File this under the drawer marked “Why Not”: A bike helmet with built-in safety lights. That’s the stand-out feature on Lazer Helmets’ Urbanize N’Light, a hard hat made for commuting and city riding with a white light on front and a red blinker on back.
A rider wearing the Urbanize N’Light, which costs $100, kills two safety birds with one stone. The helmet protects your head in case of a crash; the small L.E.D. lights keep you visible to cars while cruising on a road at night.
It sounds funny, I know. But the light-equipped Lazer helmet worked pretty slick in my trial. Out of the box, the plastic light modules pop in place in slots on the helmet. There’s a small switch on each light face to turn them off and on.
Granted, this is not a performance helmet. The Urbanize N’Light — which looks to be a cross of a new-school freestyle ski helmet and something out of motocross — is bulky and has only six vents. It is too warm for intense rides.
Compared to the racing helmets I am used to, the Urbanize N’Light is heavy, too. It weighed 1 pound 1 ounce on my scale with its lights installed.
But what it lacks in performance, the helmet makes up for in convenience. When heading out at night, I could simply throw this helmet on and ride away — no need to attach lights to my bike.
The helmet’s lights are bright in the dark, but dim in the day. They do not serve to illuminate a dark path or road ahead of you for visibility. But cars will see you better at night with this helmet on.
Adding extra illumination on your handlebars or messenger bag is never a bad idea. But I felt safe with just the helmet’s blinking light as signal to my presence on the street.
Lazer includes its Rollsys fit system on this helmet, which is a turn-wheel on top that expands and contracts a headband for a custom fit. The helmet’s interior padding is removable and washable once soaked with sweat and smelly.
It comes in two sizes — XS-M and L-XL — to fit most adult heads. I wore the L-XL, which fits heads about 22.8 to 24 inches around. I wish there were more sizes, as I was at the smaller end of the L-XL range and the helmet looked big on my head.
The company (www.lazerhelmets.com) sells the Urbanize N’Light in eight colors, from matte white to green to a soft pink. I found it comfortable for moderate city rides but best left for easy commutes and casual trips at night on the bike — red, white, blinking, and safer than I would’ve otherwise been.
—Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.