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Note that the front chinstrap angle is fixed while the rear strap is adjustable. This makes strap adjustment a snap and leaves the Fidlock buckle with only two pieces of material to thread instead of the traditional four.

The Abus brand is renowned for its bike locks that keep your whip safe while you’re away, and their designers are also creating products to keep your brains safe while you pedal. Their MonTrailer Ace MIPS half-shell helmet includes all of the bells and whistles that riders expect in a modern trail lid, with an aesthetic that wonders slightly astray from the herd.

The MonTrailer uses a familiar ratchet wheel to grip the back of your head, and ample padding to keep it cozy inside. Like its shell shape, the helmet’s chinstrap design is somewhat unique. The front strap that crosses the rider’s temple has a fixed angle and extends all the way through the magnetic Fidlock buckle. The length and angle of the rear strap that attaches behind the rider’s ear can be adjusted to dial in the fit. This not only simplifies the strap fitting procedure and eliminates the often messy intersection of nylon straps below the ear, but it also cuts the number of straps that have to thread through the Fidlock buckle to two, instead of the traditional four. This strappy-tech results in a chinstrap that is cleaner and easier to use, and offers a more precise overall fit.

The lid’s visor is translucent, which Abus claims “gives the wearer good all-round vision without having to take their eyes off the trail.” Like most half-shell helmet visors, the see-through plastic is too short to affect a rider’s field of vision. The visor’s translucent property might provide more aesthetic value than anything else.

On the functional front, the visor can be positioned in one of six different angles to shade your eyes, or to make space for goggle storage. At its highest point, the visor might obscure any light or camera that is attached to the included accessory mount, so riders may have to choose between sick video footage or goggle storage. Fortunately, most folks only film sections of trail where it also makes sense to wear their goggles. A depression along the backside of the shell will keep goggle straps from sliding about, with a metronome-shaped chunk of rubber for the strap to grip.

In addition to its MIPS insert, the MonTrailer Ace is packed with head-saving technology. According to Abus, “The shock-absorbing EPS helmet material, in combination with the five surrounding outer shells made of polycarbonate, and structural reinforcement by the ABUS ActiCage make the helmet safe and robust.” That’s a lot of technical layers, and as a result, the helmet weighs a fair bit. At 482 grams, it is 27 grams heavier than the half-shell portion of the size large MET Parachute MCR that I recently reviewed, and 130 grams bulkier than the medium Lazer Impala MIPS that Jeff tested this summer.

  • Price: Non-MIPS $149 (€134), ACE MIPS $300 CAD €199 (ACE MIPS version is not available in the US) find online
  • Weight 482g (size large tested)
  • MIPS equipped
  • 12 air vents
  • Fidlock strap closure
  • Multi-position visor provides space for google storage
  • Accessory mount included
  • Sizes: Medium (55-58cm), Large (58-61cm)
  • 6 colorway options
  • “Ponytail compatible,” according to Abus

Now to discuss the sixth (or more) sense of the MonTrailer Ace: the felt sense. On the trail, the MonTrailer feels substantial, like there is genuinely something protecting your noggin. The difference between this and some of my lighter helmets is akin to the difference between a road and MTB helmet. It feels comfortably robust. I didn’t find its weight problematic, as its über-comfortable fit negates most of the heft.

With five air inlets and seven outlets, the shell is noticeably warmer than similar helmets I have tested. For winter riding this is a welcome aspect but in the sweltering months of summer, the MonTrailer will likely grow a bit steamy. If you’re a heavy head-sweater, this may not be the ideal half-shell for you. Fortunately, the accessory mount doesn’t cover or block any of the air inlets and instead straps between two of the main rear vents.

For riders in search of a safety-first helmet with a slightly unique cut, the MonTrailer Ace MIPS is worth a look. The fit can be dialed in to work well for almost any skull shape, and the chin strap has one of the best designs I have seen.

Thanks to Abus for sending this helmet for review.

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