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Verdict: 
Cool, stylish and comfortable, Abus has a strong contender in the aero lid game
Weight: 
272g
Abus GameChanger Road Aero Helmet
8 10

Game changer? Maybe. Very good helmet? Definitely. The Abus GameChanger might not be supported by any actual aero figures against its competition, but it delivers sleek styling, a low profile and a comfortable fit with a large range of adjustment.

I'll get my little gripe out of the way first. Naming a product 'GameChanger' is a rather bold statement. Abus must certainly have thought long and hard about the features of this helmet, but it hardly revolutionises helmet design. Giant, Specialized, Bontrager and many others have a similar lid in their line-ups. Anyway, on with the review of the helmet, rather than the name.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The Abus starts off really well. The fit is excellent, with a low profile and very little bulging on the sides of the lid. It looks good straight out of the box. My poorly shaped face doesn't usually sit well with aero helmets, so to have one that looks good makes a very nice change (it's not me in the photos).

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - front.jpg

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - front.jpg

While we're on aesthetics, the colour options are also a pleasant surprise, given that quite a few aero helmets come in only a few garish choices. It did help that this blue version matched my Shimano S-Phyre XC shoes and socks! The matt blue finish hasn't marked, even after being rammed into tree branches in my last cyclo-cross race, and the contrasting glossy black recessed sections and black honeycomb vents give this helmet a high quality finish.

The sunglasses port at the back of the helmet is great, too, keeping your shades secure and out of the wind.

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - back.jpg

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - back.jpg

Internally, there is minimal padding. Initially, I was a little concerned by this as I thought it would negatively affect the comfort. However, with the fit of the internal shell being so good, I've not wanted for any extra padding. The secondary benefit of reduced padding is the absence of a waterfall of sweat after about 20 minutes. On hard rides, and especially during racing, my shades will often be filled with sweat that's been trapped by thick padding on the forehead. This then releases into my eyes, just as I'm about to enter a technical corner. The Abus seems to direct that flow down the sides of my head. Yes, this means that I get a very sweaty chin strap, but I'd rather it was there than in my eyes.

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - inside.jpg

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - inside.jpg

Not that I've had the usual river of sweat in my eyes during my cross races. And it might just be a feeling, but my head appears to be cooler when riding to work in this than my trusty Lazer Z1.

That leads me neatly into airflow. The only figures Abus gives us is that the GameChanger 'offers 23% less frontal surface area' than its vented helmet. There's a large hole at the forehead with fins directing air over the top of your skull. Air that has passed over the top is directed into two smaller holes on the top, with a massive vent at the back. There's also a channel at the sides for extra cooling.

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - side.jpg

Abus Gamechanger Road Aero Helmet - side.jpg

As it's an aero helmet, I would like some figures to show how it performs against its competitors; 23% less frontal surface area is all well and good, but that's over Abus's own vented helmet. Abus really needs to get this in a wind tunnel and compare it to its rivals.

> Should you buy an aero helmet?

Getting a good fit with this helmet is very easy. The 'Zoom Ace' retention system works very well, providing ample adjustment options. It's also 'pony-tail friendly' apparently, though I don't have the flowing locks to test such a feature.

The straps are a fixed design with the only adjustment being at the chin. I haven't found this to be a problem – the straps sit comfortably against the skin and I can't feel them flapping – but I dare say some might find it an issue.

My favourite feature is the 'Eyewear Dock'. This is a great solution to stowing sunnies when not in use. It keeps the arms away from your head, thus avoiding discomfort, but also keeps the glasses out of the wind, protecting your marginal gains.

Weight-wise, this medium comes in at 272g which is just 2g over the claimed weight. For weight weenies, that's 10g lighter than the Specialized Evade.

As for value, the Abus isn't cheap but it's very competitive. The Kask Protone, for example, is £40 more, though the Specialized Evade is slightly cheaper at £175. Both of these option are currently heavily reduced online, while a quick search finds a good stock of the GameChanger, but only at full RRP.

Is it worth the cash? Well, if you care about free watts, then it's a good option. However, its competitors are currently cheaper and there are no figures to say that the GameChanger is faster than any of them. However, finding a helmet that works well, looks good and feels comfortable is a tricky task, and so for me, the GameChanger wins my money.

Verdict

Cool, stylish and comfortable, Abus has a strong contender in the aero lid game

road.cc test report

Make and model: Abus GameChanger Road Aero Helmet

Size tested: 52-58cm

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?

From Abus:

"Mainstream and average? That's just not you! The new ABUS GameChanger is the ultimate aerodynamic helmet for performance road cycling – developed in cooperation with Movistar Team."

Well I'm probably mainstream and certainly average. But hey. Abus is aiming this at fast riding and I'd agree, that's where this helmet fits best.

"The unique flow patterns of the ABUS GameChanger were developed by engineers, designers and athletes: A joint initiative against the cyclist's natural enemy – the headwind."

Abus, if you're going to say these things, you need to back them up with the data from the engineers. Although, I do agree, the enemy is a headwind.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Abus lists the following:

AirPort

The AirPort located in the back of the GameChanger offers two decisive benefits: Your glasses can be quickly and safely stowed in the specially formed dock and they are then fully integrated into the helmet design, offering a valuable aerodynamic advantage.

Zoom Ace

Zoom Ace is the fine adjustment system with a handy wheel providing an individually customized fit.

FlowStraps

FlowStraps – for ultimate comfort. The fixed webbing arrangement is an ode to adjustability – customization is no longer necessary. Thanks to these specially designed straps, flutter and wind chatter is a thing of the past. The FlowStraps are aerodynamic, flutter-free and skin-friendly – a ABUS innovation (pat. pend.).

Forced Air Cooling Technology

The perfect temperature management of the head is only possible when all vents are effectively interconnected. The elaborate Forced Air Cooling Technology channels the incoming air around the head and provides the perfect climate.

Multi Position Design

The innovative Multi Position Design features a significantly reduced surface area exposed to the wind in all conditions. Optimized aerodynamics, regardless of head tilt and inflow angle. It offers 23% less frontal surface area than our current top helmet.

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

I like the minimalist, yet highly effective, retention system. It keeps weight down, but does its primary job of keeping the lid on very well.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

I've seen other reviews complaining about overheating, but I just haven't had any issues. Sure, it's not the helmet I'd choose for climbing Alpine cols in high summer, but for racing and fast rides in the UK, it's fine.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

This has been loose in the boot of my car and clouted into tree branches. I can't see any significant damage occurring during regular use.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
5/10

About bang-on for this type of helmet. If you want light weight, don't go aero.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

The only reason this doesn't get a 10 here is because the lack of adjustment under the ears might be an issue for some riders.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

It's more expensive than some of its rivals. Those rivals also seem to be heavily discounted online. I'd be happy to pay extra to have this well fitting option, but that's rather personal.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very well. I could feel the channelled air over my head. I didn't get the sweaty head feeling, even when racing.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The fit is brilliant. And the looks. It's a helmet that I actually like wearing, instead of wearing just for an aero gain.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

There's no supporting data, which, for an aerodynamic product is poor.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

The lack of aero data is frustrating, but it's certainly a well-designed helmet with great styling and fit, and not a bad price in this market.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 177cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.

7 comments

Avatar
BarryBianchi [419 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

I've seen some awful looking lids in my time, but this is going some - and at £180, jog on....

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Kadinkski [740 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

Looks cool - particularly in the black and celeste - matches my Oltre perfectly. Have ordered it and will give it a try. 

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Freddy56 [285 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

tried it on. liked it...but the straps dont adjust at the bottom of the ear and it wasnt ideal fit.

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BarryBianchi [419 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Freddy56 wrote:

the straps dont adjust at the bottom of the ear

You;ve got to be kiddding?  That's what you get when padlock companies get into products they clearly have no clue about...

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matthewn5 [1098 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

That blue would go perfectly with the Rourke...

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drosco [428 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Who spends £180 on a helmet? ?

Avatar
beezus fufoon [973 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
drosco wrote:

Who spends £180 on a helmet? ?

some cheapskate looking for a bargain?