No more than five years ago, aero helmets were a rarity, even in the professional peloton. Today, however, you might struggle to find a helmet brand that doesn’t have an aero offering or not see one on your Sunday morning club ride.
The Abus GameChanger was first seen at Milan-San Remo in March on the heads of the Movistar Team and joins a list of new aero helmet offerings from a variety of brands seen at WorldTour races this season.
The first thing you might notice about the helmet is its slim profile. The elongated shape features a ‘Multi Position Design’, which is optimised to reduce aerodynamic drag in a variety of head positions.
Abus claims that there is a 23 percent reduction in drag versus its other high-end helmet, the Tec-Tical Pro. While I we verify its performance without the use of a wind tunnel and extensive testing, I can comment on the overall feel when riding in windy conditions, which put simply is stable.
Other aero helmets can feel as stable and slippery in a near direct headwind, but can feel like they catch the wind at a higher yaw. The GameChanger appears to cut through the wind easily and even with a direct crosswind.
Tailored ‘Flow Straps’ initially feel like they are twisted when clipping the straps together, but once attached, offer a comfortable yet close fit to your cheeks and jaw. There hasn’t been a single occasion where I have felt the straps catching the wind.
Claimed weight for the helmet is 270 grams for a size medium and mine came in at 269 grams, around 10 grams lighter than the similarly priced Specialized S-Works Evade helmet.
Abus says the vent location on the helmet is inspired by aviation technology and encourages air to flow through the helmet and out of the rear vents, known as the Venturi effect.
However, the ventilation on the helmet is where I feel the helmet is let down. In the mild British summer, I felt the helmet get hot and sticky while climbing and in hotter temperatures this could be a problem in all but the flattest or fastest of rides where there is ample air flow.
The location of the air vents did prevent rain and road spray ingress, even during the heaviest summer showers.
A rotating tensioning wheel on the rear of the helmet ensures a comfortable fit, although the sliding spar did slip occasionally when at the maximum extension.
Also at the rear of the helmet is ‘Air Port’, which can securely store your glasses with the added benefit of keeping them out of the wind. When stowed, the sunglasses’ arms are kept away from the top of your head, avoiding any discomfort.
Available in the Movistar Team colours and seven other colourways, including a celeste blue option for Bianchi fans, the helmet costs £179.99 and is available in the usual small, medium or large size options.
The helmet has already been worn at the highest level of the sport and the GameChanger offers a great alternative from the usual suspects in the aero helmet line-up.
For fast, flat chaingangs or crit’ racing, you will feel the aerodynamic stability of the lid and the added benefit of protection from any wet weather means it could be a great option for winter riding. For hotter days or long rides with plenty of climbing however, I suggest sticking with a well-ventilated lid.