The Airdrop joins the Cliffhanger as one of ABUS's most recent off-road releases. It comes with everything expected of a full-face helmet with a few other very neat features. It’s comfortable and protective but what makes it one of the best full-face MTB helmets is its huge airflow. Its Mips cradle is creaky, however, and I’d expect a bit more visor adjustment.
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ABUS Airdrop MIPS - Technical details
The ABUS Airdrop full-face helmet is aimed towards enduro racers, downhillers, and e-bikers. It's been loaded with useful tech and design cues. First and foremost, it employs Mips rotational impact protection but also gets soft panels around its rim to soften the blow in case of impact against collarbones.
It uses an in-mould construction that combines a durable outer shell and the hat’s EPS foam. Other protection features include the breakaway visor bolts and its cool QUIN readiness. QUIN is ABUS’s very own crash detection sensor much like ANGI on Specialized helmets and Tocsen. On this particular helmet, it’s not included but there’s a slot at the back for retrofitting. A QUIN sensor can be picked up for an additional £60.
ABUS has put a lot of work into the Airdrop’s ventilation, adorning the lid with 11 inlets and six outlets complete with channels cut into the EPS to help guide a breeze around the head. But ABUS has gone so far as to design what’s dubbed as ASC, or Ambient Sound Channels.
Any regular full-face user will know that design can negatively affect hearing. ASC is basically two holes placed just above the ear complete with indents in the EPS to create space around the ear for improved auditory perception.
Finishing off the Airdrop is the Zoom Ace FF adjustment system and there’s a double D-ring buckle system with a wider-than-usual strap for comfort. The cheek pads are removable and breathable.
It’s claimed to weigh 915g but I’ve weighed it at 963g, which is a considerable difference.
ABUS Airdrop MIPS - Performance
Before putting the Airdrop through its paces, I was fortunate to be invited to the UK launch of the helmet which allowed me to try a couple of sizes. Usually, with my 58cm diameter noggin, I happily wear a medium helmet, but then I won't usually need to wind the adjuster in too much.
On the Airdrop, I felt the need to size up and go for a large. The medium felt just a little to small and close for comfort. The large, while definitely a bigger shell, felt a lot more comfortable. If, like me, you sit at the larger end of a medium helmet’s spectrum, consider sizing up for the best comfort.
In use, it’s obvious that there’s a lot of space between the cradle and adjustment system and the EPS. While this means that the helmet’s large shell might look a little ‘bobble heady’ this aids hearing but notably, it sucks in a ridiculous amount of air.
If anything, the level of airflow that the Airdrop engulfs and dumps out that back is incredibly impressive, if not class-leading. In fact, it puts a few open-face helmets to shame in this area. Considering that this isn’t touted as a lightweight enduro-spec full facer, ABUS’s airflow efforts look even more successful.
The same goes for the ASC design. There’s very little difference in hearing ability between a half shell and the Airdrop. While a helmet's auditory levels aren’t a make-or-break aspect of a full-face helmet for me personally, ASC is an effective design addition that display’s the brand's attention to detail.
It’s comfortable, too, even over longer distances. I wouldn’t say that the helmet’s comfort is Smith Mainline level but I’ve been happy pedaling over longer distances. However, the Airdrop is better suited for rounder heads as I’ve found a couple of pressure points at the front and rear of my more oval-shaped head. Though with that in mind, the cheek pads are plenty soft enough and the wider-than-usual chinstrap aids the cause.
Niggles are very few here but there are a couple. The Mips cradle is super creaky and has not shown any signs of quieting down. If you’re a fan of a silent bike, hearing nothing but your freehub and tyres biting into the trail, the Airdrop could get pretty annoying. Though, this could just be an issue with this particular helmet.
There’s also not an awful lot of visor adjustment. Those with an enduro focus can’t stow goggles beneath the visor but this is the most minor of issues as there are plenty of other ways to store goggles.
ABUS Airdrop MIPS - Verdict
At the time of review, the ABUS Airdrop is priced at £260, and, while at the mid to high end of full-face helmet pricing, it’s competitive. In terms of rival options, there’s the Troy Lee Designs Stage Mips which is an excellent enduro-focused helmet but that’ll set you back £300.
The Airdrop is £15 cheaper than the excellent Smith Mainline, too. However, the Mainline is more comfortable and a touch lighter. It doesn’t pack quite the lever of airflow though.
If you’re looking for maximum airflow from a full-face helmet, the ABUS Airdrop ticks a lot of boxes. It’s comfortable, incredibly breathable, and excellently showcases ABUS’s attention to detail. You may have to size up however and put up with a creaky Mips cradle.