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 Tracer is the newest adult helmet from Nutcase Inc., the Portland-based brand known for colorful helmets designed for the urban cycling revolution.
A lightweight, in-mold helmet that provides full-coverage, the Tracer offers innovative features as well as high-energy colors and reflectivity that make this helmet visible even at high speeds and at night.
Channel venting allows air to flow when riders need it and the CoolControlTM on-the-fly vent closure mechanism blocks the air on chilly mornings or rainy days when they do not. Meghan Sinnott, brand manager for Nutcase, says this feature is “the most universally appreciated thing about this helmet.” They’ve gotten great feedback from commuters who like to wear it because their commute is chilly in the morning but warms up in the evening. “With this helmet, they don’t have to bring a cycling cap to keep warm.”
The removable cloth visor shields riders’ eyes from sun and rain, while the adjustable retention system, multiple pad sets (3mm, 6mm, 9mm), and magnetic buckle all provide a customized fit.
“It’s going to be my next helmet because it fits better than any Nutcase helmet has ever fit me!” says Sinnott. “It’s not as round as our Street helmet and not as narrow as our Metroride. It’s also incredibly light.”
The collection comes in six colorways: Aurora Green, Eclipse Black, Glacier Blue, Ember Red, Spark Yellow, and Shadow Grey.