Commuter Style: the Abus Pedelec+

Commuter Style: the Abus Pedelec+

Wearing a helmet while running errands is a matter of some debate among riders I know. Some folks don’t want to be bothered if they aren’t on a group ride doing 28 mph. Some people don’t want to muss their hair. Some just don’t believe they will fall, so why bother? Some don’t want to get to the bank and look like Billy Blastoff.

I’ve got a measure of empathy for all of these positions. However.

Falls and crashes do happen. And they happen most often when some variable we can’t control rears its head. The right hook. The oil spill in the intersection. The off-leash dog. Hell, I almost crashed once just trying to avoid my kid who was weaving like he was an F1 driver trying to heat up his tires.

And then there’s the simple fact that when I go out on a bike, no matter which bike, I want to show my kids that it’s a good idea to wear a helmet. Given that their judgment is only marginally better than a sedated dog’s, I don’t want to try to teach them that sometimes it’s okay not to wear a helmet. I just don’t want to have that conversation before every ride.

So if you don’t think you’re likely to crash, but you want to show your kids that it’s smart to wear a helmet, what should that helmet do? Of course it will protect you in the event of a fall, but my best road helmets are also stylish (says the MAMIL), aerodynamic, and well-ventilated. Abus has an interesting response to that question.

The Abus Pedelec+ is a commuter helmet of a different feather. As feathers go, this one is less peacock than turkey buzzard. It’s all business.

The Pedelec+ has a short visor, a blinking lite, bug netting and a rain cover, all features that prove to be very useful.

The visor is too short to really provide much in the way of shade for your eyes, but what it does do is help shield your eyes from the wind, much the way a cycling cap protects your eyes from the rain. I’ve noticed this has been particularly helpful of late with all the floaty-floaty seeds and the pollen count of 60 billion. There’s netting in the front three vents of the helmet so that if you do ram a bee, it does not into your bonnet go, forthwith.

The blinking light in back features six LED lights and features three different modes from sequential, to all blinking to all solid. Simply press the light to switch modes or to turn it off. The battery is replaceable.

Below the blinking light is a funny little flap. Pop it open and out comes a rain cape for the helmet. Stretch it over the helmet and it wraps around the LED light, as well as the forward and top vents. Two small loops hook over posts on the underside of the helmet to keep the cover in place. Reflective dots on the side of the cover increase your visibility to anything with lights.

The chin strap features a novel magnetic clasp. Just get the two ends of the buckle close and they will snap into place. To open the clasp simply slide the lower half forward (toward your chin). Kinda cool.

The Pedelec+ comes in three colors and two sizes. Thanks to the occipital device in back it’s easy to adjust the helmet to your head. At $139.99 it may be one of the best deals in helmets not meant for the racing set.

Final thought: Less embarrassing in a grocery store than a screaming child.


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  1. Steve Courtright

    I know there are folks at ABUS that are seriously passionate about cycling, so I bet we are going to see more well-designed products from this company. This helmet clicks my commuter buttons, so it’s now on my father’s day list. Thx, Padraig.

  2. Kyle Jameson

    I don’t think anyone denies “crashes happen” – I think you’re missing the point of the argument by calling people who don’t wear helmets just lazy.

    There is some question as to how much helmets help in crashes, and also how common crashes are…versus the design of the city.

    Many of these questions come from cities like Amsterdam. There are some TED talks and research pieces by people like Bikesnob outlining the arguments.

    Whether you believe the arguments or not is fine but you should at least understand what the arguments are.

    1. Author

      I never called anyone lazy and I have read every argument out there. Some of them have some merit, while others depend on circumstances like the civility of cities like Ghent and Amsterdam to work. Others are little more than horse flop.

  3. si little

    as i only do endurance events and things like centuries, i find the skate boarders helmets practical, appropriate and economical…ymmv

  4. David

    While in Amsterdam last year my wife and I remarked to a Dutch friend of ours that we were surprised to see about a bazillion bike riders, but the only helmets that we saw all week were worn by a couple of guys in full kit on high end road bikes that were clearly heading out of town for a serious ride. This would certainly not be the case in the US (well, at least not here in Colorado). He thought about it for a moment and replied that he suspected the reason was that all those people driving the cars were most likely cyclists, too, and that is something that is certainly not the case in the US!

    1. Author

      It really helps that there are many fewer cars in city centers in Europe and what cars there are know to look for cyclists and are moving slower as well. The cyclists themselves are moving slower, too. It also helps that in Europe a driver assumes liability. If you hit a cyclist, it’s your fault. Rationally, it makes perfect sense.

  5. Winky

    I’m very pro-helmet and wear one very ride. I’m also very much anti helmet laws. The evidence is that they result in worse public health outcomes due to discouraging cycling.

    I’ve never understood the point of a rain cover. My head is water proof.

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