German firm Abus are well known for their bike locks, so who better to ensure the security of your bonce? Their unusual Urban-I helmet combines a low-profile shape with a twin red LED rear light.
Aimed at commuters, the Urban-I has a shape more akin to one of Giro’s Hex trail lids than a typical road helmet, with quite a close fit, low profile and a dropped rear for extra protection. We think it looks good, although the light on the back does rather spoil its smooth lines.
A total of 21 openings and vents ensure good airflow, so you don’t get too hot under the collar when the 10th driver in a row cuts you up. And although helmet fit is a personal thing, the majority of our testers found it very comfortable. The ‘Zoom’ size adjustment system tightens an internal cradle around your head when you turn the dial on the back of the helmet, and the adjustable straps with padded chinguard help ensure a tight fit.
At 250g, the helmet is reasonably light for the price, and it meets the EN 1078 safety standard. Ours was a stealthy, matt ‘velvet black’, but the Urban-I is also available in grey or olive.
The integrated rear light has two modes – constant and flashing – and is complemented by a triangle-shaped reflector. The back of your helmet is a good place to have a light – the height makes it easy for drivers to see and it can’t be obscured by flapping trouser legs like a seatpost-mounted lamp – but the Urban-I’s integrated LEDs aren’t as bright as many aftermarket options.
Even if the light was brighter, UK law states that cyclists riding at night must have a red rear light positioned between 35cm and 150cm from the ground. This means that unless you’re under 4ft 11in, you would have to use a standard rear light as well as the Urban-I to comply with the law.
All in all, the Urban-I is a decent commuting helmet, with a good fit and plenty of features for the price. The question is whether the rear LED is useful enough to put it ahead of the competition. If the light was brighter and a bit more discreet, the Urban-I would come highly recommended. As it is, it’s still a good helmet if you want a bit of extra visibility or an emergency get-me-home light without having to fork out for a separate rear LED.