Abus released the StormChaser as a mid-level performance road helmet designed with versatility in mind, aiming it at road, crit and cyclo-cross racing. The helmet has since been raced at WorldTour level by the Movistar Team and released in myriad different colourways. We’ve been sampling the gravel-inspired version – with its earthy green tones – on- and off-road to see how it performs.
Design and aesthetics
Interestingly the StormChaser uses much of the tech that can be found on Abus’s premium AirBreaker helmet despite costing significantly less. That means you get an EPS shell reinforced with an internal structure that Abus calls ActiCage. The helmet is neatly in-moulded for added protection although this isn’t as comprehensive as we have seen on other similarly priced helmets such as the new Kask Mojito. The polycarbonate shell still covers the important areas and our test helmet is showing no signs of wear and tear.
The helmet itself doesn’t come with any specific aerodynamic features, although you do get Abus’s Forced Air Cooling system which uses seven intakes and 16 outlets, designed to utilise the Venturi effect causing cool air to be pulled over the head, further helped by internal channelling.
The FlowStraps are some of the simplest designs we have seen on a helmet. The straps don’t feature any adjustment around the ear, instead, they have a fold where the two sections split and attach to the anchor points in the helmet. Ear clearance is decent and while the strap did sit quite close the back of my ear there was little distraction when riding, as it sits close to the head and there are no plastic buckles or weight to cause flapping.
The Zoom-Ace retention system features a positive-click rear dial for securing the helmet and has three mounting point options above the temples to give 15mm of length adjustment, as well as plenty of vertical adjustment. The system is also ponytail-compatible for riders with long flowing locks.
Padding has been kept to a minimum, however, it’s well-positioned for comfort and to avoid impeding the ventilation. The padding is also a single piece, so it’s easy to wash. The retention works well with my head shape and the amount of vertical adjustment gives an extra level of fit refinement. There isn’t any MIPS or other rotational impact protection system in place, although at this price point these sort of additional safety features aren’t as common.
The simple straps and lack of MIPS mean overall weight is impressively light with my size medium test model coming in at 227g — again very similar to the AirBreaker — and noticeably lighter than many other more expensive helmets currently on the market.
With its obvious oval shape, I really didn’t think the StormChaser would suit my bulbous head, however, its proved comfortable even on long days out. While the helmet has a secure feeling fit, its low weight also provides comfort, as there is no feeling of additional mass moving about when riding off-road. The retention system is simple to adjust, even when wearing gloves and gives a good level of tightening per click. Despite the limited strap adjustment I never felt that they required any tweaking.
The Abus StormChaser has a very slimline look — for someone who is prone to the helmet-mushroom look I was very impressed at how neat it looks on my head. It also sits well out of my eye-line, too, unlike many other helmets I’ve tested recently. The helmet shape plays well with sunglasses and, despite having no specific grippers, the front vents really grab onto the arms of your sunnies for secure storage.
The Ventilation is decently airy although the StormChaser name was fitting for my Scottish test rides — the weather never warmed up enough to really put it to the test. I wouldn’t describe it as noticeably breezy but that’s not to say it won’t still perform on warmer days.
The StormChaser’s elongated aesthetic will better suit those with an oval-shaped head, though I still found it to be comfortable. It goes without saying that when shopping for a helmet, you should try before you buy to assure the best fit. The helmet feels very secure thanks to the adjustable retention and impressively low weight which avoids any rattling around even on rough trails. While the green complemented our forest-and-dirt testing backdrop, there are plenty of other colour options available. Overall, Abus has put together an interesting helmet that is a strong contender in the competitive mid-range performance helmet market.
- Temperature range: Autumn/Winter: 0-10 degrees
- Test duration: Two months
- Terrain: Road, gravel
Specifications: Abus StormChaser
- Price: £129.99 / $178.99
- Weight: 227g (actual medium), 220g (claimed)
- Rotational safety: No
- Retention: Abus
- Aero: No
- Sizes: S, M, L
- Colours: 10