This weekend’s Garda Bike Festival finally saw the long awaited release of the Abus MonTrailer helmet and I was the lucky one who got to go out to the Italy to wear it for myself and sample the sun, dry trails, pizza and ice cream.
The MonTrailer is designed as an Enduro helmet. It’s a considerable step up in terms of both coverage and construction over Abus’ trail helmet, the Moventor, and promises a fair chunk of protection.
Working from the outside in, the helmet uses a five-shell outer. Not only does this more complex design work to spread impact forces it allows for other features such as a concave rear section for goggle security and contrasting colours.
Underneath the shell is the EPS shock absorbing material (the polystyrene bit). Unlike many helmets the outer shell wraps underneath the EPS to give extra protection to the helmet itself, useful when you sling your helmet around off the bike.
This is all mounted on a nylon-plastic skeleton. Not all helmets use a skeleton as they add weight to a helmet but there are big strength – and therefore protection – advantages of doing so. A skeleton also allows for a more secure anchoring point for straps and better integration of vents into the helmet design (all of Abus’ higher end MTB helmets feature a nylon skeleton). The helmet is fairly weighty though, on my kitchen scales the medium comes in at 444g (a fair bit more than the published 370g).
The MonTrailer has quite a full coverage and features fewer vents than some other helmets. In total there are five air inlets and seven outlets formed from the shell and skeleton. The full coverage results in better protection but risks limiting air flow and therefore cooling.
A couple of other key features of the helmet are a translucent visor for improved vision in gloomy conditions, from any distance it looks black though so not at all odd. The visor pivots on two sturdy fixings so it’s possible to get it right up out the way and at many points in between. The concave rear section gives your goggle strap somewhere secure to fit and stops it riding up, especially when you’ve got them stashed under the visor. There’s a rubberised area in the concave for additional strap grip although not an actual clip.
There are three versions of the helmet available: the MonTrailer (£109.99), MonTrailer MIPS (£129.99) and MonTrailer ACE MIPS (£149.99). The top of the range ACE MIPS version comes with a magnetic buckle, a removable Go Pro mount (available separately if you need) and, obviously, a MIPS liner. The non-ACE version has a standard clip buckle and is a three rather than five-shell design. The main significance of fewer shells is there is less contrast of the coloured and matt / polished panels on the helmet so they look a bit different from the ACE versions. Abus recognise that a lot of riders are looking for a helmet with MIPS but this bumps up the price point so the non-MIPS version is there as a more affordable option which maintains all the other structural features. There are a good few colour options; black, white, navy with yellow and green/turquoise; and it comes in medium (55-58cm) and large (58-61mm) sizes.
So what’s it like up close and when riding? The first noticeable thing about the MonTrailer is that it looks a bit different from most other helmets due to its rounder shape and fewer vents. From the reaction of various people it’s fair to say that it’s aesthetically Marmite. The white version I have reminds me of the Lego Good Cop Bad Cop.
The fullness of the cover it feels a bit different when you first put the helmet on, there’s just noticeably more of it, but once I got riding I didn’t give this a second thought. Like all helmets, the MIPS system takes up a bit of room so the MIPS and non-MIPS versions fit a bit differently which will make it worth trying the type and not just the size you’re thinking about buying.
On all models there’s a rear retention system with dial to tighten. The retention system isn’t anchored in the middle as many helmets which allows much better positioning to get a good fit round your occiput (the base of your skull). At first this caused me a few pony-tail related issues (not relevant for all readers I know) but once I got the feel for it, I could actually position it below my pony tail, rather than above it, which meant I could position the retention system better than in other helmets. The front and rear side straps come together at more of a square beneath your ear than the usual V and there’s a slider to adjust. I found this design much easier to position and didn’t have to keep fiddling to get the strap off my ear as can often happen. As just one strap continues under your chin there’s much less bulk here too which I liked. I was really impressed with the magnetic buckle too (found on the ACE version only). The sliding motion to release took a few goes to get used to but is really easy to operate. I imagine this will be brilliant in the winter with thick gloves and cold hands.
We rode on a pretty warm day and I didn’t find the helmet particularly hot as I thought I might. In truth we benefited from an uplift and had lots of stopping for journo chat and photos so I never really rode that hard. It will be interesting to see how things go on warmer, pedally days.
All in all, my first impressions of the MonTrailer were good. It has some impressive protective features, surely a priority for all helmets especially Enduro ones, and once adjusted, is stable and comfortable to wear. Looks-wise people are likely to be divided but that’s no bad thing.
The MonTrailer should be arriving with dealers in the next week or two. Unfortunately for you it won’t come with Italian trails and ice cream.
- Brand: Abus
- Product: MonTrailer ACE MIPS, MonTrailer MIPS and MonTrailer helmets
- Price: £149.99 MonTrailer ACE MIPS, £129.99 MonTrailer MIPS and (£109.99) MonTrailer
- From: ZyroFisher
Rachel’s travel and accommodation were paid for by Abus.