Australian Mountain Bike
Helmets are progressively getting more complicated with newfangled retention systems, sliding liners, non-newtonian padding, and protection systems which may or may not substantially reduce the risk of concussion.
However, with the US$75 Lazer Cyclone MIPS (not available in Australia) currently topping Virginia Tech’s safety rankings with the highest Star Score, it makes the point that high tech and expensive may not necessarily be better (from a safety standpoint).
The Coyote is a bit more expensive ($AUD149) than the Cyclone, but it is the perfect example of a brain bucket that doesn’t need to lean on a heap of bells and whistles, it’s just a solid helmet.
Now, I haven’t crash tested the Coyote, and cannot speak to its overall safety; however, it does offer deep rear and side coverage, encasing a large portion of your melon in EPS foam— there is a MIPS version on offer for $189. Even with extended shell, the Coyote played nice with sunnies from Oakley, Smith, and Poc.
There’s hardly any foam visible from the exterior of the helmet, with the polycarbonate shell coming all the down around the bottom edge. When looking to hit low price points, this is an area where brands often choose to scrimp, leaving the foam susceptible to gashes, gouges and dings, not the case on the Coyote.
It comes in three sizes, and the Turnfit Plus retention system offers plenty of adjustability combining a ratchet dial at the back at and eight clicks (by my count) of vertical adjustment. Rather than squashing your forehead up against the brow of the helmet as you turn the dial, instead, the retention system uses a nylon band that runs the entire circumference of your head which it reels in as you crank things down.
Tipping the scales at 361g in a size medium, it’s far from the lightest trail lid out there, but I can’t say that once it was on my head, I noticed it, nor did it cause me a sore neck on big days out.
With 21 sizeable vents, and plenty of internal channelling to boot, the Coyote breathes pretty well at speed, and on those slow slogs up fire roads. Even with no vents under the brow like those found on the more expensive Impala, I still didn’t suffer from sweat dripping into the top of my glasses—it’s also worth noting my test period has consisted of mostly cooler temps. With the retention system surrounding your head, it helps to retain a small gap between your forehead and the shell for a bit of airflow.
With the Coyote falling in the middle of the pricing bell curve, Lazer had to cut costs somewhere; the most noticeable are in the visor and strap. At the fixed angle the peak completes a clean line from the front to the back of the helmet, the trouble is it creeps into your field of view trying to look down the trail, especially descending and I wish Lazer had fixed it a touch higher.
The straps are also made from a thicker gauge webbing, but remain pliable and don’t make too much noise at speed, but getting the sliding strap dividers in the right spot does take a bit of extra fiddling. The straps are only anchored to the shell at the front, so if you pick your helmet up by the straps, you’ll have to coax them back through the retention system before you’re ready to roll.
The pads don’t receive any special wicking technology or treatments, and they are just stock standard foam pads which suck up sweat straight away and don’t dry all that quickly.
Overall for $149, the Coyote is a solid helmet for the price and checks most of my boxes. Most importantly, it fits my head well, and it ventilates well. Even though the Coyote gets Lazer’s second tier retention system, it’s miles better than the top end head squishers that some brands use.