I’m back in the greater LA metropolis—Westlake Village, to be exact—once again for PressCamp. The winter edition is a somewhat smaller event than the summer version. As a result, we get to mingle with the brands in attendance more than we do at the Park City edition.
Case in point: I’ve had one of the Lazer Z1 road helmets for a while now, but didn’t understand some of the doodads included in the box. And the site didn’t do much to explain them, either. But my first appointment of the day here at PressCamp with with Lazer, so I was able to get an education on some of those doodads in question, such as the ones for Magneto, their magnetic glasses retention system. You simply replace the standard earpieces with the stubby ones with magnets built in and then the glasses grab magnets that you attach to your helmet straps. Why no one has thought of this before now is beyond me.
As cool as Magneto is, there are two other accessories that are even more impressive in my book. The first of those is the Aeroshell, a lightweight, snap-on aerodynamic plastic shell that fits over the helmet to close off the vents. It’s up to you whether you’re using it to keep warmer or to go faster.
The other feature is truly revolutionary. Lifebeam is a heart rate monitor. Okay, fine big deal. Actually, it really is a pretty big deal. It works via a photosensor mounted within the gel pad at the front of the helmet. A small lead runs from the sensor back through the helmet and to the monitor that then forwards the data via either Bluetooth or ANT+, depending on what kind of computer you have.
The Z1 goes for $270. The Aeroshell adds $20. There’s a MIPS version for $310. The standard Z1 with Lifebeam is $350; Lifebeam is also available as an aftermarket add-on. Watch for a full review.
Alé Apparel is back with some very impressive pieces. This jersey, which looks from a standpoint of cut and materials to emulate some of the Giordana Forma Red Carbon, is part of Alé’s top of the line PRR series. They’ve evolved their bibs as well. And while Alé may not have the big name of Giordana or Castelli or Assos, their parent company owns the factory in which the clothing is produced—in Italy, no less.
While hard to capture in photographs, a neat feature of the PRR bibs is the reflective piping that is sewn into the flatlock seams of the bibs.
The pad for the PRR bibs reminded me of the pad in the previous generation of Assos Mille bibs, something I still wear. When I asked if CyTech was making their pad, thinking they may be sourcing essentially what was the old Mille pad, I was told that, no, they are producing their own pads in their factory. Last year when I looked at the Alé line, I really appreciated the construction and technical fabrics used in their pieces, but the stuff was almost entirely black. This is a big change and will make riders much more visible on the road. I’m much more interested in reviewing their stuff now.