Support road.cc

Like this site? Help us to make it better.

review

Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet

6
£129.99

VERDICT:

6
10
Pleasingly light and feels strong, but the unusual shape and constricted sizing really won't suit everyone
Solid build
Light
Well vented
Narrow, small shell won't suit all
Straps don't adjust under the ear
Very close fit could reduce Mips' effectiveness
Weight: 
250g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

What the road.cc scores mean

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

  • Exceptional
  • Excellent
  • Very Good
  • Good
  • Quite good
  • Average
  • Not so good
  • Poor
  • Bad
  • Appalling

The Abus PowerDome MIPS is a smart-looking and nicely made helmet aimed at road and gravel use, but while it's comfortable and reasonably light, it has several aspects that mean it just won't work for everyone.

If this one doesn't sound ideal for you, check out our guide to the best cycling helmets for more options.

The biggest issues for me are the shaping and sizing of the shell. It's relatively long and narrow rather than rounded, and it's rather small – despite my 57cm skull being 1cm inside the 54-58cm range of this medium, the fit is very close. It took a bit of adjustment just to get it sitting on my head, in fact, rather than perching on top.

2023 Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet - inside.jpg

I can – just – get this sat down properly, though it stops a few millimetres from the crown of my head as it hits the top of the sides first. Nevertheless, there's just enough wiggle room that, while riding, it's perfectly comfortable. I had no pressure points anywhere, and with the cradle adjusted it's very stable too. This is not the issue.

The issue is that those long, relatively straight sides hug my skull so closely that it would surely stop the Mips from working properly. Any twisting force sees the helmet itself lock immediately against the sides of my head. It's hard to see how the sliding layers of the Mips design – there to damp sudden rotational forces that can cause brain injuries – can work when the shell is not free to rotate independently.

> All you need to know about Mips

Presumably sizing up would help, and I'd certainly recommend that to anyone in the upper half of any given size here. If you're not interested in Mips anyway, there's a version without it for £109.99.

2023 Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet - Mips.jpg

Another potential issue is the lack of adjustment where the four straps become two. Typically you can expect sliders that let you adjust this junction under your ears, but the PowerDome has none. Personally I had no issue despite this – they sat entirely comfortably – but if they're not right, you're out of luck.

> How to set up your helmet – 10 easy steps to a perfect fit

The straps are thin, light and comfortable against the skin, and cradle adjustment is easy via the clickwheel on the back. The helmet itself feels very solid with its substantial outer hardshell, though that outer doesn't extend under the brim to protect the inner foam there. That said, you really would have to treat your helmets carelessly for this to result in any meaningful marking or damage.

2023 Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet - tension system.jpg

The PowerDome doesn't extend particularly far down, making it easy to fit eyewear beneath without it pushing down on the arms, and overall it's pretty light at 250g. It's also good if you have a ponytail, as the shell kicks up considerably at the back for clearance. Personally I'd rather have more crash protection than a ponytail hole, but then my hair is about 7mm long and nearly impossible to tie in ribbons.

The PowerDome is well vented, as you might expect of a helmet named after the bonnet scoop of a muscle car; the shaping of the rearmost central vent mimics one. 'Powerdome' might be the German word for it, by the way; I've only heard them called bonnet scoops or 'power bulges'. I'm happy this is not the Abus PowerBulge.

2023 Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet - back.jpg
2023 Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet - front.jpg

Value

At £129.99 this is right in the midrange against plenty of competition. The Met Estro MIPS reviewed very well, for instance, is almost as light at 270g, and costs £120, while the Lazer Sphere MIPS that I tested in 2021 is 10g heavier and very close in spec to the Abus. It's £124.99.

Meanwhile, the Bell Falcon XR LED MIPS, which Stu reviewed recently, is also £129.99, but has a rear light in it.

Mips is actually no longer a premium feature, as the £44.99 Liv Relay MIPS – and the mere £20 drop to the Mips-less version of the PowerDome – prove, so what you're paying for here is mostly the lid itself. You may well expect adjustable straps and a more complete outer shell at this price, though neither is ubiquitous (especially on the lightest helmets).

Overall

If you have a relatively long, narrow skull – and consider sizing up if you're anywhere near the upper limit – the PowerDome should prove a comfortable and attractive choice. If not, there are plenty of other Mips-equipped lids out there, many with more universal fits, and quite a few are cheaper to boot.

Verdict

Pleasingly light and feels strong, but the unusual shape and constricted sizing really won't suit everyone

road.cc test report

Make and model: Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet

Size tested: 54-58 cm

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?

Abus says: "With the PowerDome, ABUS expands its "Made in Italy" road bike helmet range. A lightweight helmet that symbolises the 'dolce vita' and clear racing DNA. In the MIPS version, additional impact protection ensures carefree riding fun."

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

From Abus:

Technology:

Aerodynamic profile, incl. rear edge at the top of the rear end

Excellent ventilation provided by 10 air inlets and 7 air outlets

Forced Air Cooling Technology combines front and rear vents with deep channels for a cool head - plus air scoop (top) for the Venturi effect

FlowStraps: aerodynamic, flutter-free and skin-friendly webbing

In-Mould for a permanent bond between the outer shell and the shock-absorbing helmet material (EPS)

Zoom Ace: finely adjustable, height-adjustable adjustment system with easy-grip adjustment wheel for individual fit

Helmet fits well on ponytail wearers - height-adjustable adjustment system at the back of the head creates space for ponytails

Half-ring: plastic ring half enclosing the head and connected to the adjustment system - enables size adjustment

MIPS: Impact protection that protects the brain, especially when the cyclist's head hits the ground at an angle during a fall

Made in Italy

Operation and use:

Lightweight adult helmet for use on road bikes or gravel bikes

Great fit for all those for whom fun riding is the priority

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
5/10

Small, narrow fit meant the Mips layers were not free to work properly on me. Otherwise this is comfortable and secure.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

The inner foam is not protected under the brim, but that's only an issue if you literally chuck it in the shed/garage and take no care with it.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's shaped more for narrow skulls than rounded ones, though I could find a comfortable fit anyway – just.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

Very well on the bike. It's comfortable, stays put and doesn't interfere with vision. It's hard to see how the Mips tech could work fully in a crash, however, when the shell is physically blocked from twisting – or at least is on me in my recommended size.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It's comfortable, stays put and doesn't interfere with vision.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Narrow shaping, small for its size, straps don't adjust around your ears.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

It's in the midrange and up against plenty of similar good quality helmets.

Did you enjoy using the product? Sort of.

Would you consider buying the product? No – it's not the right fit for my head.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if the shape and size would suit.

Use this box to explain your overall score

If you have a long, narrow head with a circumference near the bottom of a size range, add a point (and maybe another if you have a ponytail). If not, there's little reason to risk this when there are so many equally well-made helmets at this price. This is only the second helmet I've ever tried that just doesn't work for me (the other being a very rounded Kask), and while this Abus is at least comfortable, it's constricted enough to obviously affect how well the Mips layer could actually work.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

Add new comment

2 comments

Avatar
ChuckSneed | 11 months ago
0 likes

I wouldn't ever want to use a helmet where the safety of it is compromised. How can you give this anything higher than 0/10 if the MIPS is compromised?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ChuckSneed | 11 months ago
0 likes
ChuckSneed wrote:

I wouldn't ever want to use a helmet where the safety of it is compromised. How can you give this anything higher than 0/10 if the MIPS is compromised?

I just bought a new helmet from Aldi for £9.99 - no compromised MIPS with that and it's even got a rear light built in.

Latest Comments