Summary: A well built four star flip up crash helmet with a terrific photochromic shield as standard. Available in carbon or glass fiber, it has great ventilation and is well thought out. An excellent buy.
Available in Carbon or Glass Fibre versions (stats relating to carbon version)
SHARP 4 star rated (out of 5)
Not Snell tested
Under 3lbs (1.35 Kg) – World’s lightest flip up?
Wind noise – OK
Ventilation – Excellent
Typical price range: $300-$450 depending on model
Lazer’s launched its new Monaco modular (or flip up) crash helmet with both a carbon fiber or glass fiber outer shell. The carbon fiber version is lighter than the glass fiber version and is the one tested at the SHARP labs to score four out of five stars, so we’ll focus mainly on that one here. Having said that, the glass fiber version is around $75 cheaper, which might be the deciding factor if you want one. Still, seems terribly odd that they’ll offer two construction types though. Mind you, they are Belgian 😉
Both versions feature multi-layered construction with fibers of different densities and directions being used to produce a composite which is designed to reduce impact and add durability on impact – basically so it doesn’t split and and is able to absorb shocks well. The four star SHARP rating shows that it does this very well, especially for a flip up helmet. So that’s a big point in the Monaco’s favour.
It’s also especially good going when Lazer claim the carbon version is also the world’s lightest flip up helmet.
OK, onto the features. It’s far from a noisy helmet but lacks some padding around the ears – probably due to the space for bluetooth speakers the crash helmet’s wired up for. However this does mean it’s only an adequate performer here – many flip up helmets suffer in their ability to suppress wind blast and while being adequate (especially if you usually wear ear plugs) the Monaco continues this trend.
Ventilation, on the other hand, is particularly good – it’s got the usual chin and forehead vents, but also has exhausts on the crown, encouraging airflow over the inside of the shield. It’s reported as having excellent ventilation, though it has to be said we’ve not heard from anyone talking about how the shield performs in a downpour (if you have, please get in touch below to let us know how you got on – does it steam up badly or keep everything clear?).
All vents in the helmet are easy to operate while wearing gloves. Thank goodness most manufacturers seem to be getting this bit right (though I still never quite know whether a vent’s open or not – but that could be just me!). There’s also a decent chin curtain at the bottom of the helmet which cuts the amount of draught getting up inside the helmet from around the neck and also helps reduces wind noise a little.
Looking to buy a Lazer?
Lazer helmets are pretty difficult to get hold of in the US (tbh they are in Europe too!). If you want one, we recommend SportsBikeShop (UK) who'll ship one to the US and offer outstanding service and great £ prices. Though note, they'll not be DOT certified for use in mandatory helmet states. Please see here for more info. on this store.
On to shields, and this is where things get particularly interesting. The Monaco is Pinlock ready as standard (though the insert has to be bought separately – tho check with your retailer first) which of course will help enormously to reduce/obliterate misting in rainy conditions. But that’s not the interesting bit. No, what is interesting is that the Monaco is fitted with a photochromic (i.e. light sensitive) face shield as standard!
This means, if it’s sunny, it’ll quickly change the tint to filter out UV and sunlight. If it gets dark, the visor becomes transparent again. Very cool, very useful and very safe. Much better than wearing sun glasses (some folks swear wearing sunglasses is really dangerous in an accident) but also better than many of the dual-shield systems and the fiddle and condensation problems people sometimes complain about with them. This new system works and works well and, if the cost of the visors isn’t restrictive, is bound to become commonplace amongst certainly the higher end of the crash helmet market as well as a popular after market replacement. Good one Lazer.
The chin guard is easy to open using a slider that, again, works easily with a gloved hand. It’s made of plastic so seems a tad more flimsy than the carbon fiber shell but shouldn’t cause a problem – especially as the Monaco is double-homologated, meaning it can be ridden legally with the chin guard up or down.
The Lazer Monaco features a micometric buckle which is supposed to be undoable with one hand and works well (though it’s pretty unusual and takes some getting used to).
And last (and least!) the Monaco is a high tech crash helmet in more ways than one. It comes as standard with blue tooth cabling and controller built in. So should you be hurtling down the highway and decide to change the track on your mp3 player or take a call from the wife about what she’s putting on for tea, you’ll be able to take the call (presumably before you put the Monaco’s other safety features to the test against the nearest crash barrier (not really a fan of riding distractions here!).
So there you have it. A light, well thought out and designed flip up helmet. There’s several other good flip ups on the market such as the excellent Roof Boxer V8 and the Shark Evoline. The Lazer Monaco however, seems to have the edge.
Here’s a video of the Lazer Monaco Crash Helmet. First, a well meaning guy who can’t say ‘three’ 🙂
Best place to buy a Lazer crash helmet?
We don't think Lazer helmets are readily available in the US. But here's a fantastic UK/Eu store you can buy one from. SportsBikeShop are based in the UK and offer outstanding service (9.8/10 on Trustpilot) including 365 day refunds. They're competitively priced too (with price match) though note: helmets bought from overseas won't be DOT certified and you'll have to pay shipping and any import duties.
If you buy from them, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you - a massive THANKS (it's how we finance the site)!
If you’ve owned a Lazer Monaco, we’d love to hear what you thought of it in the comments section below!