Abus maybe aren't a name we are so familiar with in mountain biking. In the lock world they're a big deal though, and have been handmaking them in Germany since 1924. At some point in those 90 odd years they diversified into helmets too and it was one of those helmets that brought us to their stall.
Their new Kranium helmet is utterly unique. It started life with an engineer watching a woodpecker. Seeing that bird beat its head repeatedly against a hard wood tree a question formed: how do they deal with constant impacts? Studying their skulls he discovered that they were made of a unique structure that absorbed the impacts. Trying to replicate it he developed the unique lattice of cardboard which forms the heart of the Kranium.
The unique cardboard lattice
A see-through shell
"A cardboard helmet?" We asked that question too when we first saw it. However, the first thing you have to remember is that this helmet is on sale, which means it has passed the European standards. Talking to Abus they explain that they believe this is one of the safest helmets out there. They say that in lab testing the lattice frame was three times more effective than an eps liner and retained its structure much better for subsequent hits. Abus don't just take a supermarket box and cut it into helmets either, the material is treated for both fire resistance and waterproofing. One very big advantage of cardboard is also the recyclability - cardboard is a sustainable source of material. There is a small eps liner, mainly to stop the cardboard from driving a pattern into your head if you do crash.
We are left with a lot of questions about this helmet, will it really work being the first one as we want to see this for ourselves. We also need to understand what kind of riding it is suitable for - would it stand up to a big hit downhilling, for instance? However, it looks to be a light, safe and environmentally-friendly helmet and we can't wait to find out more about it.
A light, strong lock suitable for mountain bikers?
Along more traditional lines for Abus is this Bordo Combo Light lock. Weighing in at just 650g this is a tough, light and easily portable lock which might be just the thing you are looking for, if you're not keen on leaving your bike unsecured. To test that the mounting for the carrier is suitable for mountain bikers, they got their test riders to spend a day throwing down 360s and backflips to make sure it stayed in place. That's our kind of testing. It is also available in two burlier numbers, depending on how sketchy your local area is.www.abus.com