Virginia Tech Helmet Rating System Explained

Lazer Helmets deliver direct and rotational impact protection

When it comes to protecting your head and reducing the risk of concussion, Lazer delivers top-rated options across road, gravel, mountain biking, commuting, and kid helmets. With the recent introduction of KinetiCore technology, Lazer now offers a variety of Virginia Tech 5-star rated helmets that feature rotational impact protection while delivering optimal ventilation and a lighter-weight construction for ultimate comfort.

But what is Virginia Tech, and what does its 5-star rating really mean?

Lazer Strada KinetiCore inside liner

Virginia Tech Helmet Ratings

For over a decade, Virginia Tech’s independent helmet testing lab has offered unbiased protection ratings to help consumers determine which helmets best reduce concussion risks. The lab uses real-world testing protocols to determine how well a helmet can protect against the risk of traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash, and testing is 100% independent of any funding or influence from helmet manufacturers.

Test a Lazer bicycle helmet for protection rating

The program began by studying the impacts that Virginia Tech’s football players experienced on the field. And the data collected over the years has changed the way the world understands concussions and what causes them. The lab has analyzed over 60,000 hits on the field and cross-referenced each hit with video and medical info to develop detailed models of the exact kinds of impacts that will result in a traumatic brain injury. Once researchers knew the conditions that caused a concussion, they could determine the helmets that best protect against that risk.

Utilizing its extensive impact data, Virginia Tech’s helmet lab created a rating system for bicycle helmets as well. The STAR Rating system aims to provide an objective, impartial evaluation of how well a helmet protects against a concussion. It measures real-world forces, linear and rotational, that are experienced in a bike crash and how the helmet reduces those forces to help prevent concussion and brain injury. It's a straightforward, non-biased assessment of helmet protection that consumers can choose to utilize when purchasing their next helmet.

Man wearing a Lazer G1 MIPs Road bike helmet as he rides his bike down a hill

All bicycle helmets sold in the U.S. must pass the Consumer Product Safety Commission standards for head protection. These regulations require a helmet to protect against skull fracture and brain injury caused by direct impacts of a certain threshold. And while the Virginia Tech rating system is not a replacement for the CPSC standards, they are meant to help identify the most protective helmets on the market.

Concussions and their association with long-term brain injuries are better understood thanks to decades of in-depth studies on sports like collegiate and professional football. These studies helped identify that concussion can occur when both direct AND rotational forces act on the brain. Traumatic brain injuries are not always easy to see or notice right away, but these kinds of injuries are much more common than the catastrophic scenarios that CPSC standards address.

Shaping the next Lazer road bike helmet

Using protocols and tests that mimic real-world bicycle crashes, the Virginia Tech lab can help distinguish the different levels of impact protection offered by different helmets. By testing both direct and rotational impact, the Virginia Tech rating provides a deeper look at overall protection when the wheels wash out from under us, and we hit the pavement or trail.

Lazer offers a wide range of helmets that boast Virginia Tech's 5-star rating. With a variety of models to choose from, riders are sure to find the type and style of helmet to fit their riding needs.

Women wearing a Lazer Jackal KinetiCore mountain bike helmet with SHIMANO S-PHYRE glasses

Learn more about Virginia Tech's independent testing facility here:


All 5-Star Rated Lazer Helmets Available in North America: