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Lazer Monaco DOT

Lazer Monaco DOT Helmet Review
Lazer Monaco DOT Helmet Review
by Rick K. for webBikeWorld.com
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Summary

The new DOT version of the carbon-fiber Lazer Monaco gives up nothing on the excellent ECE version of the Lazer Monaco we reviewed in 2012.

It's nearly as light, with this size XL DOT version easily sliding in as the second lightest flip-up motorcycle helmet ever reviewed on webBikeWorld.

And which flip-up is number one? Why, the ECE version of the Lazer Monaco, of course!

Other than that slight weight difference, the ECE and DOT versions of the Lazer Monaco are identical, and that's really good news.

It means the DOT version has the same good looks, the polished high-tech carbon fiber gloss finish and the outstanding ventilation of the ECE version.

The U.S. Monaco also includes a photochromic face shield, now a Lazer-branded "Lumino" type (also made by Transitions) in place of the SolFX-labeled photochromic face shield on our original.

These similarities make reviewing the DOT version of the Lazer Monaco both easy and difficult. It's easy because there's not much to report that is different; it's difficult because I have to come up with enough words to make an actual review!

So most of what you read here is updated from our original Lazer Monaco review, with the very minor differences noted. All of the photos shown here are the DOT version of the Monaco, even though some of the photos appear identical to those published in our original Lazer Monaco ECE review -- the helmets are that identical.

Background

As mentioned in the original webBikeWorld Lazer Monaco review, it's interesting to note that a Lazer Century flip-up (review) was the very first webBikeWorld motorcycle helmet review published, now about 13 years ago.

Lazer Helmets were sold in the U.S.A. at that time, and Lazer has now re-entered the U.S. market with the assistance of our friends at RevZilla, who are managing the U.S. distribution. webBikeWorld has an affiliate program with RevZilla, so every time you click through a webBikeWorld link to buy your motorcycle gear at RevZilla, we get a small commission, which helps keep the site running.

RevZilla sent us this Lazer Monaco DOT in carbon fiber for the review and the Monaco in both carbon fiber and "Multi Directional Composite Fiber" are available in the U.S.A. The helmets are identical but, of course, the carbon fiber is both lighter and très chic.

Lazer Monaco DOT Top View
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The Lazer Monaco DOT: Paint, Graphics and Overall Quality

The DOT version of the Monaco is -- thankfully -- nearly identical to the ECE version, which isn't always the case. It also says something about the validity of the original design.

I was introduced to the Monaco in both its carbon fiber "Pure Carbon" guise and the "Pure Glass" (fiberglass composite) version in this Monaco First Look during my live report from the 2011 EICMA show (report) in Milan back in November of that year. We received an ECE production version soon after and Burn and I published the review in January of 2012.

The DOT version is just as good-looking as its ECE sibling. I'm usually not very fond of black helmets, but carbon fiber is a different story altogether. The carbon fiber and finish on the DOT version is just as nice as the original, with a thick gloss clearcoat protective surface that also gives the carbon fiber some "depth".

The shell profile of the DOT version are identical to the ECE version, and there's something about the overall proportions and shape of the Monaco that help make it a good-looking helmet. I'm can't quite put my finger on it, but the shape looks just right from any angle, even though the design isn't radical by any means.

Note that the rotating flip-up visor is not carbon fiber, which makes sense when you think about it. On the carbon fiber version of the Monaco, it's painted a matching black that has a small amount of metalflake to give it some "pop".

The rest of the fittings and moving parts on the Monaco are identical (a word you'll find quite often in this review!) in both versions, and that includes the "heavy duty" chin vent slider and the single slider for the top vent, both of which (along with the design) provide plenty of air flow.

The DOT version of the Monaco comes with the Lazer "Lumino" photochromic face shield; ours isn't marked with the "SolFX" logo like it was on the ECE version, but Lazer said it's also made by Transitions and they know a thing or two about optical quality because of their background in eyeglass manufacturing.

The photochromic face shield helps reduce weight in the Monaco, while still providing sun protection for the rider. The face shield on the DOT version has the same Pinlock mounting studs as the ECE version and a Pinlock anti-fog insert (review) is included with the helmet.

Score: I'll give the Lazer Monaco DOT the same "Excellent" rating for paint, clear coat and moving parts. The shell feels sturdy and it looks great. The inclusion of the Transitions face shield and the Pinlock insert is also a plus. See the Summary Table at the bottom of the page for a description of our rating system.

Lazer Monaco DOT Slide Show
Lazer Monaco Helmet Fit, Internal Shape and Liner

Both the ECE and DOT helmets are nearly identical in terms of fit, to the best of my recollection. I'd classify both as having a neutral fit, perhaps shaded towards the "Slightly Narrow" part of the spectrum. The DOT version we have is an XL, compared to the size large ECE version we reviewed and it fits my round head and it also fits Burn's narrower head without a problem.

The Lazer size chart lists the size large as fitting a 59-60 cm head and we agreed that the sizing was correct in our ECE version review. This DOT version in size XL is marked as fitting a 61-62 cm head but I think 62 might be pushing it just a touch, depending on your head shape.

A 62 cm "Slightly Narrow" head shape might fit, whilst a "Round" head of 62 cm might not. I'd say a 60.5 to 61.5 is correct. But, like the ECE version, the Monaco DOT internal shape should fit most rider head shapes.

The Monaco DOT is also fitted with the Lazer "Morpho System Plus" liner, which means that the various internal padding sections and cheek pads are available in a variety of thicknesses to create a bespoke fit. The Dri-Lex moisture-absorbing liner material is also treated with the "Aegis" anti-microbial product to prevent the nasties and reduce odor.

The padding and fabric isn't quite as plush as some of the competitors but it's comfortable. The surface material is relatively smooth and feels fairly comfortable next to the skin, but not as plush as a typical Arai or Shoei.

Probably the only noticable difference between the ECE and DOT versions (and, presumably, newer ECE versions as well) is a slightly redesigned liner. It looks different, as you can see in the photos below. It still allows a lot of air to flow through the vents and on to the rider's head, so no worries there.

Otherwise, the ear pockets and shape is identical on the two helmets, with an adequate shape and size and the helmet is ready for the Lazer "Blue" Bluetooth intercom system.

I didn't notice the split line issue on the size XL helmet that we discussed in the Monaco ECE version review, so the liner may have been modified to resolve that issue also. My eyeglasses fit with no problems in the Monaco DOT.

webBikeWorld Internal Shape Estimator: Lazer Monaco DOT
Narrow Med. Narrow Slight Narrow Neutral Slight Round Med. Round Round
Helmet Shape
Helmet Shape
Helmet Internal Shape Examples (see more Motorcycle Helmet Shapes)
Arai
Profile
Scorpion
EXO-700 Neon
KBC
Tarmac
AGV
Stealth
Arai
RX-Q
Bell
Arrow
Arai
Quantum II

More information on helmet fit can be found in the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet FAQ page, along with the chart that lists the helmet weights of webBikeWorld reviewed helmets and also by shape on the webBikeWorld Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: I'll give the Lazer Monaco DOT an "Outstanding" rating for fit, comfort and internal shape. The padding and liner feels comfortable and the helmet should fit many different head shapes.

Lazer Monaco Helmet Liner
ECE version of the Lazer Monaco with original liner.
Lazer Monaco DOT Helmet Liner
DOT updated version of the Lazer Monaco liner is slightly different but just as comfortable.
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Lazer Monaco Eye Port and Visibility

Both versions of the Monaco have a full-surround gasket, not always included on flip-up helmets. The Transitions face shield on the DOT version also seals tightly against the gasket along the top and sides and it also doesn't have a lock.

The face shield seals tightly on the DOT version as well; we ran the "leak down test" by pouring water along the top of the closed face shield and no water leaked into the eye port past the gasket. The water is directed down along the sides of the gasket and exits out the bottom of the face shield before it can get past the gasket and into the helmet.

A large lift tab is located at the lower left of the face shield. The system has four detents and there is some flex when lifting the face shield but it's about average. The first detent is too large for defogging but the face shield can be cracked open slightly before the first detent if desired.

Also just like the ECE version, the Transitions photochromic face shield (the "Lumino" face shield) is very resistant to fogging when riding in the cold Spring weather. We did not install the Pinlock anti-fog insert (review) that is included in the box on either the ECE or DOT version of the Monaco.

Also, the face shield has outstanding optical properties and although I'm a bit wary about riding with a darkened face shield because I like to imagine that oncoming traffic can see my eyes and know I'm a human, it's very easy to get hooked on using the Transitions face shield!

Lazer said that besides adding weight, an internal rotating sun visor uses some of the EPS crush zone inside the helmet, so the decision was made to use the Lumino (Transitions) face shield instead.

Also, the photochromic face shield reduces the need to change face shields from clear to tinted, eliminating the need for a quick-change face shield mechanism that also adds weight and can intrude on the crush zone, so there is no quick-change face shield removal system on the Monaco.

Note, however, that whenver the sun is shining, there's not much difference between the Transitions face shield and a dark smoke face shield. The "Transitions" between dark and light take some time, so if you ride into a tunnel, remember that the face shield will be darkened.

The eye port provides slightly better than average in the vertical plane and about average in the horizontal plane.

webBikeWorld Eye Port Visibility Estimator: Lazer Monaco DOT
Visibility Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top to Bottom
Side to Side

Score: The combination of the Transitions face shield and the design of the eye port give the Lazer Monaco an "Excellent" rating in this category.

Lazer Monaco DOT Face Shield Removal
The fasteners that hold the face shield are designed to deform if hit from the side.
Lazer Monaco DOT Top Vent
Two-position top vent opens with a single slider (same on DOT and ECE). It's easy to find when wearing gloves.
Lazer Monaco DOT Chin Vent
The chin vent opens with a big horizontal lever that is easy to locate and operate.
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Lazer Monaco Ventilation and Air Flow

The outstanding ventilation in both versions of the Monaco is identical, and that's a very good thing. This helmet flows a lot of air through its simple but effective ventilation system.

The top vent is a single slider; easy to find when wearing gloves and easy to operate. The air flows through the nicely designed liner and right down on to the head. In fact, in mid-50 degree (F) weather, I had to keep the top vent closed because too much air was coming through. That's very unusual in a motorcycle helmet!

Like the ECE version of the Monaco, the air flows into the top vent of the DOT version and if the head is titled forward just slightly, a lot of air can be felt rushing into the helmet. The effect isn't quite as dramatic as the rider's head moves to a more upright position, but there's no doubt this is one of the best flip-up helmet ventilation systems around.

The chin vent on the DOT version is also identical to the ECE version of the Monaco. It uses a big sliding lever that, when positioned in the center, opens the vent along the top of the chin bar. Move the lever to either side and the "dragon's teeth" close the vent. No air flows directly through the chin bar; typical of flip-up helmets.

Both the DOT and ECE versions of the Monaco feature a large chin curtain underneath the chin bar, which reduces the amount of unwanted air flowing up into the helmet from below. This also improves the effectiveness of the chin vent to help keep the inside of the face shield fog-free.

The Monaco shell design has unique exhaust vents on either side of the helmet, just behind the rotating visor. A portion of this vent stretches underneath the rotating visor along the rider's cheeks. A narrow exhaust vent in the shape of a slot is located along the upper rear portion of the helmet shell is nicely integrated into the design.

Overall, I'd rate the Lazer Monaco DOT ventilation as outstanding.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Lazer Monaco DOT Ventilation
Location Poor Below Average Average Above Average Outstanding
Top/Upper
Chin/Face

Score: I'll give the Lazer Monaco DOT ventilation system an "Outstanding" rating.

Lazer Monaco DOT Rear Exhaust Vent

Lazer Monaco Visor Open
The special side exhaust venting system on the Lazer Monaco.
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Lazer Monaco Sound Levels

I don't really remember how loud the ECE version of the Monaco was when riding. But the DOT version the Monaco is fairly quiet; perhaps a bit quieter than average.

I rode with the Monaco DOT on both the BMW C 650 GT scooter (blog), with its big adjustable windscreen. I also wore it riding the Suzuki DR650 (blog) with no windscreen. On the BMW, adjusting the windscreen up and down made the noise levels vary, but overall the Monaco seems to control wind noise fairly well, especially for a flip-up (and a lightweight carbon fiber flip-up at that).

The helmet seems quieter when riding the DR650, with the helmet in the undisturbed air stream. In this case, the Monaco was slightly quieter than average.

The turbulence around the bottom of the helmet is well controlled due to the good fit and larger than average chin curtain. The smooth helmet shape with minimal protrusions also seems to help flow the air around and over the helmet, reducing turbulence.

So overall I'd say that the Lazer Monaco DOT is average to slightly quieter than average, with some general wind noise around the helmet but no additional noise from the vents. Turbulence is well controlled also.

webBikeWorld Opinionator: Lazer Monaco DOT Noise Levels
Location Very Quiet Quieter Average Louder Very Loud
Upper
Lower

Note that our helmet evaluations are normally a combined effort of several riders over time, on different types of motorcycles with and without windscreens. Evaluators wear correctly fitted, high quality earplugs (even when evaluating motorcycle intercom systems) and (usually) a helmet liner. It is strongly recommended that hearing protection is used when riding a motorcycle.  See the wBW Earplugs and Hearing Protection page for more information on choosing and wearing earplugs.

Note also that perceived noise levels will vary, depending on the individual. Noise can be caused by many factors, including helmet fit; the type of motorcycle and windscreen; wind speed and direction and even the type of clothing that is being worn. For more information on helmet noise, visit the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Noise page.

Score: I'll give the Lazer Monaco an "Excellent" rating for relatively low overall noise levels.

wBW Video: Lazer Monaco DOT Helmet
Helmet Weight

The Lazer Monaco ECE version in size large weighed a mere 1406 grams (3 lbs., 1-5/8 oz.), making it the lightest flip-up motorcycle helmet we've ever reviewed by far. It was even lighter than 170-odd flip-up and full-face helmets we had reviewed (total) back in January of 2012 and it was one of the 5 lightest helmets ever.

I'm happy to report that the second lightest flip-up we've ever reviewed is...the Lazer Monaco DOT. And this is a size XL also, which makes it even more impressive. This DOT version in size XL weighs 1540 grams (3 lbs., 6-3/8 oz.).

The weight isn't quite as dramatically different as I remember when I first tried the ECE version of the carbon fiber Monaco, but the carbon fiber DOT version is definitely one of the lighter-weight flip-up helmets you can buy. Other examples of lightweight flip-ups include the ECE version of the Schuberth C3 (review) in size L, which weighed 1550 grams and the ECE version of the original ROOF Boxer (review) in size large, at 1558 grams.

The DOT version of the Schuberth C3 (review) in size L weighs 1603 grams, while the ECE version of the X-Lite (Nolan) X-402GT (review) in size L, a true "Modular" helmet, weighs 1606 grams.

[UPDATE: Just confirmed with Lazer that there is one shell size for the Monaco, here's what they said: "The special construction allows us, in spite of its compactness, to make XS-XXL in one shell, this is quite unique."]

Note also that all of the helmets reviewed on webBikeWorld have been weighed and the weights are available on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Weights page, along with a chart that lists the helmets by weight and shape on the wBW Motorcycle Helmet Shapes page.

Score: The Lazer Monaco DOT obviously gets an "Outstanding" rating for very light weight with outstanding balance.

Lazer Monaco DOT Reflector
The Lazer Monaco has a built-in reflector in the rear.
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Miscellaneous

The Monaco DOT has a micro-lock chin strap locking system with a large plastic release strap. The padding under the chin strap is thin but it's long enough to cover the neck and keep the chin strap from chafing. The adjustable end of the chin strap has a nice rubberized tip but there are no loops or system to secure the extra length of strap after it's adjusted to the rider's neck, which is unfortunate.

Both the ECE and DOT versions of the Monaco have a built-in red reflector in the rear and reflective fabric sections underneath on the helmet liner.

Warranty

The Lazer Monaco DOT has a five-year warranty, said to be "2 years plus 3 years after registration", but I'm not sure exactly what that means or what it involves.

webBikeWorld Overall Opinionator: Lazer Monaco DOT
Picks...
...and Pans
  • Light weight.
  • Carbon fiber and gloss finish.
  • Transitions face shield is standard.
  • Pinlock anti-fog insert is standard.
  • Outstanding ventilation.
  • Neutral fit should satisfy most riders.
  • Rotating flip-up visor isn't as solid feeling as some other flip-ups.
  • Chin strap needs a retainer for the loose end.
Conclusion

The Lazer Monaco in its DOT form is one of the lightest flip-up helmets we've reviewed. The light weight has not compromised all of the other included features that make the Monaco a very nice flip-up. These include its excellent ventilation (rare on a flip-up), the Transitions photochromic face shield and good looks.

It's good to know that meeting the DOT safety standard hasn't changed the Monaco, which sometimes happens in the trans-oceanic translation. Lazer helmets are now available in the U.S.A. once more, and that's excellent news also.

Also: Lazer Monaco ECE Review

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wBW Review: Lazer Monaco DOT Carbon Fiber Flip-up Helmet
Manufacturer: Lazer Helmets List Price: $529.00 (carbon fiber) or $379.00 (fiberglass composite).
Colors: Carbon fiber, matte black, white. Fiberglass version in black, white or silver. Made In: China
Sizes: XS to XXL. Shell Sizes: One (Confirmed). Star Rating (1-5): Five Star Rated
Review Date: April 2013
Ratings Scale: For reference, our ratings scale is subjective and ranges from Unacceptable to Poor, Neutral, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding.
Note: Item was provided by a retailer, distributor or manufacturer with these Terms and Conditions.

Note: For informational use only. All material and photographs are Copyright © webWorld International, LLC since 2000. All rights reserved. See the webBikeWorld© Site Info page. Product specifications, features and details may change or differ from our descriptions. Always check before purchasing. Read the Terms and Conditions!

Your Comments and Feedback

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Comments are ordered from most recent to oldest.
Not all comments will be published (details).  Comments may be edited for clarity prior to publication.

From "L.P." (April 2013): "After reading this and other reviews I ordered a LaZer Monaco as a replacement for my aging Schuberth C3. When it arrived I was very impressed by the overall quality including the packaging, helmet bag, and accessories.

Sadly the fit - in my case a size medium or 57-58 cm - wasn't even close. It was so difficult spreading the sides open enough to get the helmet on that I was afraid it might break, and once on it felt like a vice.

I walked outside briefly to see how the shield would react to the bright sunshine and the transition only took a few seconds. It was my first look through a transitional face shield and it's a great feature, one I'd like to see on more helmets and definitely worth the added cost. That and the ultra light weight were the main reasons I bought this particular helmet.

Pricing for replacement shields for the two helmets is very close when you add in the cost of Schuberth's sun shield so from a maintenance standpoint it's a bit of a push. However, and this is the truth, I had to return it and rather than ordering a size large replacement I decided to opt for another Schuberth, this time the new C3-Pro model.

My reason was simple, while I had the LaZer Monaco I did a side-by-side comparison with my old C3 and in my opinion the Schuberth is a more refined helmet. This may be due in part to LaZer's goal to lower the weight as much as possible but in doing so they may have sacrificed too much.

In fairness it's not an exact straight-across comparison as there are significant design differences but when you're shopping in the $550 plus range there are certain expectations that should be met.

For me the LaZer fell a bit short because of their inexact sizing and the slightly less luxurious lining plus the short front-to-back dimension caused my non-Jay Leno chin to press against the chin bar. Maybe that would be less prevalent in a size large but it's still going to be tight.

Finally I felt having to install a "rain plug" to prevent water from leaking through the air vent was a bit much, especially for those of us who live in rainy areas. When it's in place it effectively limits the amount of airflow through the vent which in humid-rainy riding conditions would likely make things miserable.

I think LaZer needs to go back to the drawing boards on both of those issues as they're serious and need to be corrected.

Current pricing has both the LaZer Monaco and still available Schuberth C3 running neck and neck which is what I base my opinions on. The Schuberth C3-Pro is higher priced and for that you get a number of improvements over the standard C3 but even then I feel the Schuberth C3 wins out; the extra quality and refinements are simply there.

However...the LaZer Monaco in carbon black is drop-dead gorgeous so I expect there will be some happy riders wearing it. If they can live with its shortcomings that is."


From "A.S." (April 2013): "The Monaco Lazer behaves as good as you describe on the review. I was lucky to get it here in Chile three month ago and, with few words, itís a master piece of a helmet. Lightweight as a feather, quiet even at high speed (+200 Km/hr), buffeting virtually unknown, ventilation a pleasure, the photocromatic face shield a miracle (works far more better then expected in the nicest dream).

What else? Itís the very best helmet I ever used. Always looking for the top ten I found the promised land. Through the past year I spent money getting tons of helmets and now the seeking is over, I found what I was looking for.

Helmet besides the bike itself is the most important part of a ride. Comfort is at last quiet the central piece of safety. With a piece of junk around your head you canít focus on what you should do: take care and enjoy. I rate this helmet with whole giant galaxy of stars.

Thanks Rick for enlightening me with this helmet, as you did with much more, harming my wallet seriously."


From "T.R." (April 2013): "The Monaco in carbon fiber will be my next helmet. It looks to have all the advantages I love about my Akuma Phantom II (review) in a flip up design."

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