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The Zero RH+ ZY is a very comfortable helmet with good venting and easy adjustment. I reckon it's pretty cool-looking too.
The ZY is Zero RH+'s third tier road helmet after the ZR and the ZX although it has a high-end look and feel to it - and by most people's standards a high end price tag too. We've reviewed the ZX before on road.cc /content/review/81500-zero-rh-zx-helmet and also reviewed the ZW /content/review/78263-zero-rh-zw-helmet, and we liked them both very much.
The same is true of the ZY. Although it's fairly low profile, it's a deep helmet so you get the feeling that your head is fully encompassed – properly inside it – rather than that you have a lid slapped on top.
Fit is well handled by Zero RH+'s Power Fit Double System. You get the choice of three height positions for the back of the cradle and you adjust tightness via a clickety-click wheel at the back. It's a big, chunky wheel and you can't miss it for adjustments even if you're riding in padded winter gloves. I set the cradle so that it would sit as low as possible on the back of my head and it felt about as secure as any helmet I've ever tried.
There are plenty of big vents that grab generous scoops of air and usher them inside and then the helmet channels air over the top of your head effectively. At least, I stayed cool enough even on some super-hot rides while wearing the ZY. Most manufacturers have got airflow pretty well sussed these days and it's rare that we get a helmet that's uncomfortably hot, but I'd say this one is particularly good when it comes to ventilation.
The padding inside – RH+ Zero call it Stratosoft padding – is really comfortable and one long pad right across the forehead stops sweat from funnelling down into your eyes. Well, that's unless you get the padding absolutely soaking, but that's likely to be rare.
Unusually, Zero RH+ add a pad just inside of the tightening mechanism at the back. This reduces the pressure back there much more than I expected it to; it's a really useful addition. You can easily remove all of that Stratosoft padding for washing.
The ZY is inmoulded – so the EPS (expanded polystyrene) structure is fused to the thermoformed polycarbonate outer shell – and there's an inner frame within the EPS to stop the helmet breaking into pieces in the event of an impact. We don't crash test helmets, but the ZY conforms to EN 1078, of course. All helmets have to.
The inner frame allows RH+ Zero to use those large vents and keeps the weight down to 245g (we have a XS-M, 54-58cm sized model; the L-XL will be a little heavier, obviously). That's not mega-light but it's a reasonable weight. Unless you're very sensitive to this kind of thing, you'll hardly feel you're wearing it.
The ZY comes with a soft microfibre strap cover to avoid any neck irritation – just take it off if you don't want it – a couple of reflective panels around the back that look white in daylight, and its own little bag to avoid scratches, which is a nice little touch.
If this red/white version isn't for you, several other options are available.
Very comfortable helmet with good venting and easy adjustment
Make and model: Zero RH+ ZY Helmet
Size tested: XS/M Red/White
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The ZY is a general road helmet, the third tier helmet in the Zero RH+ range.
I found this very comfortable and the amount of adjustability means most people should be able to get a good fit. As with anything you wear, it would be wise to try before you buy, just in case.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I found it very comfortable – among the most comfortable helmets I've every used.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Easy adjustability, plenty of good venting. I think it looks pretty neat too.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yep.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Overall scores on product reviews aren't simply an average of the performance and value scores, but in this case judged purely on performance this would be a 9 overall, but while the price is fair it's not exceptional. So that makes the overall package an 8.
Age: 43 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
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Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.