The 6D name is likely familiar to those who follow motocross or supercross racing, with a number of top 250 and 450 riders choosing to wear a 6D helmet over the more established brands that have been around for many, many years due to its Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS
) technology that is said to better protect the head and brain against impacts. That same ODS technology is now being applied to their brand new ATB-1 Carbon mountain bike helmet that is only a few months away from being release to the public. Pricing is still being decided upon, but 6D founder Bob Weber readily admits that they are not trying to compete price-wise with any existing helmets already on the market, but rather just design and manufacture the safest full face that they possibly can. Regardless, it's a safe bet to assume that the ATB-1 Carbon will be one of the most expensive helmets out there when it becomes available, something that is due in large part to its much more complicated construction and the research behind it.
The ATB-1 Carbon is an entirely new helmet for 6D but it still features their ODS technology.
The helmet's ODS system is hidden from view underneath a carbon fiber shell that is different from the moto lid in that it features more vents and a different chin bar. The former is to allow for plenty of air flow despite the slower average speeds of a mountain bike, and that latter is to increase field of vision for the rider. The removable liner is also changed to suit mountain biker's needs, with a more breathable foam being used. The different EPS foam shells and other changes add up to a 150 gram weight loss compared to the moto helmet, with a total weight for the ATB-1 Carbon sitting at 1350 grams. That's a bit heavier than some options out there but remember that, much like cost, 6D is putting safety above all else.
The ODS system consists of rubber dampers between two EPS foam shells that allows them to move independently of each other.
It isn't just the obvious straight-on impacts that are said to present the most danger to racers, with angular acceleration - think impacts from a shallower angle - also playing a major role in causing serious head injuries. This is where the ODS system comes into play due to its ability to better isolate the head by separating the 6D helmet's inner and outer EPS shells with a number of very strategically placed rubber dampers, a system that essentially creates a sort of in-helmet suspension by allowing the inner and outer EPS foam shells to move independently of one another. The result is a system that can not only better deal with straight-on impacts, but is said to be able to also dissipate those low-angle collisions by allowing the two shells to shear in relation to each other.
6D also says that the specific hourglass shape of the rubber dampers and the inserts that they fit into on each side of the two shells produces a ''rapidly escalating spring rate under compressive load
'' that further helps the rider's cause, meaning that it isn't just a matter of putting any old bumpers in between the two shells.
This demo was handy for showing how the two shells can shear independently of each other.
There is another benefit to the two shell system, though, with the company saying that it allows air to pass between the shells and escape better than if it relied solely on channels in a single shell. Yes, there are still a number of traditional vents on the ATB-1 Carbon helmet, but the air gap between the shell is said to actually work to flush hot air out to be replaced with cooler air that is forced into the same gap.
The gap between the two EPS shells is also said to allow hot air to flow freely out of the helmet.