The German security giant Abus has long been respected for its world-class range of bicycle locks (as well as locks and security for applications outside of the world of cycling). Founded in Germany in 1924, Abus has actually been making helmets since 1992 and its range now includes everything from helmets for babies and children, through city helmets for shopping or commuting, to high-end sports helmets.
Abus has previously done well in our best locks guide, so let's see how its road and gravel helmet performs.
We have long-rated Abus locks as some of the best for protecting bikes, but do their helmets offer equal levels of protection? We have been testing their Powerdome MIPS helmet to see how it compares to the best gravel bike helmets.
Design and specification
The Powerdome sits in the middle of Abus’ range of road and gravel cycling helmets with an RRP of $180/£129.99. It is part of the Made In Italy family of helmets which includes the pricier GameChanger, AirBreaker, and StormChaser helmets. I’m not entirely sure why some of Abus’ helmets are manufactured in Italy and others are not, but it looks like Abus is proud to produce helmets in what it calls “the birthplace of cycling”. They must be doing something right in that helmet factory near the Dolomites, as the helmet looks and feels great once out of the (minimal and recyclable) cardboard box.
While this in no way influences my review of this helmet, the Abus website is not the easiest when it comes to navigating the company's helmet range. Price is often a good way to search by tier – the lightest most sporty models often cost the most, while more basic and heavier ones generally cost less – but this is not possible on the Abus website. Add to this the fact that some older models are still listed (the Aventor, for example, which has been succeeded by the Powerdome) and it all becomes a bit confusing when choosing a helmet. I ended up finding an online retailer that stocked a wide range of Abus helmets and used its price filter to help understand the range.
The helmet is constructed from an EPS foam liner that has been coated in a plastic shell. The shell on my review helmet is finished in a rather lovely Goldfish Orange, more of a burnt orange to me, and other color options are available. Although the shell doesn’t fully cover the underneath of the EPS – and so you may find little indentations start to form on the EPS here – I would like to point out that the seam between the EPS and the shell is incredibly neat and smooth. This could be due to the Multi-Shell In-Mould technology that Abus uses to bond the two together. Forced Air Cooling Technology aims to keep your head ventilated with ten air inlets, the one on top designed to scoop in the air and produce a Venturi effect thus cooling you more efficiently. Seven outlets on the rear allow warm air to escape the helmet.
Inside, the Powerdome is equipped with a MIPS membrane. (There is also the option of the Powerdome without MIPS and the Powerdome Ace which comes with its own matching cap.) The MIPS system is designed to reduce the rotational force on the head by allowing the helmet to rotate 10-15mm on certain angled impacts. The Zoom Ace dial adjustment system ensures a good fit around the head.
I found the Powerdome to perform very well on longer rides as well as short, high-tempo spins. The finish to the helmet seems to hold up well and is easy to wipe clean and keep looking fresh after a ride. The ventilation works as it should and the internal comfort pads are removable for easy washing.
In terms of comfort, I was very happy with the fit. I am a Large with all other helmet manufacturers and I found the Powerdome true to size. The dial closure on the rear can be shifted higher or lower to get the fit spot on, and I found the range of this adjustment to be larger than a lot of other helmets I have tested.
Personally, the one thing that I would have liked on this helmet is an adjuster on the strap dividers. Occasionally I found the rear straps to be sitting quite far out behind my ears, and while this doesn’t affect the performance of the helmet in any way, it would be nice to be able to adjust this to get it sitting spot-on. On the other hand, fixed strap dividers – in this case they are sewn in place – are less bulky than adjustable ones, so if this helmet fits you well then it’s not an issue.
A good all-round helmet for fast gravel and road, featuring MIPS safety for an affordable price. The fit is good if it fits, however, with fixed strap dividers, this may not be the case. The MET Estro MIPS helmet can be found for a similar price and that includes adjustable strap dividers.
Tech specs: Abus Powerdome MIPS helmet
- Price: $180 / £129.99 / €159.95
- Colors: Shiny White, Blaze Red, Titan, Shiny Black, Velvet Black, Goldfish Orange, Flip Flop Purple
- Sizes: S (51-55cm), M (54-58cm), L (57-61cm)
- Claimed weight: 280g