airflow technology. The Vento featuring KinetiCore technology provides this thanks to the all-new aerodynamic design, built at a 15° angle which reduces airflow at the first point of contact and creates a rounded-off tail for increased streamlining and improved aesthetics.
All this in addition to coming complete with Lazer’s improved protection technology built-in ensures they can ride with confidence and push themselves to their limits knowing they are wearing KinetiCore protection.
“We use the peloton as a statement for our helmets, because if it’s good for doing 250km riding and then sprinting and winning, then it’s good for all of our customers as well,” says Van Waes. “That's why at Lazer we’re not working for the pro riders, we’re using them to make sure our customers have the best helmets possible.”
Ingenuity Built-In. Not Added On.
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