ABUS’ new StormChaser helmet is designed to be a premium model at a low price. Much like the brand’s AirBreaker and GameChanger models, it is manufactured in Italy to help ensure it is the best it possibly can be.
“We wanted to keep the Italian production and all the advantages that it brings,” says ABUS’ Roger Seal. “Working with our Italian production facility allowed us to make an endless number of minute adjustments, so we could really achieve the best helmet at this price.
“We wanted to hit a better value price point and reach more people, as our existing race helmets [AirBreaker and GameChanger] are both at the premium end of the price spectrum. They’re both amazing helmets which do slightly different jobs, and we were able to introduce some new technology. The StormChaser allows us to bring most of that technology to a lower price point and hopefully reach a bigger audience in doing so.”
The StormChaser is priced below the AirBreaker and GameChanger – but how else does it compare to other helmets on the market?
“There is a classic that has been in the market for some years, which has been very successful in the UK,” says Seal. “We continue to work with our athletes to bring a high performance, but well-rounded and complete range to market. Visually, the StormChaser is a very different helmet to the competition. While other brands are known for well-fitting helmets, we already achieve that with our top models, so we hope that having that great fit of our top end models and other features at a lower price point will allow us to reach a bigger audience.
“You’ve got quite a bit of space at the back to put a ponytail or long hair through, you’ve got the height adjustment, and one of my favourite features, from the GameChanger and the AirBreaker, is that you can vary the length of the helmet as well. The adjustment system has different points at the side and the front of the helmet where you can anchor it, so you’ve got about 15-20mm of adjustment in the length of the inside of the helmet. You’re not just using the wheel at the back to tighten the helmet down to get a snug fit.”
“You’ll see that the shape is very similar to the AirBreaker, in that it’s a very slim profile, making for a very sleek looking helmet,” adds brand manager John Harris. “It’s a nice fitting helmet and looks like it too. The version that we’re going to have in stock is version three of various prototypes. ABUS has been very hot on finding the shape to make sure it is a premium looking helmet as well as a premium fitting helmet. That’s why they chose the Italians to produce it – because they can have that very quick turnaround in terms of updates and changes.”
The helmet will also have custom colourways as well, something that can be done due to Italian manufacturing, Seal explains. “We can go down to 50 pieces across a range of sizes in Italy, and from the Far East that number is higher – 300 pieces per size. It does become possible for a retailer or a club to consider going down this customisation route and having a colourway which is unique to them gives them a very different appearance and look if you’re supporting your local club. It takes it to a whole new level if you add a helmet to that look.”
The StormChaser has been shown to some premium road dealers, and it fits perfectly in having a logical ‘good, better, best’ in terms of high-end road. “That’s exactly what this is achieving now,” Harris says. “It’s seen some good reaction so far, and I’m quite excited for when it does land.
“The StormChaser is the road helmet, there is also a gravel equivalent which we haven’t ranged in UK stock. The only difference is it comes with a peak. We didn’t range that as a UK model because you go on gravel rides now and 99% of those riders are riding a road helmet. These will still be available if required, but simply not from our UK warehouse.”
ABUS has also been the official helmet and security partner of the Movistar Team since the 2017 season, in a partnership that was extended further last year. In addition to brand strategy goals, which aim primarily at increasing international awareness, the cooperation has focused on product development.
Martin Böckelmann, the sponsorship manager at ABUS explains: “Whilst team Movistar has been instrumental in developing these helmets, they will continue to ride on the AirBreaker, GameChanger and GameChanger TT for the coming season. Some feedback we received was the weight and fit are extremely close to the AirBreaker!”