The Abus GameChanger is aptly named
When it comes to safety and security, Abus is no stranger. Since 1924 the brand has offered all levels of home, business and personal security products. Their vast partnerships spread across many different markets. While the Abus name doesn’t have nearly the level of acclaim in America that they carry throughout Europe, it’s only because they’ve made a point of focusing on Europe.
How does this relate to cycling? Well, the brand has had a full line of helmets for some time, and a few years ago they decided to bring a few select models to the U.S. market. The initial urban lids did so well that they also decided to slowly bring their sports category, too. This is when we were introduced to the GameChanger helmet.
Sure, we had seen it worn in the pro peloton with the Movistar team for a couple of seasons, but getting one in the States was difficult due to the differing testing standards required between here and there.
The GameChanger is an aero helmet that, in our opinion, is still stylish, something we normally wouldn’t say about a helmet in this category. At 301 grams, the helmet isn’t winning any weight competitions. The straps are lightweight nylon with sewn, nonadjustable ear openings. The chin strap is adjustable, and the small clip has a very secure retention, even more so considering its size.
The rear retention system offers adjustment vertically with about 25mm of travel and 15 positions. For tension, there is a small dial that has about 50 micro-adjustments. On our size medium, that will adjust from 52–57cm. It should also be noted that the plastic tension straps reach all the way up to the front of the helmet near what would be the temple of your head.
The interior of the helmet has one thin pad that covers the front portion of the head with many cutouts for all the air channels. The internal shell is fairly complex with a full system of deep and shallow channels to direct air through the helmet and exhaust heat. From the exterior, there are five intake vents—three on the lower front and two on the upper portion. In the rear, there are five exhaust openings.
When we first put the helmet on, we were surprised at the amount of adjustment and fine tuneability of the fit. Normally, we have to move the vertical adjustment pretty far down to get a helmet to feel secure, but on the GameChanger, it is only a few clicks out of the 15 total. The rear-tension dial has almost too many adjustments, but we aren’t complaining, because it was easy to get perfect tension. This system also has a very even feel around the head, thanks to the long and forward-mounted strap.
As for the chin strap, we were a bit worried about the ear opening not being adjustable, but Abus seems to have gotten the position and angle spot-on for all our test riders. The thin pad was probably one of the reasons we liked the helmet so much. Its thin padding and design that wraps to the temple of the head minimize sweat drips at the nose of the helmet. Instead, we get pretty salty straps, but that’s better than in our eyes or on the lens of our glasses.
Speaking of glasses, the two widest intake ports are perfectly designed to house a pair of shades. This is a big plus for the GameChanger as a helmet and even more so as an aero helmet. We can’t stress how important such a small thing is, like a place to securely and easily position glasses when you’re not wearing them.
When it’s all said and done, is the GameChanger a real-life game-changer? Probably not. We don’t have any wind-tunnel data to validate its wind-cutting abilities, but it does seem to look the part. Does the helmet tick the boxes of comfort, design and functionality? Yes, and for us, those are the most important.
As for the weight, it was never an issue and seems to be well-balanced. For us, the look is spot-on, and Abus says there are 69 variations between the three sizes (S, M and L) and 23 color options. Did we mention that it’s made in Italy and not Germany? None of our test riders have tested the helmet’s true functionality in a crash, but since it passes all the testing protocols around the world, we’re confident to move it into our go-to helmet selection.
Made in Italy
Aero with room for shades
So many color options, it’s hard to pick