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Lazer Tonic Kineticore Review

Not top in any category but above average in most, this is a good helmet at a great price
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Lazer Tonic Kineticore Review (The side view of the Tonic Kineticore is clean and classic)
The side view of the Tonic Kineticore is clean and classic
Credit: Emily Hollomon
Price:  $80 List
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Manufacturer:   Lazer
By Luke Hollomon ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 8, 2023
67
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 17
  • Comfort - 25% 6.0
  • Ventilation - 25% 5.0
  • Adjustability - 20% 8.0
  • Weight - 15% 8.9
  • Style - 7.5% 8.0
  • Durability - 7.5% 5.0

Our Verdict

For an affordable helmet that won't let you down in any category, the Lazer Tonic Kineticore is a great choice. Though not the best helmet we've tested, it's quite inexpensive, incredibly lightweight and adjustable, and adequately ventilated enough to be a Best Buy winner. The padding is pretty comfortable, the head retention system adjusts to fit just about anyone, and the buckles and dials can be operated even with winter gloves on. Add in its classic style and adequate ventilation and the Tonic Kineticore earns itself plaudits as our Best Budget Option. It's not as well ventilated as our top picks, nor is it as comfortable, but it does quite well across the board. To see how it stacks up versus the competition, check out our review of the best road bike helmets.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Super adjustable
Lightweight
REASONS TO AVOID
Middling ventilation
Limited comfort and durability
Editor's Note: This helmet was added to our lineup in May, 2023.

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Awards Best Buy Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award   
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$300 List
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Bottom Line With its low price, light weight, and great adjustability, we can overlook a few flaws in this very good helmetA comfortable, lightweight, and well-ventilated helmet that will keep you cool for hours of ridingA high-value performer with great ventilation, giving it great bang for your buckGreat value packed into a lower-priced helmet though some issues with the fit and finishingA comfortable, very adjustable helmet with divisive aesthetics that puts protection first, ventilation second
Rating Categories Lazer Tonic Kineticore Trek Velocis MIPS Specialized Airnet... Giro Agilis MIPS Bontrager Starvos W...
Comfort (25%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
8.0
Ventilation (25%)
5.0
9.0
9.0
4.0
3.0
Adjustability (20%)
8.0
8.0
6.0
7.0
7.0
Weight (15%)
8.9
8.7
4.5
6.3
4.0
Style (7.5%)
8.0
7.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
Durability (7.5%)
5.0
8.0
8.0
4.0
3.0
Specs Lazer Tonic Kineticore Trek Velocis MIPS Specialized Airnet... Giro Agilis MIPS Bontrager Starvos W...
Measured Weight 296 g (Size L) 300 g (Size L) 364 g (Size L) 336 g (Size L) 372 g (Size L)
Size Range 58-61 cm (Size L) 58-63 cm (Size L) 52-62 cm (Size M) 59-63 cm (Size L) 58-63 cm (Size L)
Number of Vents 18 12 18 32 17
MIPS? No, Kineticore Yes Yes Yes No, Wavecel
Sizes Available S, M, L, XL S, M, L S, M, L S, M, L XS/Y, S, M, L, XL

Our Analysis and Test Results

Low weight and high adjustability are the areas where the Lazer Tonic Kineticore really stands out. It's a very light helmet even while rolling in at a third of the price of the top-end lids. Those weight savings are noticeable out on the road, reducing neck fatigue. It also has thick contact areas in the head retention system, lessening the pressure point effect on your temples. Most notably, it's wonderfully adjustable. It comes in four sizes rather than the standard three and Lazer's TurnSys adjustment system easily shifts vertically to wrap around any skull shape.

Performance Comparison


lazer tonic kineticore - sometimes the sidewalk is better than the road, especially on libby...
Sometimes the sidewalk is better than the road, especially on Libby Hill's cobblestones.
Credit: Emily Hollomon

Comfort


The Tonic Kineticore is not the most comfortable helmet we tested but it is just below average in this area, great for a helmet in its price range. The shape is spot-on for those with more rounded heads, though it may be too roomy up top if your head is a bit flat. It narrows more at the temples than some helmets too, so if you know that's one of your problem areas, you may want to try one on first to make sure it works fits well.


Going into the details, the padding is quite soft and squishy but the fabric Lazer chose to wrap it in doesn't feel great against the skin and the seam around the edges of the pads is scratchy against your forehead. Fortunately, this is only a problem when putting it on and taking it off, the seam isn't noticeable while riding. The thick, budget straps that Lazer chose for this helmet are standard for this price range but still disappointing. They absorb sweat readily, making them clammy and slick on a hot ride. The padding, meanwhile, isn't very sweat-absorptive so be ready to keep wiping your eyes and forehead on the hottest days.

lazer tonic kineticore - on a cool spring day like this one, the kineticore's ventilation is...
On a cool spring day like this one, the Kineticore's ventilation is adequate. But it'll be steamy in the summer.
Credit: Emily Hollomon

Ventilation


Speaking of sweat, let's talk ventilation. Like most other categories, the Tonic Kineticore's ventilation is middling. It's not great and not terrible. Keeping in mind its significant price discount over our top performers, we're pretty happy with the amount of air rushing through the 28 vents. When riding outdoors, it's noticeably warmer than our top helmet picks, but we still wouldn't hesitate to buy helmet at this price. While not being exceptionally windy, it's also not terribly hot.


Our indoor testing bore this out. The Tonic Kineticore kept us a couple of degrees warmer in this controlled environment than top performers, but a couple degrees cooler than the bottom of the list. Like we said, it's in the middle, and that's a good thing.

lazer tonic kineticore - the tonic kineticore is a bit warm while climbing, but not bad on...
The Tonic Kineticore is a bit warm while climbing, but not bad on the flats and downhill.
Credit: Emily Hollomon

Adjustability


Let's go to a category where the Tonic Kineticore really stands out, adjustability. It's available in a huge size range, fitting heads from 52cm all the way up to 64cm. For context, that range is wide enough to fit anyone from an average 7-year-old child to ex-pro baseball player Kevin Mench, nicknamed “Shrek” for having such a big noggin. In addition to this fantastic circumference range, the Tonic Kineticore's vertical fit is easily adjustable using the TurnSys system. Most helmets can be adjusted about 2 centimeters vertically while the TurnSys moves up and down more than 3. The only slip-up in this category is the chinstrap. It's much too long for most testers, making the strap ends tough to wrangle.


The buckle, straps, and head retention system can all be operated with winter gloves on, making this helmet easier to use in the cold than most. It's a little thing, but being able to tighten, loosen, strap, and unstrap a helmet without removing your gloves is a tiny luxury in the chilly months.

Style


Yes, style is subjective, but there are some universal constants. Helmets that look like you're wearing a Mario mushroom on your head and those that are ultra-wide tend to be liked less, while those with classic shapes perform better. The Kineticore didn't get consistent compliments out on the road like some of the other lids we've tested, but it doesn't look half bad either, getting it an above-average score.


It's available in a moderate color range, with options in white, black, red, and blue and a couple of multi-colored choices. It's not the broadest range but there should be something for everyone. Overall, the style of this helmet doesn't take away from its value, which is great.

lazer tonic kineticore - the matte black color scheme is a classic choice by lazer
The matte black color scheme is a classic choice by Lazer
Credit: Luke Hollomon

Weight


This is another standout category for the Tonic Kineticore. It comes in lighter than every other helmet we've tested in the last year. It weighs just 296 grams in a size Large. That makes it 10% lighter than helmets that cost more than three times as much and 10 grams lighter than Lazer's own longtime flagship lid, the Z-1. This lightweight reduces neck strain out on the road and could be one of those vaunted marginal gains you seek in a race.


Close inspection reveals that some of this weight savings has come at the expense of durability and we'll discuss that more below. But if you're looking just to save weight, this is a top performer.

lazer tonic kineticore - looking at the front of the helmet, you can see a few of the dings...
Looking at the front of the helmet, you can see a few of the dings in the EPS foam that lowered the Tonic's durability score.
Credit: Luke Hollomon

Durability


Durability is a metric that lets the Tonic Kineticore down a bit. The interior padding is replaceable, while the TurnSys head retention system is not. Lazer does offer replacement buckles as well, a nice touch that's surprisingly rare. They also offer a crash replacement program where they'll provide a 50% discount on a new helmet if yours is damaged in a crash, which is quite nice.


The element of a helmet most prone to damage is the EPS foam, the gray interior that makes up the bulk of the helmet's structure. We prefer helmets that fully wrap the EPS, protecting it from little dings and scratches picked up while traveling or in storage. The Tonic leaves the lower sections of this foam fully exposed and ours has picked up a few divots while it was traveling in our cars and stored in our sheds.

lazer tonic kineticore - thankfully, the tonic kineticore promises to help protect you from...
Thankfully, the Tonic Kineticore promises to help protect you from death, at least for a little while.
Credit: Emily Hollomon

Should you Buy the Lazer Tonic Kineticore?


If you're looking for a great helmet that costs less than $100, jump on board. If you have an extra-large or extra-small head and struggle to find a good fit, this could be a great choice for you too. It's neither the most ventilated or comfortable lid out there, but it's fantastically lightweight and adjustable while being adequately stylish and comfortable. You can't do any better for a helmet at this price, making the Tonic Kineticore stand out as our best budget option.

What Other Road Bike Helmets Should You Consider?


The Tonic Kineticore is a fantastic option for those shopping on a particularly tight budget, but otherwise, it is a middling helmet in most regards. If you have a bit more money to spend, consider this helmet against the Specialized Airnet MIPS, which offers significant improvement to ventilation and durability, but is much heavier. Alternatively, the Bell Stratus MIPS is another popular lightweight helmet, roughly in the same budget ballpark as the other two.

Luke Hollomon