Lazer has set out to make the Jackal KinetiCore a trail rider’s dream. It’s intended to be a helmet to enable you to push harder on the trails, with improved protection, ventilation and comfort. Bold claims.
In a bid to achieve these goals, Lazer has produced a unique design, with its own KinetiCore protection system.
This boasts direct and rotational impact protection in one design to save weight and increase air flow.
Lazer Jackal KinetiCore helmet details
The plastic shell on the Jackal KinetiCore is fully wrapped around its single-density EPS foam to offer plenty of protection and act as the helmet’s first line of defence against knocks, bangs and accidental drops.
The primary protection for your head is the single-layer EPS foam and its KinetiCore protection. So, what is KinetiCore?
Lazer set out to create a helmet that matched the safety standards of the other big hitters in the helmet market, reducing plastic consumption and weight, yet improving ventilation. The brand didn’t feel adding extra features such as a MIPS liner was the best way to achieve that.
Instead, it took inspiration from car impact zones and trimmed the EPS foam to replicate this concept. Inside the helmet, you’ll see cutaway sections of the EPS, leaving raised blocks.
These blocks act as the crumple zone under impact and sit directly against your head. Each one can squash, shear or deform in any direction, which gives the helmet its direct and rotational impact protection, all without adding in any other materials. This design still scores 5 stars in the Virginia Tech helmet safety ratings.
The retention system in the Jackal KinetiCore is a 360-degree cradle, which is tightened with a micro-adjust dial at the rear. Its height adjustment offers 14 positions to choose from, so you can really fine-tune its location to best suit your head shape.
Due to the KinetiCore, there’s minimal padding with just enough to offer comfort and some sweat absorption around the forehead, and over the temples and top of the skull. The padding can be removed to wash and keep it fresh.
Lazer has squeezed 19 vents into the shell to help maximise airflow. Plus, there are no additional liners placed between your head and the helmet, so ventilation should be good.
The peak can be placed into one of three positions, with the highest leaving space for eyewear. It appears mountain bike goggles were the eye protection of choice because there are rubber grippers on the rear of the helmet to help secure the strap, but no dedicated features for storing MTB glasses.
The Jackal KinetiCore also comes with a mount that fits into one of the vents and enables you to attach an action camera or helmet light.
This helmet is priced competitively at £149.99. There are four sizes available: S (52-56cm), M (55-59cm), L (58-61cm) and XL (61-64cm), with a size small weighing 337g.
Lazer Jackal KinetiCore helmet performance
The low weight of the Lazer makes it feel like a speedy trail helmet rather than one for pushing your limits. Its subtle styling and sleek shape has ample coverage where you need it for aggressive riding, however, which makes it an attractive choice.
With the EPS crumple zones needing access to your head, there’s less padding in the Jackal KinetiCore than other mountain bike helmets such as the Bell Super Air Spherical. While it isn’t uncomfortable, the Lazer isn’t a plush-feeling helmet when done up.
I could ride all day without noticing sore pressure points. However, it’s not the first helmet I would grab for a luxurious feel.
The Jackal KinetiCore’s retention system works well and gave even pressure around my head when tightened up. The 14-position height adjustment enables you to customise where it rests best on your head. I settled on a middle position, six clicks from its lowest setting.
While there’s no padding on the plastic cradle, it was still comfortable against the back of my head.
When tightened up, the Lazer remained in place well on rowdy trails. Its low bulk doesn’t go unnoticed, but its lightweight design helps you forget it’s there. Because there are no extra liners or parts to move inside the helmet, it’s perfectly quiet with no creaks or squeaks.
I had to ride with the peak in its middle position, because in the lowest it came into view. I found this distracting. It isn’t a negative, though, because I think the helmet looks better with the peak set to its middle setting.
Once criticism I do have is the Jackal KinetiCore doesn’t enable riding glasses to sit as comfortably as other helmets. I found the arms tended to catch on the cradle behind the ears. I could wiggle them into place to get an okay position, but it wasn’t as easy as with the Troy Lee Designs Flowline, for example.
The flimsy straps are also an issue. While they do the job, they make the Lazer feel like a non-premium product.
That said, the Jackal KinetiCore comes up trumps on ventilation. Its open design and reasonably large front vents enable close to unrestricted airflow into the helmet. It’s up there with the best.
The added mount that enables accessory attachment is a worthwhile feature, especially for riding at night, and it fits securely into the vent with the Velcro straps.
How does the Lazer Jackal KinetiCore helmet compare to the Specialized Ambush 2?
With less than £10 separating the Lazer and Specialized helmets, what other differences set these two apart? The Lazer uses its proprietary KinetiCore design to keep you safe, while the Ambush 2 employs a more traditional dual-density EPS foam and MIPS technology to provide impact protection.
The Ambush 2 is a cooler helmet, with large vents in the front to maximise air flow, but the Lazer is still a breezy lid. The padding in the Ambush 2 is a little plusher, and it’s a chocolate bar or so lighter.
Glasses sit better on the Specialized too, but maybe not everyone will like its fixed peak.
Lazer Jackal KinetiCore helmet bottom line
If you’re prioritising a lightweight helmet with good protection, the Jackal KinetiCore should be high on your list.
Its ventilation works well to keep you cool, and its comfort is decent but not class-leading. You can attach accessories with its mount, but glasses aren’t accommodated as well as on other helmets.
Overall, it’s a strong performer, but a few tweaks could see it score higher.
How we tested
These helmets make up our 2023 trail helmets group test.
We tested nine open-face lids from a range of brands, featuring different tech and takes on performance and comfort to see who came up with the goods.
- Leatt MTB AllMtn 4.0 review
- Troy Lee Designs Flowline MIPS review
- Smith Forefront 2
- Endura MT500 MIPS
- Bell Super Air Spherical MIPS review
- Specialized Ambush 2 review
- Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS review
- Scott Stego Plus review