The motorcycle helmet is the single most important piece of gear, and arguable one of the greatest inventions to a motorcyclist next to the motorcycle. Over the last century helmet design has come an incredibly long way. The days of helmets made with rubber and cork are long gone and now replaced with a multitude of technology a rider can choose from to mitigate rotational force.
Helmets started in the early 1900's when Dr. Eric Gardner found he consistently saw head injuries related to motorcycle crashes. While they initially did not catch on with the average consumer, racers began wearing helmets and with this a huge drop in head related injuries followed. As the recognition of dangers associated with riding without a helmet started to catch on, Bell stepped in with a new design made to actually absorb impact with what we see still to this day in more simple motorcycle helmet designs. The classic shell, impact liner, and comfort liner combination thus began.
Today, the amount of technology a rider can choose from is eons away from what a rider had even just 20 years ago. With this rapid growth and acceleration new players have jumped in the game and shaken things up with innovative designs. Let's dive into these new designs and check out what growth of knowledge has brought us.
Bell Flex Liner
Available in both the off-road Moto 9 Flex and on-road Race Star Flex, Bell is leading the way with a flexible, segmented liner.
"Ever since the first Bell helmet, our ongoing mission has been to innovate and improve the science of protection, always striving to bring technologies to the table that set the benchmark for impact and energy management. Meet the Moto-9 Flex evolution of the fittest. A first-of-its-kind, three-layer impact liner utilizes multiple densities of material to more comprehensively disperse impact energy and works to reduce rotational energy transfer. Moto-9s flexible, segmented liner achieves an adaptive, more personalized fit for a wider variety of head shapes, and allows us to deliver superior ventilation throughout the helmet. The Moto-9 Flex is the most advanced helmet we have ever made, and is setting the standard for rider protection in motocross and off-road racing."
6D Helmets ODS
Similarly to Bell ODS, or Omni Directional Suspension, is offered in both an off-road and on road version. However what sets 6D apart is the availability of price ranges between the ATR-1 and improved ATR-2 design. This offers riders with a smaller budget the ability to still benefit from ODS technology in a less expensive ATR-1.
"6D's revolutionary patented Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS) embodies a fully active, in-helmet suspension and kinetic energy management system. The goal was simple; design a helmet that reduced energy transfer to the brain over a much broader range of energy demands, including LOW, MID, and HIGH-VELOCITY impacts for both LINEAR and ANGULAR ACCELERATIONS.
6D's suspended dual-liner assembly will displace and shear omni-directionally when subjected to impact. This capability provides significantly improved performance against both linear and angular accelerations. There is simply no other helmet technology that can provide these combined energy management benefits."
Fox Racing Fluid
New to 2019 with the release of an updated version of the already successful V3, Fox has gone with Fluid technology.
"Based on extensive scientific research, Fluid Inside is engineered to enhance your helmet's ability to protect your brain by mimicking Cerebral Spinal Fluid (CSF) - your body's natural protection.
The V3 incorporates a matrix of Fluid pods oriented around the head and attached to the helmet interior. By precisely decoupling or "floating" the helmet on the head, each Fluid pod matrix acts like CSF (Cerebral Spinal Fluid) to independently and simultaneously manage the linear and rotational forces acting on soft brain tissue."
Fly Racing Formula
Also new to the game with a brand new design is Fly Racing with the Formula Carbon helmet. The Formula features impact energy cells developed by RHEON. These cells help to maximize impacts at lower speeds, reducing forces to the brain. Fly's goal when developing this helmet was to consider real world impact scenarios to reduce force transmitted to the brain in a crash.
"12K carbon fiber shell - Produces an extremely lightweight shell with superior penetration resistance. Impact Energy Cells - Made by RHEON, the Impact Energy Cells maximize absorption of low speed linear and rotational impacts, reducing forces transmitted to the brain. Conhead EPS Technology-Provides a softer liner whereby the cones help manage or absorb an impact force more efficiently. Six critical zones have been fine tuned for a progressive response to low speed and high speed impacts. Expanded volume EPS-Strategic areas of the helmet have more impact absorbing EPS, more suspension between your head and the ground."
Thanks to the growth in technology we have seen great advancements like these to help keep us safe. We're excited to see each year what these biggest players in rider safety will bring to the table and hope to bring you the best information for an informed decision.