This article was produced in association with Abus
Aerodynamic but uncomfortable? Aerodynamic but too hot? Aerodynamic but looking a bit silly? These are the options that cyclists have had to weigh up for some time now when it comes to deciding on whether heading out of the front door in an aero-focused road helmet is the right choice or a critical error.
Anyone riding at a high level wants those marginal gains wherever they can get them, but at what cost? Is there any point saving 20 watts if you can’t see the road ahead because of all the sweat in your eyes? For some time now, helmet manufacturers have been trying to find the perfect balance for a helmet that glides smoothly through the air as efficiently as possible, but also is breathable and comfortable enough to wear on long bike rides. Aerodynamics, airflow and ventilation form the perfect cocktail for a bike helmet – though admittedly you’d want a little more of certain ingredients depending on the type of cycling you’re doing.
German helmet manufacturers Abus – known for being purveyors of some of the finest security systems and locks as well as bike helmets – is the latest brand to throw its hat into the ring when it comes to an aero helmet that ticks all of the boxes for high-performance cycling. The recently-launched Abus Gamechanger 2.0, expertly made in Italy, sees some big upgrades when compared to the previous iteration of the helmet, putting it in the running for being one of the best aero road helmets on the market today.
Aerodynamics have, naturally, been a big focus for Abus in designing the latest Gamechanger. It now has a wider Kamm tail which means that the aero profile created by the helmet is 11 per cent longer than the previous version. The tail of the Gamechanger 2.0 is also pulled lower, which Abus says optimises the head position when riders are in the drops with the head down.
But it’s not all about the aero gains in the Gamechanger 2.0. As we know, an aero road helmet has multiple boxes to tick, so Abus has focused on ventilation in its latest lid, and also comfort. The lower front of the helmet features what Abus describes as ‘Airboost’ – a number of front inlets which allow a claimed additional 32 per cent of air to travel through the helmet compared to the previous Gamechanger.
Above the Airboost section sits the horizontal ‘Acti Cage’ bridges which Abus says direct airflow specifically into the helmet at higher speeds. These bridges are also shaped in a shark fin, meaning that when a rider’s head is in a lower racing position they guide the airflow favourably over the head.
The ‘Aero Blade’ ventilated section at the top of the helmet also brings added airflow to the helmet when the head is in a downward position. At the back of the helmet there are rear ‘Air Port’ vents for sunglasses storage as well as additional ventilation, in the form of forced air cooling technology.
Another key area where the Gamechanger 2.0 sees an upgrade is in the chin strap and retention system. Named the ‘Flow straps’, they have a much wider V-shape which Abus says ensures that the helmet is always placed in the optimal head position. The ‘Zoom Pro’ retention system features a new slider design which means that the straps and adjuster system are individually guided into position separately to ensure they sit correctly on the head.
Available with or without MIPS Air Node technology, the Gamechanger 2.0 hits the mark when it comes to safety, too. Could this be the helmet that really has found the perfect combination for an aero road lid? Worn by both the men’s and women’s Movistar squads and Alpecin-Deceuninck, it’s fair to say that this is a helmet made for moving fast. It’s comfortable, breathable and aerodynamic, plus, who doesn’t want to look like Mathieu van der Poel or Annemiek van Vleuten on a bike?