With this second iteration of the trail-focused Jackal helmet, Lazer has bucked the MTB helmet trend of using the MIPS system and has instead introduced its own proprietary KinetiCore technology to enhance impact and rotational force protection. Essentially, Lazer’s KinetiCore looks to better utilize the impact absorbing properties of the helmet's EPS foam core, by introducing shapes and cutouts on the inside of the helmet, which are designed to crush and shear on impact. The myriad of shapes can easily be seen on the inside surface – they don’t feel fragile to the touch and are unlikely to be damaged by general use.
The logic behind this method is a tried and tested one, just take a look at the molded EPS packaging next time you buy a TV or microwave, which will be covered in various shapes and cutouts with the aim of reducing any impact forces reaching the goods inside. The fringe benefits of this method are a reduction in weight over the original Jackal helmet, and a lower component count with fewer dissimilar materials, which should help with recycling at the end of the helmet's usable life.
The shape and appearance of this updated helmet is nearly identical to the original
Lazer Jackal (which we rated as one of the best MTB helmets for trail riding) and shares the same 19 various sized cutouts including extra-large exhaust ports at the rear. The change from MIPS to KinetiCore negates the use of a MIPS liner, and the numerous cutouts and channels on the inside of the helmet that KinetiCore brings, should in theory help with ventilation.
The appearance of the Jackal KinetiCore is understated yet purposeful – there’s none of the fins and aggressive shaping seen on some of its competitors, even the colors on offer are all quite muted, including the ‘Matte Blue Green’ tested here.
The Jackal KinetiCore is available in small, medium and large sizes, and the weight of the medium-sized Jackal KinetiCore tested is a competitive 362g. For reference, the older MIPS version weighed 408g in the medium size.
There is the usual mid-length flip-up visor with three distinct positions. The high position provides ample room for goggle storage, and the rear of the helmet includes two textured rubber areas to help keep goggles in place.
Adjustment is achieved by what Lazer calls an ‘Advanced TurnSys System' – essentially a small textured wheel at the back of the helmet adjusts the cradle's circumference, and a ratchet system allows for plenty of height adjustment. The straps are supple and easily adjusted to achieve a level fit on the head, they're secured with an excellent magnetic buckle for really easy securing and removing, even in winter gloves.
As a bonus, the Jackal is supplied with a GoPro style accessory mount, which fits neatly into a ventilation cutout on top of the helmet and then secures with two wraparound Velcro straps. A Lazer branded padded carry bag is also included in the box.
Price is comparable with other top-tier trail helmets with this level of design detail and there’s a 50 percent crash replacement policy that lasts for three years.
Out on the trail the Jackal KinetiCore felt very comfortable from the first ride to the extent that I almost forgot I was wearing it. Stability was good when attacking steep technical sections with drops and rock gardens and it felt comfortable on higher-paced XC type rides over three hours.
The Jackal clearly fitted me well and the fit adjustment was super easy with the ratcheted height adjustment and textured wheel at the back of the helmet. However, fit is very subjective to the individual, so I would always recommend you try before you buy. For many years I stuck with one helmet brand (begins with G, ends in O), safe in the knowledge that it would fit me comfortably. These days most helmet manufacturers, Lazer included, have managed to achieve a shape that fits a broader spectrum of head shapes, most likely down to the more sophisticated adjustment built into the helmets. It’s great news for us consumers, as the choice on offer has never been so great.
One area I was unable to fully test was how the Jackal performs in higher temperatures. I can testify however that airflow through the helmet was sufficient enough to cause an ‘ice cream’ head on one chilly morning, enough to make me return home to get a skull cap.
The visor is easy to move through its three positions, though I did find that it encroached into my field of vision too much in the lowest position, but this could be easily remedied by pushing it up one notch.
Fit with glasses was fine on all of those I tried, and I never suffered with any fogging issues.
Lazer has introduced an interesting new impact protection system with KinetiCore, and in the Jackal has a very competent and high-performing helmet, with an excellent fit and competitive weight. If you want something slightly different to the crowd, and don’t want to shout about it, the Jackal KinetiCore is a definite contender.
Tech specs: Lazer Jackal KinetiCore
- Price: $219.99 / £159.99
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colors: Matte Blue Green (tested), Matte Light Blue, Matte Black, Matte White Black
- Weight: 362g (size M tested)