The Urban-I v.2 Neon is designed city riders, commuters, every day riding, touring and BMX riders. The helmet features In-Mold design for durable fusion of the outer shell and the shock absorbing helmet material (EPS). ZOOMLite precise adjustment features a retention system made of robust yet lightweight, flexible plastic for safety, stability and comfortable fit.
- In-Mold design
- 12 air inlets & 5 outlets
- Removeable & washable interior padding
- Easy adjust soft-touch straps
- Removeable visor
- 180-degree rear led light
- Bug Netting over front half
- Measured weight: 300g (10.6oz)
- Retail – $100
ABUS started in Germany back in 1924. For me, however, I had known of them for their lock options over the years. More recently I stumbled across their helmets and was intrigued. Turns out they have been creating helmets for a couple years now and even create some for top racing teams around the world. You will see them on several teams in the Tour de France peloton.
How else do you test a helmet, but by getting out and riding? I have been using this helmet for road, cross, and commuting rides here around Seattle. The weather has been everything from 45 and rainy to 85 and sunny. Rides varied in length from 18 miles to 50 miles. The only thing I did not do is test the helmets strength. Sorry, no crashes, but I assume it has been tested well in order to get certified.
Construction & Features (35%)
The Urban I tested was one of the neon collection and was blue in color. While considered neon, it was not nearly as bright as what you expect for a neon color. I actually really like the blue color of the helmet, bright enough to stand out and be seen, but not ugly. At least in my opinion and my wife’s, I thought it was good for a second opinion. The front removable visor is a lighter blue color as is the pads on the chinstrap and inside. I think it all comes together well. The helmet was also thoughtfully designed with large air intake holes for visibility while keeping a normal look. There are some funky hole patterns out there. The helmet has been made with an In-Mold design similar to other helmets. It has a hard outer shell with EPS foam inner for protection.
What I think was done best however with the helmet is the integrated light in the back. They have managed to integrate a LED light into the helmet but kept it low profile and just part of the design. Abus has also been able to do this while keeping the helmet a similar weight most other helmets. My helmet in a size large came in at —- grams. The light itself is not super bright, enough that it will stand out at night, but not really stand out in the daylight. It has two modes: solid and flashing. I tried to show it in the picture as it makes a triangle shape with the center area being the on/flashing/off button. Abus has also done a good job incorporating some reflective elements for low light conditions.
The other two features worth mentioning are the magnetic chin strap buckle and front bug net. I really like this buckle, it easily connects together, much better than a standard buckle as it can be done easily with one hand if needed. The other feature I appreciated was the bug netting in the front half of the helmet. I have short hair so this is not as big of an issue as it is for my wife. However, having this mesh in there and not bugs, especially bees, is appreciated. There is one area that I did give the helmet a low rank on. I did not see anything in regards to sustainability. Both in the materials used or practices by the company. Abus does have some really good qualities is runs on, sustainability, however, was not mentioned and thus the low mark there.
Head Comfort (20%)
Strap Comfort (10%)
What is likely the second most important thing about a helmet is the comfort and fit. This is where the Abus Urban-I shines. To be honest, when you are talking about a helmet made for touring and commuting, comfort is key. If it was a lightweight racer you would expect to make some tradeoffs, not here. This helmet does not disappoint. It has ample padding both on the interior, but also at the chin buckle. Couple that with a flexible plastic retention system on the interior and a ratcheting dial and you have an excellent fit around your head with good padding for extended comfort. I personally never had any discomfort with this helmet, which I cannot always say.
The straps are softer than some others I have. Sometimes these have stiffened up over time so we will have to see with these, but initially, the straps they used are great. The helmet even has two settings where you can adjust the retention to be higher or lower on your head. Just pop it out and put it in the setting you wish. I happen to be pretty average so I kept it in the high setting. I even was on the border between sizes and opted for the Large. My head size of 58cm fits great in the large, that was a bit too close for the medium, especially since I typically wear a cap.
Ease of Use (30%)
I think performance is the most important aspect of a helmet. In particular protection. If a helmet did not protect your head, I do not think anyone would wear one. The Abus Urban-I is CSPS certified, however, I did not actually test the protection part. If someone has had an accident, please let me know in the comments section. From what I can tell, the coverage for the helmet is good, especially at the back of the head where you sometimes see a bit less protection.
From a performance standard, the Urban breathes well with the 12 large front vents. I have had both more and less airy helmets so I would say this one falls somewhere in the middle of all that I have used. As mentioned before, the magnetic chin buckle is great. Easy to clip and unclip with one hand if needed. I am also a big fan of the ratcheting dial, those are much easier to adjust versus the old sliding adjustment system on helmets. This one has a larger dial which I think makes it a bit easier to use. Lighter weight race helmets normally save some weight here.
Finally, what makes this helmet great is that is a very versatile helmet. It fits for road, mtb, touring, and commuting. You can add and remove the visor as needed. You can even buy a winter liner or rain cover that has been designed for this helmet.
Overall, I can see why Abus helmets are starting to show up in the pro peloton. While this is not one of these helmets, the features and performance of this helmet indicate that Abus knows what it is doing and I am sure the race helmets reflect that. I really have liked the features of the Urban-I and even more so the comfort. All in all, I would definitely recommend this helmet for anything other than as a true racing helmet.
- Great padding
- Buckle is easy to use
- Light is useful and integrated well
- Not racy, but is that really a con?
- Lack of panache