Abus' GameChanges has been well thought out. Though difficult to prove, optimising for changing head positions is smart, and the cooling system works well. The straps and retention dial are a little rough, but then this helmet does beat competitors on price.
Retention system not smooth
No MIPS option
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Since your head represents a sizeable portion of frontal area, and the human body makes up most of the drag that holds the bike/rider unit back, then choosing an aero road helmet seems like a very sensible idea.
In the past, resistance has been based on concerns around overheating. There's no point saving 20 watts if you're so distracted by forehead sweat that you're pushing out 50 less. However, most brands have now managed in incorporate adequate venting to overcome this - the Abus GameChanger included.
Seen adorning the heads of Movistar pro team riders, the GameChanger is an aero lid which promises a "multi position design" - the aim being to provide a drop in drag, even with the rider's head tilted downwards or to the side in the traditional breakaway grimace, and regardless of wind direction. It's hard to quantify this claim without a windtunnel, but it certainly seems like a sensible objective to have.
To combat overhearing, Abus has used its own 'Forced Air Cooling Technology ' - this sucks the air in at the front, encourages the cooling effect to travel over the head, before being pushed out of the exhaust style vents at the rear.
I've worn this helmet to climb mountains under the sun, during track races on London's indoor velodrome as well as when trundling out long miles under a blanket of winter cloud and rain. I've never felt my head was overheating, and the closed off vents provide good additional protection on wet days.
The retention system is Abus' 'Zoom Ace', there's a dial at the rear and this created a close fit, without creating pressure spots - even on my smaller than average noggin. The dial closes and releases in incremental adjustments, however, it's not as smooth as some higher end versions.
Externally, the Abus has a slimlined profile, and whilst aesthetics are personal, again this worked well on my fairly petite facial features.
Ponytail compatibility is built in, though I've yet to find a helmet that doesn't allow space to feed through my mane.
Inside, a soft padding is used, with a strip running alongside the forehead area which works well for mopping up some sweat if required, albeit purpose designed as some brands offer. There's space for glasses storage via the vents, and I always found these provided a firm hold and were easy to locate whilst riding.
The straps are designed to sit close, offering a "flutter free" profile. They're made from a fairly course fabric - this is common in more entry level helmets, and the Abus does come in at a lower price point than competitors with similar aero designs.
The GameChanger in a size small, weighed in a 256g - that's 21g heavier than the £200 Specialized Evade II I tested in the same size (both without MIPS), placing it well within competitive range, even if not the lightest. Unfortunately, there is no anti-rotational safety system, such as a MIPS layer - which could be a game changer for some.
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