Unique looks set the Montrailer apart from the crowd
The super comfortable and secure Abus Montrailer ACE MIPS helmet is the cherry on the top of the German security specialist’s off-road helmet line-up.
Better known for its comprehensive range of locks and all things bike security, Abus has been quietly producing a full portfolio of cycle helmets for quite some time. Abus helmets might not have the same kudos as a Giro or a Troy Lee but what they do have is a solid grounding in good old fashioned safety and security. And after all, why do we wear helmets in the first place?
Abus Montrailer Ace MIPS helmet review
Montrailer is the umbrella name given to three top flight models, all of which utilise the same moulding and basic structure; just with a few differences in materials and technology. The ACE MIPS is highest specced helmet, featuring as is implied a full MIPS safety liner. Intended to reduce any rotational impacts on the head in the event of a crash, MIPS is becoming a standard used by many helmet manufacturers. It also features larger vents than the base version. This is made possible thanks to a reinforced internal skeleton, allowing the Ace to get away with less polystyrene without compromising safety.
Let’s get one thing straight about the Montrailer. It has a very ‘distinct’ look, unlike many other enduro or trail helmets. With its cut away side panels and semi-translucent peak it looks like the sort of helmet a Stormtrooper would wear on a team building MTB break with its squad. I personally love the look when compared to the generic pisspot or beefed up XC lid look but it is certain to divide opinion.
But what is most important for a helmet is how it performs on a ride. And in this respect the Montrailer delivers on almost every front. The X-Static pad placement covers all possible pressure zones and combines with Abus’ proprietary retention system to hold the helmet limpet-like to your head. Another neat feature of the retention system is it uses a single flexible mounting point, allowing you to place the unit exactly in the most comfortable position no matter your cranial topography (head shape to you and me). Unlike many other helmets that employ the MIPS liner, the Montrailer’s shell doesn’t seem to wobble too independently either.
The straps are both excellent and frustrating in equal measures. Excellent in terms of the neat adjustment around the ear/jaw area and quick and easy magnetic clip. Frustrating in terms of the length of the strap on the S/M size.
Abus has fallen into the trap of expecting rider’s with smaller head circumferences to have a smaller head overall. And considering the average adult head circumference is 57cm for men, a size covered by the S/M helmet, this is a little odd. For myself (Yes, I have a small head circumference!) and I’m sure other riders who have a normal ‘adult’ size face, I have to run the chin strap at its maximum length to prevent it from strangling me. This also leaves zero leeway to run it a little looser, which isn’t great. I’m sure it doesn’t cost any more to add a little length to the strap, you could cut it down if needed.
Ventilation is on a par if not a bit better than many enduro helmets on the market but it is noticeably more effective at higher speeds. Climbing in the heat and it offers no discernible advantage over other helmets in the category. The Montrailer is also not the lightest enduro helmet either. Abus claim a weight of 370 grams for the S/M but on our Park Tools scales it actually came out at 445 grams. We don’t mind a few grams difference but a whole seventy five grams is a big difference. This equates to the Montrailer being the sort of helmet that doesn’t tend to ‘disappear’ when it’s on. Fortunately the comfort and security are of a level that you can forgive Abus for it’s insistence on overly building its helmets.
The Montrailer isn’t lacking in features. The unusual semi-transparent peak has six positions, allowing goggles to be stored underneath if you so wish. If you are a goggle user then the rear vents also feature a rubberised gripper to keep them in place over the burliest of trails. There’s also a detachable action cam/light bracket included in the box that neatly clicks into place at the top of the helmet. This is also a breakaway unit so will not contribute to any injuries that might be incurred during a crash.
If you want a super comfortable and secure helmet for enduro and trail riding then you won't go far wrong with the Abus Montrailer Ace MIPS. It's looks are likely to divide opinion and there are lighter helmets in the category but it performs its tasks without fuss.