Assessment: The $200 ABUS CliffHanger MIPS MTB Helmet


ABUS will likely be 100 years previous come 2024; the family-owned German firm made its title in safety, manufacturing locks for buildings first, adopted by locks for securing bikes and bicycles. It’s solely since 1994 that ABUS has been within the enterprise of head safety, producing bicycle helmets first, adopted extra lately by the manufacturing of helmets for equestrian sports activities, too.

Whereas not absolutely complete, the model does supply a great vary of bicycle helmets throughout street, city and mountain biking sectors, with helmets for youngsters and toddlers in there, too. Whereas a few of ABUS’ high-end street helmets are made in Italy – just like the AirBreaker and GameChanger – all of their off-road fashions together with the lid reviewed herein are manufactured in Asia.

Right here’s our tackle the model’s top-level providing for path riders; the ABUS CliffHanger MIPS.

ABUS CliffHanger MIPS

When it comes to its protection, the CliffHanger is ABUS’ most complete open-face helmet. It’s aimed toward path and enduro riders who can’t convey themselves to put on a full face helmet, for no matter cause. It has a multi-shell in-mold development; which means, its three outer shells are bonded on to the EPS liner, the latter being the shock absorbing factor. Further structural reinforcement may be seen bracing throughout the vents on the entrance.

abus clifhanger mips review structural reinforcement front vents

Externally, the CliffHanger’s outer shell wraps the EPS completely giving it a premium feel and look. Including to that could be a three-position peak, a retention cradle with loads of vertical peak adjustment, a magnetic Fidlock buckle, and the so-called TriVider webbing spreader; ABUS’ fancy title for the dividers that convey collectively the 2 arms of the chin strap simply beneath the wearer’s ear lobe.

The CliffHanger conforms to EN1078:2012+A1:2012 necessities: the European customary set for bicycle helmet security. It has not but been submitted to Virginia Tech for impartial testing, nor have any of the model’s helmets, for that matter. There are two fashions to select from: a regular mannequin retails at £159.99, whereas the MIPS-equipped mannequin retails at £179.99. We evaluate the latter right here.

abus cliffhanger mips review trivider separator
The CliffHanger’s cradle has a gap to accomodate a ponytail

A rising variety of helmet producers supply an built-in crash detection machine that may be configured by way of an App to inform family and friends if the helmet suffers a blow whilst you’re out on a journey. ABUS is one such producer, providing the QUIN Sensor for this objective. Not solely does it notify your chosen emergency contact of a possible crash, it additionally sends them your GPS coordinates, a cool function which may show to be life-saving.

The CliffHanger MIPS is bought at £179.99 with out QUIN; a recess behind the shell can accommodate the sensor must you want to half with an extra £56.99 for the added peace of thoughts on solo rides. For a evaluate of the QUIN Sensor’s performance, take a look at Steve Fisher’s evaluate of the QUIN-equipped MoDrop helmet.

abus cliffhanger mips review trivider chin strap adjustment

Our Impressions of the ABUS CliffHanger MIPS

The ABUS CliffHanger MIPS is accessible in three sizes; S (51cm-55cm), M (54cm – 58cm) and L (57cm – 61cm). With a head circumference of 54cm, I opted for the dimensions small. On my Park Device scale, it weighs in at 333 grams – rather a lot lighter than the marketed 390 grams.

Placing the helmet on, it feels lots deep sufficient to supply good protection. My head being on the bigger finish of the spectrum for the dimensions small, it does really feel fairly slender, although not a lot as to be uncomfortable. These with a broader temple area could wish to contemplate up-sizing. That stated, if you happen to can, it’s all the time greatest to strive before you purchase.

abus cliffhanger mips review trivider chinstrap adjustment goggle compatibility smith squad

The CliffHanger’s chin strap may be adjusted each when it comes to its size, and its lateral positioning. The TriVider permits the wearer to feed a few of the strap by way of from both facet to get it to sit down precisely beneath the ear lobes, the place it’s supposed to be. It’s a little bit tedious to regulate, nevertheless it will get the job carried out. This design, for my part, is best than these dividers that clamp the straps into place – prior to now, I’ve discovered these to by chance pop open whereas using.

abus cliffhanger mips review peak positions
Credit score: Finlay Anderson

The height has three listed positions, and an honest quantity of pressure is required to maneuver it between them. So, the height doesn’t shift positions below the g-force skilled whereas using. Visibility is nice irrespective of the height place; the lower-most place isn’t so low that it occludes any view of the path forward, even on the steepest fall line trails.

In its top-most place, there may be loads of room to put googles or sun shades beneath. A ridge on the rear of the helmet does a great job of stopping a goggle strap from wandering up. Recesses beneath the height enable sun shades to be stowed securely.

The CliffHanger helmet works very well with my Smith Squad goggles; vents on the brow area encourage airflow on this space vulnerable to sweat accumulation.

abus cliffhanger mips review retention system tightening cradle

The retention system’s cradle cinches down properly, tightening from the rear. Regardless of being close to the highest finish of the dimensions scale for this one, I do have to cinch the cradle all the way down to its absolute tightest place with a view to really feel safe in it.

The cradle’s place may be adjusted vertically, too, over a 4.5 cm vary. It is a ratchet-style adjustment, whereby a tab slides by way of a notched mechanism to find out the space the cradle sits from the bottom of the helmet physique.

I’ve to say, this fashion of vertical adjustment isn’t one of the best, for my part. Whereas it typically permits for a wider vary of adjustment, and is faster and simpler to dial in match, it isn’t as safe as extra conventional mechanisms of vertical adjustment, reminiscent of that seen on the Fox Speedframe Professional, for instance.

On the CliffHanger, I discover the ratcheting-style mechanism gives up too little resistance. It’s too straightforward to by chance push it away from my most well-liked place, particularly when becoming, adjusting or eradicating googles, and even simply carrying the helmet about.

On more moderen rides, I’ve truly observed that it has clicked away from its authentic place over the course of a quick, tough descent – however solely by one or two clicks, which I deduce equates to lower than half a centimeter of change on the brow – not sufficient for me to contemplate it a security concern, as such. I merely discover myself readjusting it earlier than I drop into the following path.

abus cliffhanger mips review open face mtb helmet trail riding forest of dean

Whereas using, the ABUS CliffHanger is essentially unnoticeable in that it offers plentiful consolation and nice air flow, with six vents on the entrance, two on all sides, three on the highest and 4 on the rear. Contained in the helmet, I can see that the three front-most occasions truly lengthen all the best way to the exhaust vents on the rear, permitting for a steady movement of air from entrance to rear – one thing riders with rather a lot much less hair than I will likely be best-placed to understand.

abus cliffhanger mips review liner ventilation channels
The CliffHanger MIPS has a one-piece consolation liner, which is finally rather a lot tougher to misplace within the wash than a consolation liner composed of a number of particular person items

I’ll say, the MIPS liner is a little bit creaky so you’ll be able to hear it rubbing towards the EPS because it strikes throughout using. This isn’t distinctive to the ABUS CliffHanger; I’ve discovered most MIPS-equipped helmets exhibit this property.

fidlock buckle abus cliffhanger mips mtb helmet
How may I neglect? The CliffHanger MIPS additionally will get a magnetic Fidlock buckle closure on the chin strap


  • Good protection
  • Fantastically well-ventilated
  • Retention system is ponytail-compatible
  • Nice compatibility with goggles and sun shades
  • Light-weight


  • Over-priced
  • Vertical adjustment of cradle may supply safer listed positions

The ABUS Cliffhanger MIPS is an impressively light-weight helmet given how good the protection is. Additionally it is well-ventilated providing plentiful consolation for lengthy days within the saddle. Personally, I additionally suppose it has a delightful aesthetic. Nevertheless, it’s a little let down by its retention system adjustment.

General, I really feel it’s a bit over-priced, particularly when you think about the truth that comparable helmets such because the Fox Speedframe Professional, Bluegrass Rogue Core MIPS and Scott Stego Plus are all a good bit cheaper.