The Abus Hyban is a sturdy helmet aimed at city riders dressed in regular street clothes. Tipping the scales at 380g, it's made to very exacting standards and proved surprisingly comfortable for spirited short-to-middle distance commuting.
The ABS hard shell is available in six subtle and attractive colours, and provides a decent platform for cameras and lights. Detailing is excellent throughout, although increasingly what I've come to expect as standard from this price point.
Round the back, Scotchlite is more subtle than many, and it has a large triangular three-mode LED light, which looks almost identical to those used on some other city helmets.
As tertiary illumination goes, this combination is extremely effective on account of its positioning rather than its retina-tickling output. A marked improvement on those integrated within thumbwheel adjusters. Constant is useful enough in dull, overcast afternoons, but flashing pricked other traffic's attention from 80-100m in most contexts, dropping to 50 in neon-saturated town centres.
At the front the detachable resin peak offers better protection from dust, wind and rain than its shallow profile would suggest, and came in quite handy during off-road excursions. Protection from intense winter sunlight couldn't match porch-like mountain bike variants.
The 18 large vents follow the inlet/outlet principle, gulping in surprising amounts of cooling airflow while channelling rider-generated heat out on slower sections. Comfort is impressive, the vents keeping pace with my efforts, scooping a consistent cooling breeze through without inducing painful 'ice cream' headaches on bitterly cold descents. Wind noise was minimal too, so didn't impair conversation on social outings.
The helmet's limitations became apparent beyond 20 miles at a consistent 18mph – arguably faster and further than its target audience is likely to travel – but it confirmed my suspicions that it wouldn't make easy transition to weekend touring.
Generous bug netting should bar entry to bees, wasps and other unwelcome visitors, and I was surprised to remain relatively dry during hour-long commutes in horizontal rain. Thankfully, the larger profile was still very accommodating of Gore-Tex helmet covers, which I find more comfortable than cotton cap standbys.
The helmet is low maintenance for the most part – once-overs with a damp cloth dismissed organic spatter effortlessly and the pads are machine washable.
Despite sitting lower on the head than regular road and trail designs, it doesn't foul rucksacks and messenger bags when you're glancing over your shoulder. That said, those with long hair should note that pony tails can catch if not worn lower and fed carefully through the cradle.
Minor adjustments are a cinch in gloved hands, and the tactile chin-strap sleeve adds further refinement.
Ultimately, the Hyban meets its city/utility design brief very well. It boils down to the old horses for courses gambit. True, there are better options if you want a lid that's light and airy enough for weekend and longer haul touring, but there are a growing number of people who don't want or need this level of performance.
Good looking and surprisingly refined commuter/utility helmet but additional weight is noticeable over longer distances
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Abus Hyban helmet
Size tested: S-M 52-58cm, Green
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Abus says: "The Hyban is the ideal helmet for commuters but also perfectly suited for MTB or BMX riders. This stylish helmet features ABS hard cover technology and ZOOM precise adjustment featuring a retention system made of robust yet lightweight, flexible plastic for safety and a comfortable fit.
"The Hyban also features a large, integrated LED rear light with 180 degree visibility for increased rider safety. 13 air inlets and 5 outlets ensure optimal ventilation.
"The interior padding is removable and washable for maximum comfort and the soft-touch straps are easy to adjust. The visor clips on and off easily and quickly for rider preference.
"To celebrate the introduction of the NEW Bordo Centium lock ABUS created a special edition Hyban helmet using the best materials and a unique chrome finish. The Hyban Centium helmet features a leather peak and chin strap with the added convenience of the fidlock magnetic bracket, while the integrated rear light has a dark tinted cover."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
* ABS hard cover technology
* Zoom Evo Easy - precise adjustment system with light and compact wheel
* Size adjustment via half ring made of robust and flexible plastic for ideal stability and adaptability
* Big, highly positioned and integrated LED rear light with 180° visibility
* 13 air inlets and 5 outlets ensure optimal ventilation for this kind of helmet
* Removable and washable padding with highest wearing comfort
* Soft touch straps easy to adjust for practical sliders
Surprisingly good given the design brief and compared with similarly well-equipped competition.
Surprisingly cool and airy.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Overall, I've been pleasantly surprised by the standards of comfort and ventilation, even on longer commutes. The softer profile looks good when riding in street clothes and it feels bombproof. However, that additional weight becomes apparent past 20 miles or so – longer than the intended audience are likely to ride perhaps, but it could be a deal-breaker for those wanting a lid comfortable enough for occasional touring.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Good quality materials, nice detailing and reasonable airflow.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Well worth a look If they wanted a bullet-proof lid for commuting and utility riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rough stuff tourer based around 4130 Univega mountain bike frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)