The Lazer Jackal MIPS Helmet is Fit for Action
Lazer isn't usually the first name people think of when considering a mountain bike helmet, having been a major player in the road and cyclocross market for years. Recent mountain bike helmets from the Belgian company have changed that lately, culminating in an impressive range of MTB-centric helmets. The latest effort is the Lazer Jackal MIPS, a top-rung helmet that's surprised us in how well-considered it is.
A Bit of Unexpected
A brand's nicest helmet is certainly expected to offer an array of features, and the Jackal doesn't disappoint. It starts with Lazer's 3-position visor that moves high enough to place goggles when they're not in use. Out back the Jackal has a rubberized goggle strap grip area grip goggles in place, but just above the rubber is a slight lip to prevent goggle straps from slipping from their position. Sunglasses secure nicely to the visor.
Lazer also includes an accessory mount strap for the Jackal, perfect for attaching a camera or light. The strap itself is surprisingly secure, moreso than just about any aftermarket strap-on mount we've seen. It also seems a bit more secure than an equivalent mount that snaps into place.
Lazer also sought to add a magnetic buckle that works similarly to the Fidlock buckle on a helmet such as the Giro Manifest (review HERE). One hand use is easy with this buckle and feels awfully secure.
One particularly thoughtful addition is an extension of the plastic outer shell that goes on the bottom of the helmet foam. It protects the foam from damage and adds a touch of polish to the helmet as well.
And a Bit More, As You Would Expect
Lazer does a good job of covering the basics, and the Jackal is no exception. Regardless of how you feel about MIPS, it does little harm to how a helmet feels. What is arguably more important is the retention system, and Lazer's ATS Fit System is among the best out there. A dial on the back of the helmet tightens a wire and strap system evenly around the circumference of the rider's head rather than pushing the head forward. The end goal is to prevent hotspots or pressure points, and for the most part, it does a good job.
The Jackal also had a dropped profile that brings the helmet's foam just a bit lower than you'd expect from a helmet. This also allows the aforementioned ATS Fit System to sit just a touch lower for added support.
As one would expect, the padding is removable for cleaning, the 18 vents in total claim excellent ventilation, and at a claimed 396g it is about average weight for an extended-coverage like this.
Overall the helmet feels robust. The ratcheting retention system has a satisfying click to it, the magnetic lock comes together with minimal fuss, and the three-position visor has useful indents.
Five Star (Crash Test) Rated
Lazer is proud to have had the Jackal helmet earn a five-star rating from Virginia Tech's independent helmet testing, a rating system they claim identifies which helmets best reduce the risk of concussion. Lazer has been on fire in this regard, consistently offering what the testing program identifies as the safest helmets around.
We aren't in any position to verify the validity of these rankings, and nor do we plan on being in such a position. Five stars does not mean it is impossible to get a concussion, but it is nice to see that in at least one measurable instance, the Jackal is among the safest helmets available.
Jackal: In Stock!
Lazer might not have the roots in mountain biking of some other brands, but the Jackal is a smart, well-considered helmet. It packs a number of features and is a safe bet too. And while the Jackal has been tough to come by, Contender Bicycles has the Lazer Jackal in stock in myriad colors and sizes.
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