CLIFFHANGER & AIRDROP
Words & Photos by Drew Rohde
Video by Brian Niles/Treeline Cinematic
Founded in Germany back in 1924, the family-operated ABUS company has thrived by making security and safety products from home security offerings to motorcycle locks and now, bike helmets. Today we will be showcasing the new ABUS CliffHanger and AirDrop MTB helmets that we got in for review. The ABUS AirDrop is their brand-new full-face bike helmet aimed at enduro, bike park and eMTB riders. The The CliffHanger is the brand’s premium trail helmet for mountain bikers looking at a well-ventilated and comfortable helmet with lots of safety tech packed inside.
THE DETAILS | ABUS CLIFFHANGER
ABUS designed the CliffHanger MTB helmet to offer a safe and feature rich experience for riders. The CliffHanger is built with what ABUS refers to as a skeletonized internal structure. Inside the helmet sits their Acti-Cage reinforcement system, which adds structure and support to the EPS foam. This system is designed to increase the effectiveness of the EPS foam’s protective nature, so ABUS was able to use less material and increase the number of vents, something they wanted to achieve on their new flagship mountain bike helmet.
The CliffHanger features 14 vents, a widely adjustable visor and a weight of just over 402 grams, making it comparable to the Fox Speedframe Pro and a bit lighter than the TLD A3.
Fitment on the CliffHanger is on the thinner side, with a more ovalized shape compared to rounder helmets. The helmet is adjustable via the Zoom-Ace, BOA-style fitment system, which can also be adjusted up or down on a ratcheting track to put the dial in a comfortable position behind the head. ABUS uses a FidLock magnetic closure system on the chin strap that is very easy and ergonomic to use.
The CliffHanger features MIPS rotational impact protection technology and is also compatible with QUIN crash detectors if you’d like to upgrade your lid. For those unfamiliar, Quin chips sit inside the helmet and communicate to the Quin application. There are five sensors that evaluate data during use and can detect crash or impact situations, which can then transmit the data via Bluetooth 5.0 to your paired device. It can also notify those of an emergency situation if you are unresponsive thanks to SOS notifications and provide live GPS tracking so someone will always know where you are.
Additional features include a nice exit port for ponytail wearers, which female riders and metalheads may appreciate. ABUS also designed the CliffHanger to work well with goggles as well as neat integration for sunglasses.
THE DETAILS | ABUS airdrop
After years of R&D, the ABUS AirDrop helmet is the brand’s first full face helmet. Designed for more aggressive riders or those who want that added bit of facial protection, the AirDrop boasts many of the same features found on the CliffHanger, but with a more robust frame. ABUS builds the AirDrop using in-mold construction with the ActiCage system beings wrapped in EPS foam. Also like the CliffHanger, ABUS adds MIPS technology to the AirDrop and make it Quin-sensor compatible for those who’d like to upgrade.
Being that this is a pedal-friendly full face, comfort is important and ABUS decided to give the AirDrop easy-adjust fitment via their Zoom-Ace FF retention system, which is similar to a BOA-style closure. Unlike the CliffHanger, it does not adjust up or down on a track, but only adjusts the snugness of the helmet. ABUS does offer two thicknesses of cheek pads, which can also help dial in the fit.
The AirDrop sits in the slightly more aggressive full face category in our opinion, so ventilation isn’t on par with the likes of the Kali Invader helmet, however it’s one we’d much rather take into the double black diamond downhills. That said, this helmet does not have a DH certification, which does show us that it’s more meant for the enduro, eMTB and aggressive mountain biker who wants extra protection without DH helmet weight or heat.
Our size medium ABUS AirDrop weighs 800g, which is lighter than the burly Leatt MTB 4.0 and Fox ProFrame RS, but heavier than the iXS Trigger FF.
THE WOLF’S FIRST IMPRESSIONS
So far, we’ve got a few rides in both of these helmets and have enjoyed them for the most part. The CliffHanger is a very comfortable and cool-looking helmet, although potential customers should know it has a narrower shape. It’s a bit more egg-shaped than round, so we’d suggest trying one on or keeping the receipt handy if you order one directly. Luckily the helmet fit both of our testers well, with one saying it was likely the best, most secure-fitting trail helmet he’s tried on. The Cliff-Hanger has a very deep shell, so it feels like your head really gets up inside the helmet. We’re excited to put more time in this helmet for our long-term review.
Moving to the AirDrop, the helmet overall is very good in many ways, however we’ve had a comfort issue with the Zoom-Ace adjuster knob causing some discomfort on the back of one of our rider’s head. We’ll work with ABUS on a remedy for that in our long term review, but outside of that issue, which will not affect everyone, it has been an awesome helmet so far. We hope to get the comfort issue sorted and will report back.
For more information, visit Abus.com
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