While its looks are very 'love or hate', the Abus Aven-U urban helmet is comfortable, and has the great advantage that it's almost impossible to put on wrongly.
Writing a review of a helmet is like writing a review of a single glove, or a single shoe, in that's it's just a small part of the overall picture. One glove or one shoe is not particularly useful without the other one, even if you like the way it looks. And a helmet is not particularly useful without a crash, or even wanted at all if you don't like the way it looks.
In fact, in order to stir a hornets' nest at the same time as tipping a can of worms into a kettle of fish, there's rampant speculation and degrees of proof that wearing a helmet may well subject you to an increased likelihood of crashing, or being crashed into.
However, this isn't the time or place for that. It's simply another helmet review. The S-M (53-58cm) sample of the 'Snooker' flavoured Aven-U fitted well. I'll muffle commentry on the name and even resist a 'Let's be' dad joke.
With lots of soft foam padding it's a much more generous fit than most S-Ms but there's a M-L (58-63cm) size available too. Inevitably I wasn't willing to be the guinea pig for the level of abuse it can take, so this is a general overview rather than a real test: certified Lab testing was carried by the well regarded TUV Nord Group in Germany, the homeland of Abus... who also make locks and lots of other 'security' goods.
The Aven-U obviously isn't designed to be a superlight airy race-nut's helmet, although the current crop of aero lids in the pro peloton are certainly blurring previously well-defined style boundaries. It's more like a snug-fitting hard hat. It has fourteen slots, making venting far better than I initially feared, and the construction appears much more robust than the average sports lid.
The sample weighed in at 296g, about 70g lighter than my regular Giro Zen mountain bike helmet and 80g heavier than my Bell Volt road helmet. Its bulbous looks, snug fit and skull coverage are more like a specialist mountain bike helmet, but with a nod to unisex urban styling.
The ratchet-wheel adjustment strap at the back is very effective and padded comfortably at the base of the skull, and the straps are easy to adjust. The internal padding is all removable for washing, useful as it does get more sweaty than a generously vented sports helmet if you're in a rush. There are reflective strips on the back.
That's about it. There are several colour schemes available as well as a variety of other styles to suit urban riders. Personally I'm not a great fan of helmets that look like potties, but I've warmed to the Aven-U while riding around town and I've started to use it for mountain biking on cool days.
From a purely practical point of view (and I'm thinking of relative novices here) I really like the way it's almost impossible to wear it badly. It sits fair and square on your head even if the straps are poorly adjusted. I see way too many riders around town wearing helmets in ways that are likely to render them worse than useless in a tumble.
Tough, snug-fitting lid with looks that some will love, some will hate.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Abus Aven-U urban helmet
Size tested: 56-62cm
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?
It's intended as a stylish urban helmet. As with all helmets, whether you like the style or not will always be a personal thing, but the generous padding and comfy fit means the two sizes available will fit almost anyone
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Sturdy construction. Very tough outer shell. Lots of small-slot vents but it's still warmer than a more sporty lid. Excellent strap and fit adjustments.
Lots of inner padding adds to comfort.
Snug fit and shaping makes it hard to wear it ineffectively.
Surprisingly light considering the imagery
One of the most comfy helmets I've worn but not ideal for heavy sweaters.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
No crash test dummy work done but only the only downside of all-round performance was the heat build up on warm days.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfort and fit.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Still not sure about the styling, but then that's often a love/hate thing with helmets.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? No.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
One of the best fitting full-bowl shaped helmets around.
About the tester
Age: 58 Height: 181 Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: Merlin Ti My best bike is: Ibis Silk SL
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,