Tester: Helena Kotala
Sizes: M (52-58 cm, tested), L (56-61 cm), XL (61-65 cm)
Let’s face it, helmets are not exactly the “coolest” thing about riding a bike. But, they’re one of the most important bits, and having a helmet that is comfortable and fits well does make all the difference. Having a helmet that does all those things and adds to your visibility and safety in addition to the obvious function is even better. The ABUS Urban-I 2.0 offers a comfortable helmet with added features to increase safety on the road.
ABUS is a security company, most well-known in the bike industry for locks, but they also produce things like alarm systems for home and commercial properties. And bike helmets. That’s a form of security, after all–the security of protecting your noggin.
The Urban series is meant for “people who use their bike every day, see their bike helmet as an accessory or prefer simple elegance to go with their business suit.” I’m not sure I would call the blindingly bright color of this helmet “elegant” in any way, shape or form, but that’s okay. I also don’t, and hopefully never will, wear business suits. I still like this helmet though.
The main feature of the Urban-I 2.0 is the large triangular light strategically mounted on its rear, offering visibility to motorists from behind and to some extent, from the sides. The entire surface of the light acts as a button to turn it on and off and is very tactile, making it easy to do by feel. The red beam has two settings—steady and blinking. One click for steady, two for the blinky. The light pops out of the helmet for battery replacement and takes the readily available CR 2032 lithium battery.
I treated the light feature as a second measure of safety and still used a red blinky mounted to my seatpost, as the helmet-mounted light wasn’t quite bright enough for me to feel comfortable riding with it alone. However, it’s a lot better than nothing in the event of a forgotten or dead primary blinky light. Two reflective patches on the back of the helmet add even more visibility.
During the day, the neon orange color is pretty hard to miss. The shell seems to glow, even in the daylight. In fact, while on a group ride, a buddy of mine did remark that he “could see me from a mile away.” Good, that’s what we’re going for. If orange isn’t your shade, there are plenty of other blindingly bright color options to choose from, including purple, green, yellow and blue.
At 280 grams for a size medium, it’s a fairly light lid, and as summer hits in full force, it’s been easy to gravitate towards the Urban for my head protection option. For rainy or cold days, ABUS does offer a rain cap and winter kit that fits on top of the helmet for added warmth.
The fit is comfortable on a rounder head like my own (very similar to a Bell), and can be adjusted via a dial on the rear of the in-molded plastic half ring. Each turn of the dial results in a satisfying click, and the retention system stays put all day long. The straps close under the chin via a magnetic slide mechanism, which took me a few rides to get used to, but once I did, I liked much better than a traditional buckle. The buckle area has a strip of padding under the chin, making it comfortable to actually wear the helmet as tight as you should.
The comfort of this helmet and added peace of mind that comes with the neon colors and the built-in rear light has made the Urban-I 2.0 my go-to for road rides lately. It’s a solid choice for any commuter, cycle tourist, or anyone who finds themselves riding on the road on a regular basis.Tweet Print
The unfortunate fact of life and society is that in a lot of places, locks are very necessary if you don’t want your precious bicycle to walk off. They can be clunky, heavy and annoying to carry, but they don’t have to be. Here are a few that seem pretty convenient to throw on your bike or in your bag, as well as an all-new locking wall mount and nifty component-locking devices.
The Kryptonite Keeper lock consists of a number of steel links that fold and store nicely in its own little holder. The steel chain links are covered in webbing to prevent your bike from scratches, and the holder affixes to your bike via velcro straps.
RockyMounts is known for manufacturing bike transportation devices for vehicles (roof rack trays, hitch racks, etc), but it’s recently expanded its offerings to include bicycle security devices (aka locks).
The Carlito is touted by RockyMounts to be “the lightest U-lock in the world.” I haven’t seen all the U-locks in the world (or remotely close—I don’t even own one), but it felt impressively light to me and weighs in at just 395 grams. It’s made up of a 14 mm thick aluminum shackle covered in silicon, so it looks extra beefy but doesn’t feel it in your pocket. This lock gets a 4/10 security rating and retails for $39.95. We have one in for review as we speak, so stay tuned for more in-depth thoughts soon!
The Hendrix is a folding lock that is made up of folding steel plates, similar to the Kryptonite shown above. The steel is coated in rubber to avoid any scratches, and the lock folds down to the size of a smartphone. Also included is a water bottle cage mounting bracket. Price: $67.95 with a security rating of 7/10.
Hiplok’s claim to fame is a “wearable” design—locks that can easily be worn around the waist, diagonally across the torso or however else you can figure out how to sport them.
They had a couple new products at Sea Otter to showcase. The Airlok is a wall-mounted bike lock, so that you can secure your bike in your garage, shed, apartment, wherever. It features secure wall mounts, a steel framework and lockable bolt to keep your bike in place. It carries Hiplok’s maximum Gold Secure security rating and will be available in May in three different colors. The wall mount also comes with three coded keys, which are replaceable in case of misplacement if you register them with Hiplok. Price: $179
Z Lok is a reinforced, reusable zip-tie lock that is meant to be conveniently carried in your bag to throw on as added protection from opportunist thieves. This 40 cm long tie consists of a steel core and nylon outer, and automatically locks when looped into place but only unlocks with a key. This seems like a great option for if you’re only running into a store for a minute, or if you’re in a relatively safe area but just want that bit of extra piece of mind.
And, the Z Lok can be used just like a zip tie in a pinch. Apparently, they were used to secure a broken tent at Sea Otter. Seems legit.
The Z Lok comes in a variety of colors and in a two-pack for $20. They will also be available in May.
The Nutfix lock launched earlier this year and is meant to protect bike wheels and saddles against theft. Nutfix caps go on seat clamps and axles, and can only be unlocked if the bike is on its side. So, if your bike is locked in an upright position, a thief can’t unscrew the nut and release your wheel or seatpost.
Axle locks are $34.99 and the seatpost collar lock is $44.99. Both come in a number of different sizes.
Both companies agree that the key first step in bike security is using the proper lock and using it correctly. The understanding that no lock offers 100-percent protection against a well-equipped thief is the basis for the partnership. Project 529 and its 529 Garage platform pick up where ABUS’s locks leave off, by providing easy bicycle registration and crowdsourced recovery assistance in the event of theft.
Statistics indicate that a bike is stolen every 30 seconds in the United States and fewer than 10 percent of recovered bicycles are ever returned to their owners. By encouraging the use of high-quality, high-security locks—and teaching owners how to use them properly—the goal is to prevent theft before it happens.
The 529 Garage allows riders to easily and securely register their bikes and provides the capacity to broadcast a “Missing Bike Bulletin” to the 529 community and social networks that includes images and details that will enable cyclists and law enforcement to identify and recover the stolen bike. Additionally, the 529 Garage generates a detailed report that can be provided to the police and the victim’s insurance company to maximize and expedite claims and the ability for law enforcement to check against a national database of missing bikes.
“Our goal is to make the best locks in the world,” said ABUS Marketing Manager Joan Hanscom. “Our locks are engineered and produced in our own factories to incredibly demanding quality standards that we set – standards that meet and exceed many of the most widely recognized testing standards employed globally. But even then—whether it be due to human error or the use of power tools—bikes still get stolen. By partnering with Project 529 we are delivering a more comprehensive security solution to cyclists and we are thrilled to be working with them.”
The ABUS and Project 529 partnership will launch on the ground in Portland and online nationally this month. This season, a security “bundle” will roll out with select Portland independent bicycle dealers that will include a high-security ABUS lock and a 529 Garage registration kit. The partnership extends further into cyclist education and new product development efforts. Recently, J Allard was appointed to the newly formed Portland Police Bike Theft Task Force by Portland Chief of Police Larry O’Dea to help attack the growing frustration with bike theft in Portland.
“This partnership represents the marriage of simplicity and security backed by world-class engineering,” said J. Allard, founder of Project 529. “Bike theft is an epidemic, and the solution lies in industry cooperation and community engagement. We’re excited to partner with ABUS and the bike shop community to bring new thinking and new solutions to this difficult problem.”Tweet Print
Losing a bike to theft is not fun. Even though I’ve managed to not have a bike stolen since I was a child, I’ve been playing it safe, and no longer use cable locks to secure my bikes.
I’ve been using these three high security locks from Abus. All three use Abus’ Granit X Plus key system, which is highly pick resistant, and comes with two keys and a code card to replace lost keys. Each lock is scored as a 15, Abus’ highest rating for bicycle security. Each of these locks is part of a family, with less expensive, and less secure models available for areas of lower risk.
U54 Mini – $110
It might be a bit of stretch calling this lock “mini”, but is smaller than a full size u-lock, while being large enough to still fit around almost any pole, including reinforced parking meters. It does not fit into a back pocket though.The shackle locks on both sides, so a thief would need to cut both sides to free your bike, and the locking mechanism is claimed to be very resistant to leverage and striking attacks. I used this most often when running errands solo, and I knew where I was planning to lock up. Weighing in at 3.5 pounds, the U54 is a solid but not overly heavy piece of protection.
Granit City Chain 1060 – $200
This thing is a bruiser, and from a visual standpoint, this thing will probably make most thieves move on to less sturdy looking looks. The City Chain isn’t all looks, with 10mm thick square chain links, and a direct connection between the lock and chain, no separate lock to lose or create a weak point for attack. A heavy fabric sleeve protects your bike’s finish, and this brute weighs in at 4.6 pounds. I mostly used this to lock bikes on my porch or on days when I had both a cargo bike and kids bikes to lock up, as the 33-inch length was big enough to handle multiple bikes.
Bordo 6500 – $170
The Bordo series of locks has a lot of fans here at the Bicycle Times. A cross between a u-lock and chain, this folding lock is by far my favorite. It’s the same length as the Granit City chain, but the folding nature of the lock can be more frustrating to use. I’ve managed to lock up three mountain bikes outside a bar, and felt secure enough to head inside for drinks without constantly checking on the $15,000 worth of bikes every three minutes. It’s the same weight as the U54 U-lock, but can fit around more bikes and larger poles. It even comes with a nifty carrying case that can mount into water bottle bosses or Velcro around a frame tube. And when locking up alone, the Bordo (and City chain) is big enough to secure the frame and front wheel.
Each of these locks is a solid investment in a long relationship with your bike. For all around use the Bordo 6500 is easy recommendation for me to make. For the highest level of security and for locking up at established bike racks, the U54 U-lock is the best bet. For groups of bikes, difficult locking situations, and looking like a bad ass, the Granit City (which is also part of Abus’s motorcycle security line) get the nod.
Editor’s note: This review originally appeared in Issue #32 of Bicycle Times. To make sure you never miss a product review, order a subscription and you’ll be ready for the everyday cycling adventure.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at how Abus locks are made in our tour of its factory in Germany.
ABUS, the German manufacturer known primarily for its bike and motorcycle locks, will supply a German professional road racing team with mobile security and helmets in 2015 and 2016.
As part of this partnership, ABUS will supply UCI Professional Continental Team Bora-Argon 18 (known as NetApp-Endura through December 31) with its top racing helmet, the Tec-Tical Pro v.2. The security expert will also give the pro team additional support with mechanical and electronic security systems for the equipment used in team vehicles and at team headquarters.
“It’s a great development for the company as we push more into the helmet space,” said Joan Hanscom, ABUS North American Marketing and PR Manager. “It will be several months before we’ve got them in the U.S., and we will start with the commuter helmets. It’s where we have something very unique in the market place. Race helmets will likely come later.”
According to ABUS, the driving forces behind the sponsorship, as well as the foundations for the upcoming collaboration, include the team’s German roots, its international focus and a similar philosophy.
“Making a strong commitment to a German professional cycling team is the logical next step in our sponsoring strategy,” said Christian Bremicker, CEO of the ABUS Group. “It offers us a fantastic opportunity to showcase our products to a wide audience at the highest level of competitive cycling, while also giving us the opportunity to incorporate feedback from the professional riders into the further development and optimization of our helmets. We look forward to this new cooperation in the world of professional cycling and wish the entire team a healthy season as well as lots of success.”
NetApp-Endura is currently the most successful and highest-level cycling team in Germany. The team’s all-time highlight was its participation in this year’s Tour de France, where it finished seventh in the overall classification and took third place in Stage 20, the individual time trial.
Extra! Read about our tour of three ABUS German factories in May 2014.
We’re big fans of Abus locks, which pack German quality and engineering into every type of locking device imaginable. Earlier this year we toured its factory in Wetter, Germany, and came away impressed with the amount of innovation that goes into a seemingly simple product.
The new line of 410 Ultra U-locks hits the sweet spot in price with a $35-$50 MSRP. Abus recommends you invest 10 percent of your bike’s value in a lock, so those numbers seem pretty competitive to us. The new line consists of two basic variants: a Mini model with either a 5.5-inch or 7-inch shackle and with or without a cable for extra protection; a standard model with a 9-inch shackle, and optional cable; and finally a long shackle option with a massive 11-inch reach.
Each lock is built with a 12mm, Silver-rated, round steel shackle, which is double-bolted to protect against cutting or twisting attacks. Abus give this series a security rating of 8, which is not quite as high as some of its heavy duty variations, but very secure nonetheless. It has a hardened, but round lock body for ergonomics and ease-of-use. Yes, the Mini should fit in your back pocket. It also includes a frame bracket that can fit most bikes if you don’t want to carry it yourself.
Learn more at Abus.com.