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The Abus Lane U helmet is a unisex design marketed as having a more feminine friendly shape but in my experience it just seems better fitting and finished than most lids.
We take in mould construction (where outer shell and EPS liner are formed seamlessly together) for granted these days but Abus have employed a double shell, which supposedly offers greater protection and combined with a softer, more rounded profile and subtle liveries certainly looks more flattering worn with street/inspired clothes.
Ours was signal lily white with marble ghosting and factory-applied reflectives, which overcomes the angst of whether aftermarket sticker sets will affect the shell's integrity. Continuing the comprehensive, safety theme, its retention system is designed to mimic that of a car's roll cage, supposedly protecting the wearer's head from twisting forces associated with sliding across tarmac.
Soft touch padding adds additional refinement and the knurled wheel mean it's a doddle to adjust. Talking of which this is low slung, presumably to optimise the integral lights' effectiveness but that occasionally caught rucksacks when making over-the shoulder checks. This has been noted on the brands' other models and is something to consider if you've a preference for rider-mounted luggage.
Detailing elsewhere is really nice too, the peak is shallow and much better for road riding, although doesn't offer the same levels of protection from unexpectedly bright sunshine, hail or stray foliage compared with mountain bike types. However, some casual experimentation suggests these will fit, or it can be removed altogether and substituted with a cap or indeed the winter accessory kit.
Commuter cycling helmets have become much closer to their racier road and mtb stablemates, probably why I felt instantly at home with this one. A modest 275g and 18 vents complete with obligatory bug net go a long way to explaining why I've felt happy on 15 mile blasts and much longer outings at a steady 20 mph. Warp speed descending when wind chill has dragged temperatures to minus figures hasn't given rise to painful 'Ice cream' headaches either.
Subtle looks, great fit and extremely comfortable-a great touring/commuting option for both genders
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Make and model: Abus Lane-U 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?
"The Lane-U complements the ABUS range of Urban helmets for urban & commuter cyclists. Due to the smaller shape of this helmet it lends itself perfect for the female cyclists.
Incorporating an LED rear light and intesnse rear reflectors the Lane-U is an excellent all round helmet,
The in-mold production process guarantees a long-lasting fusion between the outer shell and the shock-absorbing helmet material (EPS).
The Lane-U is very well ventilated thanks to 13 air inlets, which transfer the warm air to five outlets, and the integrated front fly net helps to keep insects and wasps out of the helmet."
No quibble here, very refined and fits extremely well regardless of gender
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* Double shell in-mold for durable fusion of the two-pieces outer shell and the shock absorbing helmet material (EPS)
* Removable visor
* ZoomLite - precise adjustment system with handy wheel
* Integrated LED light in the adjustment wheel for additional safety in darkness
* Size adjustment via half ring made of robust and flexible plastic for ideal stability and adaptability
* Very good ventilation with 13 air inlets and 5 outlets
* Integrated fly net
* Removable and washable padding
* Soft touch straps easy to adjust by practical sliders
* High passive safety thanks to huge and very intense reflectors
Sizes Available: S-M 52-57CM, M-L 56-62CM
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Lane U is one of the best finished and ultimately, most comfortable commuter tagged lid I've come accross to date.
Performance in terms of airflow is in tour rather than TT teritory but extremely pleasant nonetheless. With everything looking and behaving in excellent proportion, I was slightly disappointed to discover the low slung cradle system could interfere with rucksacks when making over the shoulder checks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Everything looked and behaved really well, fantastic build quality/detailing.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing major but low slung retention system might not suit regular rucksack users.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)