Made in Italy, Abus Helmets are used by many of the fastest riders on the World Tour and Mountain Bike World Cup. Now available in South Africa, we picked our five favorites from their extensive endurance range that we think are hot for ’24.
When ventilation is number one for you
At just 210g (actual weight, size medium) the Abus AirBreaker is anything but hefty. To achieve this incredibly low weight, the crew at Abus used a sophisticated structural process, dubbed Acticage, to reinforce the shell and meet international safety standards. Simplifying things, Acticage is a clever little plastic framework that is hidden inside the EPS foam, adding brawn to this exceptionally light helmet.
The AirBreaker has deep longitudinal air vents that are channeled to maximize air flow over your head as you ride. The 14 air vents and honeycomb covering are designed to maximize cooling at lower speeds – like when climbing – and optimize aerodynamics when the speeds are high.
Other standout features include the easy access eyewear holders, height and circumference adjustability, plus skin-friendly straps. We love the one-piece forehead padding that should stop most of your sweat from dripping onto your lens. Local pricing on the AirBreaker is around R5000.
Abus GameChanger 2.0
Ultimate aero, with ventilation
Available with or without MIPS, the Abus GameChanger 2.0 is optimized for aero, yet, the designers never discarded the other key performance elements of ventilation and comfort.
Upfront, ventilation is boosted through three large inlets above the brow and one large u-shaped inlet above it. On top of the helmet, an ‘Aeroblade’ — or grid style plastic structure — leads air away from the head by guiding it through internal channels and out the wide rear diffuser and large air outlets. While this efficient use of air aids cooling efforts, it also contributes to better overall aerodynamics.
Comfort is also key to performing and to that end Abus has 12mm straps positioned in a wider V-shape that creates a very sturdy fit — the idea is to keep the helmet in the optimal position on your head. A twist retention system at the rear of the helmet tweaks your fit as does the height adjustment slider. The GameChanger 2.0 has ample padding internally, covering just about every contact point on my head.
At the forefront of the aerodynamic efforts is a wide and low Kamm-Tail providing a longer virtual aero profile. Abus says they conducted many wind tunnel test runs, used computational fluid dynamics simulations and real-world track testing involving different rider head angles and wind speeds, to arrive at the final design. Actual weight of our size medium, non MIPS test helmet is 264grams — which is on the lighter side of the aero competitor set.
Budget-friendly — Gravel or Road
The PowerDome blends the brand’s aerodynamic and ventilation DNA into a budget-friendly option ready for racing or cruising.
As with the AirBreaker and GameChanger 2.0, the chin straps are perfectly positioned for a simple and comfortable fit, and it’s easy to tweak the height and circumference settings, creating a snug fit. What’s also neat is the padding and skin-friendly straps are removable for washing so you can get all the sweat out.
On ventilation duty are 10 air inlet and 7 air outlet vents that coordinate air flow through deep channels, for a cool head. The air scoop on top of the helmet employs the Venturi effect, forcing air flow out the rear vents. Aerodynamic efforts are boosted with a tear-off edge design at the top of the rear, that looks very lekker too.
Made in Italy, the in-mould construction bonds the outer shell to the EPS body of the helmet creating a clean finish and a likely more durable product. Pricing starts at a cheeky R2400 and the PowerDome is available in three sizes, six colours, with or without the MIPS protection option.
Weighing only 217grams and with its lower pricing, the PowerDome is an excellent option for most riders.
Abus GameChanger Tri
For flat or hilly courses
With a lightweight and aerodynamic focus, the GameChanger Tri is the premium performance Triathlon (or Time Trial) helmet from Abus. Whilst designed to optimize aero performance for speeds between 35 and 50kph, the shorter comb-tail shape means aerodynamics are not compromised at times when head angles and movements might become erratic – like at slower speeds. This means you’ll be able to use the GameChanger Tri for flat and undulating race courses.
The helmet features eight vents across the front and back including the air scoop on top that channels air flow onto your head and out the rear, keeping you cool. Still worried about overheating? – the visor is secured by magnets and can be removed on the fly. Thinking of riding without the visor? – Abus says the aero numbers are consistent with or without the visor, or even with your favorite eyewear.
353grams (size medium) is definitely on the lighter side of the category however, when it comes to safety features, fear not. The shell is strengthened with the brand’s Acticage construction that is essentially small reinforcements placed inside the EPS hard foam. The outer shell and inner shock absorbing material are bonded in-mould, creating a more durable finished product, that will protect you no matter what.
The GameChanger Tri is available in three colours, three sizes and fit can be tweaked through a height adjustment slider and circumference tensioner. A handy magnetic Fidlock fastener secures the straps and expect to pay in the region of R8200.
High visibility — Road or Gravel
At a much lower price point than the AirBreaker, the StormChaser has just about all the standard features you would expect plus rear reflectors to improve visibility. The StormChaser is well-built, has seven air inlets and 16 air outlets to keep your head cool and tips the scales at an impressively light, 213grams.
In terms of comfort, it’s a deep fitting helmet and there is sufficient height and circumference adjustment on hand. The padding is minimalist yet perfectly positioned alleviating any potential pressure points and whilst the straps are not adjustable, there is no need to. Abus got the alignment and positioning of the straps spot on!
The StormChaser features the brand’s Acticage protection technology, which is a skeleton inside the EPS core, that is designed to maintain integrity in the event of an impact. More or less in the same wallet-friendly value range as the PowerDome, the StormChaser is fitted with more yet smaller vents, that would probably outperform the PowerDome, when riding in the rain.
The StormChaser is an affordable high-performance helmet with great ventilation and comfort. For this pricepoint, it’s also very light.