Burning Question: What's Next for Mountain Bike Helmet Safety?

Feb 15, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  



Mountain bike helmets have evolved over the years, morphing from what looked like styrofoam bowling balls to the comfortable and well-ventilated options that exist today, many of them equipped with features that are claimed to reduce the amount of rotational force that reaches the brain during a crash. There's still plenty of room for improvement, though, and a significant amount of research and development is currently underway in order to figure out what more can be done to keep riders' heads as safe as possible.

What will the helmets of the future look like? Will they all have electronic sensors to determine when a crash occurs? It there a new material that can absorb impacts better than the EPS and EPP foams that currently prevail? In order gain more insight, I asked several of the key players in the helmet world what their thoughts were on the future of helmet safety.



What's next for mountain bike helmet safety? Now that technologies that are designed to reduce rotational impacts have become commonplace in higher end helmets, what comes next? Do we need more stringent standards? Are there any materials in the pipeline that could improve the level of impact protection?


Enduro full face ridden and rated


Dr. Chris Leatt - Founder, Leatt Corporation

bigquotesWe are constantly evaluating different technologies that help reduce rotational energy (angular velocity) and rotational forces (from angular acceleration) during impacts. The “best practices” test methodology on this is still a work in progress and there is a healthy debate in this regard within the helmet manufacturing and homologation community. We believe that the test standards should be revised to include rotational type testing, as well as other test methods, that would help evaluate the helmet’s ability to mitigate the chance of concussion or serious head / brain injuries. In this regard Leatt’s Turbine technology not only mitigates rotational acceleration, but also low velocity linear (non-rotational) acceleration that has been shown, if repeated, to have cumulative effects on the frequency and severity of concussion and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), as has recently become evident in American football. This applies across our product and price range.

From a homologation standpoint, The Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) is leading the way with their new FIM Helmet Certification Program (FHCP). There are also several other working groups, linked to regulating bodies and organizations (involved with helmet test standards), that are actively discussing the effects of rotational impacts and ways to incorporate them into existing helmet test standards and develop new ones.

At Leatt we are constantly innovating and looking at new ways; be it new materials, novel application of existing materials or advanced designs, to improve the impact protection levels for all helmets in our product line. Leatt has the latest FIM spec test rig and the ability to test our theories and prototypes for reduction of low and high speed linear and rotational acceleration.





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Peter Halldin - Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer, MIPS

bigquotesAs one of the founders of the MIPS company, I have been trying to understand how the brain works and how we best can prevent injuries to the head and the brain since 1996. The work since then has been dealing with a lot of different helmet related research questions for each specific helmet segments. When it comes to MTB helmets and the accident situation, there are no reports on how a typical MTB accident occurs. The only thing we know of today is that you can fall onto a number of different objects like sharp stones, branches to softer gravel or clay.

So, how can we make helmets safer?

I think the answer is to create test standards where we challenge the helmet the most in the test lab before it ends up on a rider in the forest. The helmet standards used today are developed for road bike helmets with the knowledge that the helmet organisations had 20-­‐30 years ago. Today we know more about the head and the reason for brain injuries like concussion. We know that most brain injuries are caused by the rotational part in the impact. The helmets today are good but are only optimized to reduce the risk for a skull fracture. We should of course keep the level of safety that we have in our helmets today but also add a test for rotation.

There are different concepts on the market that are designed to reduce the risk for rotational head injuries. MIPS is one example, and has been developed since 1996. In the MIPS in-­house test lab, we test the helmet for a 45-degree impact to a hard surface. This could mimic falling on a smooth rock in the forest. We measure the linear and rotational acceleration over time and make sure that the energy is reduced in the experimental head. For a future test method developed for MTB helmet I propose to keep the test method that we have today but to complement with a 45-degree impact surface.

Another important aspect is the test line on the helmet. MTH helmets do often cover a larger portion of the head compared to a conventional bike helmet. This is good but the test line should be lowered in future test standards. Another feature to improve safety is to equip the helmet with sensors that can alarm when an accident has occurred. There are a couple of interesting systems that will trigger in an impact situation and through Bluetooth and a mobile phone alert a relative or a rescue team.





Enduro full face ridden and rated

Dave Ahumada - MTB Global Marketing Manager & Chris Blum - MTB Global Category Manager, Fox

bigquotesAt Fox we are continuing to focus on multiple directions for helmet safety. Being part of an organization driven by our motocross division we have multiple decades of experience and knowledge in both MX and MTB helmets we use as a foundation for future projects. This experience has allowed us close working relationships with some of the leading helmet and material manufacturers in the world which allow us a unique point of view on the dirt focused two-wheeled markets. These relationships have yielded multiple innovations in our helmet design process which have elevated our performance in the category. Moving forward we plan to continue to leverage these partnerships while we seek out new processes which will allow us to continue to improve the performance and safety for our mountain bike consumers.

A particular point of focus will be to continue to evaluate and refine the rotational force management applications we use in our helmets. We are working to better understand how rotational forces can be measured to ensure our products are performing at the highest levels. Some great work is being done in the areas of testing in projects such as the recent Virginia Tech helmet ratings program. This type of information is crucial to our ability to increase the performance and safety of our products in future seasons.

Additional opportunities we are interested in is how technology can improve the riding experience, both from a safety as well as an experience standpoint. What would a “smart” helmet look like? What additional functional attributes could be created or improved by collecting data through integrated technology in helmet systems? The technological enhancements in other industries such as medical, electronics and manufacturing are creating innovations at a dizzying pace which just a decade ago were thought impossible. (e.g.: Folding, stretchable mobile phones are only a few years away…) Could we create a liner system controlled by an accelerometer which changes density in a nanosecond based on the data received during a crash? Thereby shifting the optimal amount of impact resistance to when and where it is most needed? While this type of technology may be far off in current terms, we believe this type of thinking and exploring will drive tangible innovation in the near future. We’re excited about the possibilities.




Inside POC


Oscar Huss - Director of Product Development, POC

bigquotesHelmet design and materials have rapidly evolved over the last few decades. Safety remains the prime issue and should be the starting point for all helmet development plans, but it’s fair to say that discipline specific designs, weight, ventilation, fit, etc... are increasingly important considerations.

What we also see is that as our ability to understand the brain and impact trauma evolves, through enhanced medical techniques or clinical surveillance, the effect of a head injury various significantly from one person to another, i.e. a rider hitting his/her head at various forces will result in wildly different effects and consequences. This understanding shows us that we need smarter helmets that can do much more than manage a linear and oblique impact only, but can equally talk or work for you before and after you have had an impact. We have already introduced helmets with digital integration and the future will certainly be more in line with that, whilst being focused on a more personalized protection system so the user will be able to better understand the consequences of a fall to them.

We will certainly see materials change significantly as new technologies come forward. Helmets have used many advanced materials, e.g. it’s not uncommon to now see helmets with carbon, aramid, m-forge, dual density liners, etc..., but as new techniques and materials come through we are likely to see changes to tried and tested materials, especially liners, that have underpinned helmets for many years. On top of that sustainability is a key factor in all our future development work, to ensure helmets have a prolonged shelf life and that they can be re-used or recycled once they are retired.





The Dome


Eric Richter - Brand Manager, Giro

bigquotesWhen we look ahead, there are three things that will continue to have the greatest influence on the future of head protection: Standards, Technologies, and Choices.

Helmet standards will continue to evolve as understanding of brain injury advances and as rider needs change and diversify. Giro has a long history of working with standards organizations and we will continue to be involved where we can to help quantify rider needs and advocate for relevant changes. New technologies will continue to be evaluated and existing ones refined, two paths we are constantly exploring in our in-house test lab. For example, the lab allows us to develop new solutions like MIPS Spherical that can enhance protective capability and comfort, and to integrate MIPS in less-expensive helmets so that more riders have access to the benefits of the technology.

Providing riders more choices is a core mission at Giro because everyone wants to be able to choose a helmet that fits their style and their needs – whether that’s a progressive design driven by a really specific need like the Switchblade, or a more timeless design like the Chronicle. As a leader in head protection, we will always be looking at how riders push our products, and looking for opportunities to make helmets that help them get the most out of every ride.





Troy Lee Designs Stage Helmet Review


Craig “Stikman” Glaspell - Global Category Director - Bike, Troy Lee Designs

bigquotesSo, this is something we come to work every day prioritizing how to elevate protection of our heads. A lot of this results in experiments or ideas that seem so batshit crazy or futuristic that even getting the idea off the ground seems futile, but we try it, sometimes it fails, sometimes it results in great results - one of those implementations was the merging of EPP and EPS layers that we did in our A2 trail helmets. It started as a rogue experiment, and after numerous prototypes and placements of the layers the High Speed (EPS) and Low Speed (EPP) energy management results were remarkable and blew away the competition in the lab. That is something only we offer and is patent pending, but like I said, born out of experimentation.

Futuristic stuff we are prototyping now is showing incredible test results in helmets, impeccable fit and comfort, but is extremely expensive currently and scalability at this moment isn’t optimal, but when it comes to protecting our heads, it is something that Troy is here every day pushing us to discover. We are super lucky that through Troy’s relationships in, and more importantly outside of the bike/moto industry, is part of our strengths, he has access to brands and people that have more access to R&D than we have-something we are thankful for.

You have to keep weights low while having tremendous energy management qualities at an affordable price, I’d say that’s the daily mission; well, and it should look badass and born in artistic creativity too!


Specialized


Vernon Felton - Global Mountain Bike Marketing Manager, Specialized Bicycles

bigquotesHelmets, historically, had one basic function: keep your skull intact. That was true whether you were a knight on a battlefield or a driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans or a rider dropping into a dicey line on the North Shore. End result? Today’s helmets do a very good job of keeping skulls in one piece. As the medical world began, quite recently, to grasp just how big a problem concussions can be, helmet manufacturers responded by create technologies, such as MIPS, that are designed to reduce the rotational forces strongly associated with concussions. You’ll see technologies like MIPS continue to proliferate and evolve.

The next step forward? Smart helmets that detect when you’ve experienced potentially dangerous forces and which then alert people who can bring you help. We recently launched our line of helmets equipped with ANGi—a sensor connected to our Ride app that turns your helmet into a crash detector, safety beacon, and ride tracker.

If that sounds like an advertising slogan, we’ll just boil it down to the facts: We’re taking crash-detection technology (accelerometers and gyroscopes) and communication technology (your smart phone and an app) and pairing those things with helmet technology, so that your helmet not only reduces your risk of injury, but also reduces the amount of time between you crashing and you actually getting medical care.

Obviously, we’re not the only company thinking of ways to creatively combine emerging technologies. You’ll see more of it in the future.





Maya 2.0 amp Alpine detail


Brad Waldron - CEO/Lead Engineer, Kali Protectives


bigquotesSafety is our number one goal. We have yet to stall on a technology story because it sells, or a unique advantage given to us in the market… we just continue to make what we believe is the safest helmet. Period. So, when someone asks what’s next in helmet safety following MIPS and technologies focused on rotation, we believe what’s next for the industry is something we’ve had since 2012. Making the helmet softer the closer you get to your head. Implementing what we call, a Low-Density-Layer (LDL) which accounts for both rotational AND low-g impacts.

Research is moving so fast that I’m not sure we could come to a new “standard” that would even remain relevant long enough for it to be of any good. At Kali, we build to a standard that is ever changing based on the technologies available at that point in time. If I’m aware of something better to use but am not using it, then to me I’ve failed as an engineer. That’s my standard. And if we’re just talking testing… test labs have biases and technicians have biases, even if not intentionally. But there are different set-ups and equipment for testing and each test has baked-in biases. Yet, we are learning so much more now thanks to people like Halldin, von Holst, Plant, Morgan, and others that devote themselves to the study of brain trauma and practice of testing.

There are always new materials passing by my desk that have the potential to improve the level of impact protection. I feel strongly that changing materials and processes to be constantly up-to-date is vital. Whatever is the best and safest possible solution, that is the solution I will test and work into our helmets. I believe wholeheartedly that our LDL, Composite Fusion and Nano Fusion technologies are the very best and safest technologies that we can offer and using the safest materials we have available. However, if I prove-out a new and better technology/material tomorrow, you can bet your ass you’ll see it worked into our line.






216 Comments

  • + 78
 Does it hurt Pinkbike staff as much as the readers to hear Vernon spouting corporate BS after all his time in the saddle being one of us? Damn boy...
  • + 12
 I was thinking, “ah, so that’s where he went!”
Probably doing better than ever, if you’re using compensation as an indicator of how life is going. Good for him.
  • + 12
 When exactly was he a snitch digging up skeletons or putting bullshitters against the wall? Come on... he went to Sram to talk about Boost, and came back repeating the same BS they do. Like that Boost allows for shorter chainstays. Yeah 3mm shorter and who needs chainstays on a MTB to be shorter than 430 in the first place. An example.
  • + 25
 ONE OF US!

ONE OF US!


Whip
  • + 7
 GOOBLE GOBBLE! GOOBLE GOBBLE! ONE OF US!
  • - 7
flag plyawn (Feb 15, 2019 at 14:30) (Below Threshold)
 No kidding. I'm no expert, but can you explain to me how MIPS prevents concussions? It's debatable enough if MIPS actually prevents or reduces the rotational forces that could lead to a broken neck (I have hair, don't glue my helmet to my skull) but what possible role could it play in reducing impacts between your brain and skull, which is a pure velocity issue.

Vernon used to be one of the straightest talkers in the community - do you think he looks into the mirror and calls himself out on this drivel?
  • + 16
 @plyawn: Its not about velocity, its about deceleration which all independent tests show MIPS helps reduce. You talk about drivel and yet spout ignorance. Good job.
  • - 1
 He sold his soul
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: all independent tests. All of them. Like pretty much 2 or 3? One of which says “who the fk knows”?
  • + 1
 @scott-townes: Unfortunately the reaserch on MIPS is far from conclusive. Only tests done according to the MIPS protocol confirm their claims and not everybody agrees that it is a good representation of real world impacts, e.g. the chinstrap is tight, headform and anvil are high friction and the headform is not connected to any neck.
  • + 2
 If by "one of us" you mean someone who wants to ride bikes AND make a living, possibly even combining the two, then he is very much one of us. Unless you're something different?
  • + 0
 @Triber66: Vernon was the only author on PB that I truly didn't like and I don't miss him at all. For me it seems "right" that he's with that company - I think that they suit nicely :>

I was way more shocked when RC wrote that he can't live without electronic suspension - definitely that was the end some era for me.
  • + 15
 The shells of new football helmets are soft, not rigid. If you take out the skeleton -- the insides -- the shell is soft, kind of like a foldable tire. (Maybe not to that extent, but you get the idea). I've also noticed there are panels that allow the helmet to be pushed in, independent of the rest of the shell, to absorb shock. It's not the same sports, and needs aren't the same, but maybe there's something here in terms of protecting athletes better against concussions.
  • + 11
 Here's what I'm talking about. I'm no engineer. I don't know if this can ever be applied to bike helmets, being smaller and lighter. I don't know if this is even safer. But it is innovation. (and might even solve the need to buy a new helmet after each crash). It makes me wonder why this is not on any of these guys' radar.

a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpnzubtUX3s">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TpnzubtUX3s/a>
  • + 5
 I feel like weight may be a factor here? I dont know how much a football helmet weighs. Maybe they are about the same. But a football helmet gets smashed a lot. Happens over and over. Mountain bike helmet break over and over. A small dent can ruin the structural integrity of the foam in that particular area. I feel as if the conspiracy side wants it to stay foam so people have to buy new ones so often... I really hope that isnt the case...
  • + 6
 @chillrider199: Yeah, a football helmet weighs a ton compared to a bike helmet, so right now, I don't think this is feasible. But maybe someday bike helmets can develop something based on this technology? I don't know if it's possible, but maybe?

As for conspiracy -- man, I don't think that's the case. These established companies, like Bell for example, are not in it to make a cheap, fast buck. Helmets have been their business for decades and decades. I truly believe they are in it for the right reasons -- to provide us with safest helmets for our needs at competitive prices. They have a mission. They have a reputation to uphold. Everything they come out with is not the ultimate solution to every danger, but it is researched and the best they can do given the technology. And if someone comes up with something better, they better keep up, or go out of business. And to be clear, I'm just using Bell as an example of a company that has been around a while. It can be any of these established companies. They want to be competitive and make money, but they also sincerely want to keep you as safe as their technology will allow. I believe that.
  • + 20
 We have absolutely loved what mainstream sports has contributed in recent years to the study of concussions and head trauma. With a lot of attention being given to CTE and other chronic brain illnesses caused by impacts to the head, the research and development has come a long way. The technologies used in football helmets is absolutely on the right track. Start with a harder shell and get as soft as possible the closer you get to the head. In a lot of cases they are even using air to do this. All good stuff.
  • + 4
 @KaliProtectives: The over riding limitation to any helmet will always be size won't it? When it comes to straight linear forces its all about how abruptly the head stops (resulting in the brain smashing inside the skull). The only way to make that stoppage less abrupt is to extend the distance over which the deceleration happens correct? So that will in all cases be limited by the thickness of the helmet itself won't it?
  • + 19
 @sino428: You are right on with your thinking, but we actually have developed a technology that is used to address just this... if we can divert energy laterally across the helmet then we in fact (to your example) have done away with the size limitation and need for helmet thickness. What we have done to address your point is use multi-density foam with geometric shapes that take a linear impact and basically ricochet that energy laterally across the helmet throughout the foam layer. This allows us to keep helmet size down (so that we don't add to the rotational risk) and reduce linear acceleration.

We call it composite fusion:
kaliprotectives.com/technology

Hope that helps Smile
  • + 11
 @sino428: I'm happy to answer any more questions you may have Smile This is why we love to do what we do...
  • + 4
 @KaliProtectives: Thanks for the info. I've been using your Shiva Carbon helmet for the past 2 seasons and have nothing bad to say about it.
  • + 8
 @sino428: One of the only in molded full faces out there... not to mention makes use of 6 different densities of foam. Enjoy!
  • + 0
 @KaliProtectives: Not to criticize because I think very highly of your helmets (friend split his kali and went back up for his second race run with no signs of concussion) but, aren’t all helmets using air? Air pockets in the foam and liners. Smith uses that straw-pack that relies on the structural integrity alone. But I can’t think of any other. Could you explain? I can’t help but picture a helmet with nothing but bubble wrap inside. Smile
  • + 3
 @Dont-hit-trees: What I was more referring to are actual air sacks used for both comfort of fit, and low-g energy dispersion in football helmets. But to your point... yes almost all helmets are using air in that way. When we talk about using variations of foam densities, we are essentially saying "how much air does it have in it." Too little air and it won't compress enough, and too much air and it will compress to easily. I can't talk for other companies, but for us... we use multiple densities of foam layered in geometric shapes that aim to divert energy laterally away from the helmet and across the surface of the helmet throughout the foam.

So yes... air has a big part in it Wink
  • + 2
 @KaliProtectives: Your construction methodology seems completely valid but, in my opinion, the main issue with mountain bike helmets is that they are only rated for singe impacts. The increased size and different construction methods of the football helmets he was referencing make it so they can be rated for multiple impacts. The machine shop I used to work at helped with the prototypes of the Vicis helmets and I was intrigued as to how we can bring something similar to the MTB world.

vicis.com/products/zero1
  • + 1
 football helmets are intended to reduce the effect of repeated (relatively) small impacts. It's debatable if they do a good job of this. Bike helmets need to handle a dramatically larger force impact only once. You need to slow the travel of your brain in a controlled manner to prevent a forceful collision with your skull, which is what causes concussions. Motorcycle helmet testing also includes a puncture test which I'd argue is not as relevant for mountain bike helmets.

If you get CTE from riding a mountain bike, you're doing it wrong (but lucky to be alive after that many collisions)
  • + 5
 @millsr4: You are spot on in your thinking, and these are concerns that we are building towards (hence our creation of Nano Fusion). Regarding Vicis helmets... they really have some cool things going on, and the R & D that is going towards concussion prevention because of them is top notch. That being said, this technology if used for the bike helmet would add to the overall weight and size significantly in ways that would greatly increase the risk of concussion. And if we were to try and address both these issues (decrease weight and size) using the technology as it stands, we would not be able to protect against the high-g forces in the same way we can today... and with the efficiency of what we already have here at Kali. All things considered, we are a technology company built on helmet safety and development... so, these methods and others that we see across the industry of protection, are all ones we actively like to test and explore Smile

So cool to see this amount of attention being given to protecting your head!
  • + 2
 @KaliProtectives: I fully understand the design constraints you guys are up against with the added size and weight the Vicis design in a MTB application. I personally have a pretty big head in addition to being short so I am definitely sensitive to the issue of helmets being too big and heavy! I'm just really intrigued by the idea of a helmet that is rated for multiple impacts in our sport. I am currently using this helmet from Marker for snowboarding that is rated for multiple impacts, albeit in a single crash, using an impact hardening foam. I'm sure that the biggest piece of this puzzle is what materials to use and how but I just can't shake the thought of having some kind of combination of the 2 helmets I mentioned for use in MTB.

www.marker.net/en-us/products/helmets/phoenix-map-3857

Also, thank you for the reply!
  • + 3
 @millsr4: Another company looking to further the development of helmet protection... love it! There are a few carry overs in the methodology of what Marker is doing as to what we are doing, which is cool to see. Thanks for sharing!
  • + 1
 Ignore my reply I just saw the video you linked
  • + 1
 For anyone interested, look up xenith x2
Helmet. It was hard to find but I think this is what kali was referring to. I’m not convinced it would be the best application for mountain biking but it does solve the problem of being used for multiple impacts.
  • + 1
 @plyawn: Not everyone with cte are doing it wrong accidents happen really it could happen to anyone knock on wood you could also slip your front end out and break your neck on tree. Or die on the freeway way more people die driving on highways than riding.
  • + 7
 This doesn't really have any safety impact but what I would really like is to be able to have some kind of a device where I could talk to my buddy while riding. I know technology like this exist for motorcycles but I don't know about for mountain bikes. If anything does exist like this for mountain biking I don't know about it
  • + 11
 Would be handy for the times where the dude behind wipes out and the guy ahead doesn't hear anything and shreds on! ..or to warn someone behind you of hikers going up your dh trail..
  • + 29
 i just duct tape a walkie-talkie to my face
  • + 1
 There's some company that sponsors semenuk that does this. Kept seeing their ads pop up on facebook. I think the units were rather pricey
  • + 2
 @gnarnaimo: my thoughts exactly. My buddy is new to the sport. When we go to bike parks I am a lot faster, but I ride same trails as him to keep great company. Would be nice to check in and give him some pointers along the way. Would improve his riding too.
  • + 1
 I saw a company marketing a mtb and snow sport specific headset but it was basically glorified bluetooth head phones and you used an app which no more than basically calls the person and had to have your phone on you, not ideal. I use Senas on my motorcycle helmets and its a great system good range, not phone dependant and loud, downside might be range in woods and somewhat delicate system but theres no reason you couldnt fit one to a full face.
  • + 1
 @Aem221: Sena actually makes a (road focused) bike helmet. www.sena.com/product/x1
It's okay, it's a bit pricey and pretty heavy, but still, pretty cool. Just does a point-to-point live connection between helmets, and acts as a bluetooth headset for your phone.
  • + 18
 Definitely a worthy thought. A mini hypersonic sound speaker mounted on the side strap, pointed back at the ear so that your ear remains open to the surrounding sound but can hear anything coming through the frequency as well... ie. your buddy screaming at you after blindly following you into a 45ft. double Wink
  • + 6
 @KaliProtectives: could be bone conduction technology. When I ride XC I use Trekz aftershocks headphones and my ears are wide open. I can hear everything. People on trails, and Slayer Raining Blood
  • + 4
 @KaliProtectives: 45 foot....you haven't seen me ride.. make it 5 foot gaps and your there Smile
  • + 1
 @wilbersk: Thanks for posting that, it looks awesome! Now to find a reason why I need it for work.
  • + 1
 @arrowheadrush: ...or cheap walkie talkies clipped to your pack straps.
  • + 2
 That'd mean riding with someone....
  • + 1
 the motorcycle ones are very small and easily adaptable to a full face dh helmet.
you can get cheap ones on aliexpress for 50$. I used one on my Motorcycle with my Girlfriend and have a second bracket to attach it to my dh helmet (used for music in that application) ..on a trail type ehlmet it would be a bit more difficult does to not having a place to place earphones and mic...
  • + 1
 @Biocoug1: I keep hearing mixed reviews on those, but most are from runners. You like them for riding though? They don't move or jostle around? They're expensive enough that I'm nervous about buying without trying first.
  • + 2
 @wako29: I can understand mixed reviews. They take some getting use to. I cant wear them with a Full Face, but My Giro Montaro they work very well. That's why I only use then on XC rides.
  • + 2
 @wako29: also, the base of the helmet keeps them nice and stable. At least for me.
  • + 1
 @arrowheadrush: Bruh! innovative! and the best use of duct tape to date! I actually laughed out loud!
  • + 1
 Coros makes a road and MTB helmet with Bluetooth connection to bone conducting ear phones and an inbuilt microphone. It also has a crash detection bit that sends an SOS to selected people when you crash. I got one on sale and absolutely love it. Their app isn’t the best, but it is good tech.

www.coros.com/mountain.php
  • + 2
 Practice yelling louder.
  • + 2
 The future helmet will have a built in micro computer that will connect to a trail stats hub , it will be able to analyse your ability on that day and give you live coaching on any section . It will inform you your speed is slow to make that 1st attempt on the big double and you should bail once airborne , in the knowledge that the 8d compound shell will save you from death but not shell shock !
Can’t wait !
  • + 7
 Customizable fit, I am always in between medium and large and have a more oval than round head. I want to throw most helmets in the oven, soften, and squeeze the sides in to fit better .
  • + 1
 i have a round head and very hard to find a helmet that fit's well. I had to try 6 different brands. Same problem in motorcycle helmets, most of them are for long oval head types. It s not rocket science to have some removable strips of foam on the shell, not the padding.
  • + 2
 Yes! I wear the biggest helmets I can find, but my head is not only huge but also differently shaped, the back bulges/is wider, and I've never found a full face to completely solve that... my current XXL Transfer-9 is the best right now
  • + 1
 I’m here to upvote this. I usually have to buy the biggest helmet and rely on the retention system to hold it down. Works okay, but in the few minor hits I’ve had the retention/ratchet system strips and the helmet flops around. If I ever crash in a multiple impact situation it wouldn’t be great.
  • + 7
 Spesh has it right with the emergency SOS signal doo-hicky-whatchmacallit. Until we find some magical foam, emergency "hands free" calling or SOS signalling is the next step.
  • + 6
 Since I've been in MTB, I've seen the sport go from no helmet, to hairnets optional, styrofoam coolers with no standards, the first Snell standards, and now a true renaissance of safety. This is good.

But helmets only work when used. More and more I see videos of riders who carry their helmet on the ride up; even hydration packs feature helmet attachments. This is bad. When I was associated with a particular race, the only fatality we had was when a rider fell on a rock in a gravel parking lot while going to the spaghetti diner.

I see a lot of helmet features in the future - bluetooth sound, heads up display, and I would like to see the helmet's safety increase by integrating neck and collarbone protection - the other two major injuries that could be easily addressed.
  • + 3
 You can't force anyone to wear a helmet (I'm sure California is actively trying) but the new school of helmets that are comfortable and don't look dorky sure help me want to wear mine.
  • + 1
 I've been through the same timeline (started riding BMX bikes in the 70's as a kid & no one wore a helmet really other than a motorcycle or hockey helmet back then). The other area we need to improve on is ventilation, I'm guilty of strapping the helmet to my pack on the way up because it's ridiculously hot as I'm a ridiculously slow climber (middle age is a bitch somedays). I always worry about "what if" but when it's hot out with no relief for miles on a climb I weigh the risk strap the helmet and pray I don't veggie myself.
  • + 2
 My camelbak has a helmet holder. When I first got it and on a particularly hot climb out and back to the car I decided what-the-heck and strapped the helmet to the pack. The one short downhill dip on the fire road and my front wheel washed out on kitty litter and I took a digger and hit my head. Luckily it wasn't anything serious but now I never take the helmet off.
  • + 5
 I know people don't want their riding to be ruined by robots, but could there be a place for real time metrics? So say you get in a crash and hit your head. There are sensors in the helmet that could do a real time report to an app saying "this amount of force to this part of the head. Here are potential injuries or complications. here is what you should do for said symptoms" Could give people a better idea of what they are dealing with. I know I have overlooked issues before because I felt ok at the time only to realize later that it was probably something a bit more serious.
  • + 5
 I've seen a lot about adding sensors to detect when a crash happens, that then triggers an emergency call. If those sensors are already integrated, I would like to see them used to create a report about the impact forces. This report could be used by your doctors to get the right treatments, making for a faster/better recovery. It could also be used by the manufacturers to get better data on the crash forces in MTB, and make safer helmets. The crash forces are different is every sport, and even every discipline, which is why a moto helmet and a DH helmet will never be designed to the same criteria, same for a DH helmet versus a trail or XC helmet.
  • + 3
 Well shit, you and I had the same idea and posted at the same time haha. I agree on this 100%, I know people don't want robots or electronics ruining the ride but this seems like a pretty damn good place to put them.
  • + 5
 6D helmets already is the future. Sure, they are heavier than most other helmets, but this is the sacrifice for the suspension built into the shell. Most helmets now have one foam shell that just keeps your head from getting dirty when it hits the ground. 6D actually provides dampening for the impact and good coverage for your head. No question these are the best in the market
  • + 4
 @KaliProtectives would be to differ.
  • + 4
 Personally I would like to see more helmets rated for multiple impacts like the poc full face helmets. With the 200$+ price tag many full faces carry I would like to be able to use them repeatedly rather than them becoming 200$ landfill waste after a single spill.
  • + 1
 It's all about the Benjamins, there's gold to be made selling immortality. Yes, we all want good helmets - we're there already. What's happening above is marketing and PR, juking statistics, same as done for the last 20-30 years to insure child car seats are re-sold perpetually. The following ONLY applies to head injury related to helmet protection:
There are a percentage of crashes where you won't need a helmet to avoid injury, probably fairly high - subtract your guess from 100%
There are a percentage of crashes where the most expensive and heavily marketed helmet isn't going to matter, thankfully very small - subtract that guess from the previous remainder.
There are crashes where the helmet you have now, made from pennies a pound plastic refinery products, is good enough - subtract your guess from the remainder of above.

What you're left with is a very narrow band of situations where something could have possibly been done (costing a buck or two) to improve the outcome, but would that something have been a trade-off that increased probability of an injury in another case? Maybe protection from a softer energy absorbing shell that increases chance of getting crushed hitting a sharp rock?
  • + 1
 Good point. Some kind of indicator to say when the helmet needs to be replaced would be good too. An example from completely different field is the Peak Design camera strap "anchor" connectors; they have cord which when it get damaged by stretching it goes first yellow and then red to indicate that it's time for a new one.
  • + 8
 Our thoughts exactly. Not to mention the reality that 90% of people don't replace their helmet after a crash anyways... This has been a big concern of ours and what has lead to the development of Nano Fusion technology. Carbon nanotube acrylic self-healing foam... made to retain full structural integrity after a crash. It can be found in a couple helmets of ours already and is something we are wanting to make a standard across the entire line, and the complete helmet. The biggest hurdle is at the production level... it literally is a powder state before heat, so you can image how hard it is to replicate at the level we need to for production. But... we do have a coupe full Nano Fusion helmets here at the office if you ever come by Smile
  • + 3
 Or last longer, or something. I've outgrown a couple $200 helmets, but didn't crash them...
  • + 3
 Totally agree! The way I see it is they could improve by doing a few things like:
1. make helmets able to handle multiple impacts
2. make them recyclable so if you can't re-use them after a crash, they at least won't go to a landfill
3. or a trade in program so if you crash, you can send in your old busted helmet for a discount off a new one
  • + 4
 Affordability. Helmets are supposed to be replaced after a crash, but with half-shells coming in at $100+ and full-faces starting at $200, many people will keep using the same helmet far longer than they should.
  • + 15
 Or a company program that will replace your crashed helmet free-of-charge because that company doesn't want you riding in a crashed helmet... cough* Kali lifetime crash replacement program *cough Smile
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: Is that program on all your helmets? And does it also go for the replacement helmet (so if you crash that one, would you replace that too)? That would make you sell one or maybe two helmets ever to every single customer and then hand them free helmets for the rest of their live. I don't want you to out of business by doing that! Or is it one replacement for every single helmet you buy, so basically two helmets for the price of one. I'd say that's fair enough. Every single helmet I've replaced until now I've replaced because I broke the old one in a crash. Back when I started out I was indeed tempted to ride longer with several cracks in them until it really seemed like there was no spot where I could land onto (stupid kid, I know). After that my approach became to just get the cheap helmets (and keep a new one spare) that still have sufficient coverage and the CE certifications so that when I snap one in a crash I just get the spare one and can go out on a ride next day with a proper helmet.

I'm tempted to get your Maya helmet because of the replacement program but I'll always keep a fresh helmet (the cheap On-One or Carnac enduro type POC lookalike helmets) spare so that whenever I need to return the helmet I still have something to ride in.
  • + 5
 @vinay: Yes you are correct, every Kali helmet is good for just one crash replacement... otherwise we would be bankrupt and not have another customer ever. But that offer is lifetime and if we don't have that same model when your needing a replacement, we will replace it with the current model year. All we ask for is a proof of purchase to show you actually purchased the original one and didn't get it from the trash behind the bike shop... hahah
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: Alright, fair enough. Another question now that you're here Wink , what are the signs of a micro concussion? Obviously when I'm knock out I know it is bad. Sometimes I go down and I find my helmet is cracked so I know it is time for a replacement. Sometimes I go down and I do feel a bit dizzy but the helmet (the cheap but certified ones mentioned) still look good. Usually if that happens I take it easy and head home (as my rides are typically short and explosive anyway). I've found out that moving on typically is recipe for worse crashes. But yeah the helmet looks fine so I'll keep it for my next ride. Your Maya helmet has dual density foam. Chances are the softer foam would be damaged in such a crash. Is that visible for me as a customer? Typical EPS foam helmets crack all the way through to the shell but I suppose with those multi-compound helmets it would be different.
  • + 1
 @vinay: As far as signs go, those can be anything from dizziness, loss of vision, fainting etc. Really whatever you see on webmd is what you can have... As far as foam goes, unless its our nano fusion technology, if the impact was strong enough to press into the foam, it is now sitting under the shell compressed and not at full strength. That being said, we use our higher density foams on the outer layer of the helmet, and it gets softer the closer you get to your head. That mixed with in molding should give it some pretty good strength.
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: Thanks. Was just trying to shop for one of these but then realized that I can't find them anywhere. I live in The Netherlands and your dealer locator on the website doesn't give any suggestions. Is there a (web based) dealer you could recommend. Preferably in the EU?
  • + 1
 @vinay: We are currently selling into the Nordic regions, France, UK and Germany but do not have anyone in The Netherlands... unfortunately. I will look around for an online seller and DM you
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: That's bad ass. You are the only company on here responding to the folks asking the questions. My next lid is def gonna be a Kali, they're sold at mt LBS. Good for marketing, but truly shows you guys care.

As for the weight weenies out there... go to the gym. As a mil dude, we wear heavy ass ballistic helmets with all kinds of shit strapped to them for multiple hours on end - it starts with a Night freefall jump, hard ass landing then hours of patrolling on foot to an assault followed with a long ass helo ride out. But I digress. My point is a few ounces for safety aint shit!
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: That's cool. I get that you wouldn't want to mention that in the public comment section as you wouldn't want to hurt any of your dealers that you wouldn't mention. Of course if any of the other readers here is aware of a good dealer in the EU that ships to The Netherlands, feel free to mention them here (or send me a DM).
  • + 3
 I think trail-type helmets with a lightweight face guard might be something in the future. Full face helmets seem like too much for trail riding. However, anybody who rides up but rides aggressively downhill could probably use some sort of face protection.
  • + 2
 @KaliProtectives: Any plans for a modular helmet in your line up? Also, is it cool to stop the shop in Morgan Hill? I travel to work in San Jose a good bit and stay in Morgan Hill. I am always driving by your place on my way to Trail Dust for dinner. Your shop looks tucked away.. I am never sure if its open to public or not.
  • + 5
 @bryanmccrary1: Ya man come on by! We always love showing people around and sharing in the excitement. If you want to call before hand that might be good, and you can ask for Justin and I'll make sure I'm here when you come.
  • + 1
 Bell Super has detachable grill...
  • + 2
 @TW80: Yeah, there is also the Giro Switchblade but it still seems too much for trail riding. I was thinking something lighter. I'm sure companies like Kali Protectives have some great innovations in the works that they are testing.
  • + 7
 Missile launchers and integrated night vision goggles! yeaaaaa!!!
  • + 4
 with heads up display for blind corner mapping, and infrared sensors to tell mw when I'm about to smack into bears (or cougars, mmm cougars)
  • + 1
 Downed tree ahead..... kaboom! tup That would be the bomb. Wink
  • + 3
 all those manufacturers are dancing around a clear-cut objective. they hint at it, but then withdraw into the smoke and mirrors of ever improving materials tech,and the worst form of anti-progress (aka ass-covering): how closely they are aligned to helmet testing standards.
the objective itself should be simply stated as : preventing concussion. end of story. No one is saying it's easy, or even possible. But if we all accept that concussion, especially repeated concussion, is the threat, then the design objective has to be to prevent it. and if we cannot design away that risk, then so be it. But let's not pussyfoot with incremental re-spinning of existing tech as if it's new and fresh. Even with MIPS, there's no prevention of concussion, just mitigation. aka, you are still at risk of developing complications therefrom.

that's my challenge to those to whom I do, and still pay top dollar to for protecting my noggin.
  • + 3
 Sounds like we are on the same page. We have never designed/engineered to just meet the standard... for exactly the reasons you laid out. The number one focus should always be concussion prevention. Which means you should engineer to the 3 forces at play; low-g energy, high-g energy and rotational forces. Not just the high-g that the standard is concerned with. You can check out the below link if you want to see all that we design to:

kaliprotectives.com/technology

Happy to answer any questions you may have
  • + 2
 You are 100% correct, the reason they don't talk about it is because they know that they haven't solved the issue yet (and its likely they may never). I'm sure they are trying, but a thin lightweight piece of material can only provide so much protection.
  • + 2
 Pretty revealing if you pay attention. Leatt and Kali don't rely on vague bullshit because they have a real track record and real ideas. Period. If you want to increase the odds of having a healthy brain in the decades ahead--*especially* if you haven't had a concussion yet--buy a helmet from one of the companies with a proven commitment to concussion reduction. But if you care more about your helmet having cool colors, well, that's here too.
  • + 3
 Not just Leatt and Kali, also 6D.
  • + 2
 Did Pinkbike know that Vernon Felton was moonlighting for Giro writing their helmetfacts marketing copy at the same time that he was reviewing helmets for Pinkbike (picking Giro's as the winner, coincidentally) claiming to have no industry affiliations?
  • + 6
 Hyper ventilated Full-face helmets, and cheaper!!!
  • + 1
 Yup. Even better with a removable chin bar.
  • + 1
 I'd love to see every helmet become multi-impact. POC does it with the Coron, Kali makes a few, but that's about it. Why can't we just use D3O or VPD for helmets? It offers good protection for the size, doesn't weigh much and is multi-impact.
  • + 1
 Why aren't we talking about things like Umbo Helmets?

Really cool helmet tech that couldn't get its funding....as opposed to the sweaty hair MIPS that was showered down on us like a golden...rod of forced technology....I don't know where that was going....but I wish I had a production Umbo helmet.
  • + 1
 Broke my humerus wearing a body armor with full protection on my arm. Honestly never thought this will happen to me as I went into surgery and was 5 months off from work. Company seem to invest a lot in helmets but nothing in body armor protection. Hockey company gear seem at a much more higher level of developpement regarding protection. I understand the market is not The same and the financial ressources also but still.
  • + 1
 Just talk to 6D helmets. Best system out there, just need to figure out a way to get the weight down a tad without compromising their system. My L 6D full face is a big helmet but only 90g heavier then my carbon D3. I got their trail lid and it's heavy but I just take it off when we're chilling out. Don't notice it on descents.
  • + 1
 I think helmet technology has improved at a snail's pace compared to bike technology. I think a Giro Prolight from 1985 would still be 90% as safe on the road as modern helmets.

I think the biggest safety improvement would be to reduce cost for wider acceptance. It seems close to half of the riders in "Friday Fails" are not wearing helmets. Second would be designing a helmet to be safer for multiple impacts.

Everyone knows that helmet material cost is very low. If companies kept the same low priced model hemet around for 5 years instead of 1 or 2 they could more easily amortize their mold and labor costs.
  • + 1
 Having a dirtbike background I've always been skeptic about most of the bike stuff and the marketing related to it. Many times you can find a better solution looking somewhere else.
I've been wearing a dirtbike helmet since I've started down hill many years ago because my though was:" If I can wear it for 30 minutes jumping on a dirt bike, I can wear it for 4 minutes either".
  • + 2
 Negativity aside I do appreciate the advancement of materials and increased ability of the helmet to prevent brain injury. I have had three concussions (two on a bike) and would like to avoid a fourth!!
  • + 1
 If any manufacturers are reading this, here is a request. How about making adjustable strap positions. The straps typically line up right in the middle of my ears instead of going around either side. Some adjustability would be great. I realize this has nothing to do with concussions or foam density, but it would still be a big improvement in fit.
  • + 1
 I am certainly interested to see where all of this goes. I have had a couple concussions from my high school football days in a time before concussions were taken as seriously as they are today. Last year I had the unfortunate experience of crashing and cracking my helmet, the impact ultimately resulted in a concussion. It was one of the few times I ride alone and . The helmet I replaced it with has MIPS, I figure it doesn't hurt to have it even if the industry isn't really behind what the best way of testing or how helpful it actually is yet.
  • + 4
 Vernon, it's weird to see you under the Specialized flag when your past is so very checkered!
  • + 4
 Definitely more expensive is what's next given pricing trends with everything lately.
  • + 1
 Without having read all the comments how about helmet manufacturers fitting strain gauges so you can have a stack and check the impact before deciding on replacing the helmet or not!

I’ve written off 3 helmets in big impacts but have thought about using them again as there is little visible damage, I can see the foam has damage but from the outside they looked fine.....
  • + 1
 I find it an absolutely terrifying revelation to the shittiness of bike helmets and their regulatory standards. that over 3000 of 10,000 respondents in the pink bike injury poll have experienced concussions.

We can do better.
The test apparatus shown also look totally ridiculous.


Someone start a go fund me. helmet mounted action camera with accelerometers and black box and a small secondary camera watching the hemet. Send the data and injury details to a central data base....get a discount on a replacement helmet. Give the guys working on this a pile of real world data.....GoPro Here's looking at you.....

www.pinkbike.com/news/pinkbike-poll-what-injuries-have-you-received-while-mountain-biking.html
  • + 3
 can't wait to see new Troy Lee D4 which should be presented soon (just my guess after seeing there's no new carbon and composite D3) Smile
  • + 2
 yep in terms of looks there's still no match for the D3.
  • + 1
 You will not see a D4 in calendar year 2019. A couple of new Carbon D3 with mips models will be released in May. D3 Composite model has been discontinued. Yup, you heard it here first.
  • + 1
 @stikmanglaspell: knowledge or just a guess? thought D3 release without a carbon version was a clear indicator and since the clothing is gonna be released separately i thought they're gonna present something brand new. guess we will see... p.s. still totally happy with my D3 gwin Smile
  • + 1
 @stikmanglaspell: any info why you changed the fit of the A2 compared to the A1? So many people loved the fit of that but I can't get myself to upgrade to an A2 because it's just not nearly as comfortable... it's a shame because I like the dual density feature and the improved ventilation. That said, my head also does not fit in a D3...
  • + 4
 No comment from 6D? Arguably the safest helmet company out today..

Granted you'll look like Dark Helmet when riding
  • + 3
 Couldn't agree more. I'd like to hear what they have to say. Their helmets offer many advantages over MIPS.
  • + 4
 Fortunately I have a gigantic head, so it looks normal on me. Unfortunately, when I take it off I still have a gigantic head. I did buy it because I suspect it's one of the safest out there, though.
  • + 5
 cool helmet graphics is all we need.
  • + 1
 What about a helmet that could bring me a cup of coffee and a beer ? Or even better both at the same time !!.. Just continue to evolve with research (head safety #1) and keep the price reasonable.
  • + 0
 The only "standard" needed is for MIPS HELMETS to be the only standard rather than companies using the technology as a marketing tool for profit, if they really cared about our safety they would be producing such helmets at a more affordable price point, the technology has been around long enough for pricing to be more competitive.
  • + 1
 The price for MIPS-equipped helmets has dropped significantly over the last few years. Take the Giro Fixture for example - it's $55 USD with MIPS.
  • + 0
 @mikekazimer: I agree to a point, if more companies shared what has become a default technology, rather than hyping their own individual slant on a "standard" then we, the customer would benefit considerably, example of creating a new, and so more expensive safety selling point, is POC, with their SPIN technology, time has come in the safety front for companies to stop rinsing their audience.
  • + 1
 We need a full body suit that detects a crash coming and inflates airbags around the whole body. You then bounce like a beach ball safely to a stop. Call it "The Demolition Man".
  • + 1
 I would put "Wearing a helmet" on the table, at this day and age, it still amazes me to see people arrive at my LBS without a helmet and forcefully advocating that it is a waste of time
  • + 1
 MIPS helmets are awesome for when you are loading your bike and gear back in the car after a ride, you forgot you still have your helmet on and bump your head on the car door frame.
  • + 1
 Would be nice to have integrated lights on your visor. The rubberband on most lights tend to strech and light starts shaking. Leds and circuitboards don't tend to weight too much these days.
  • + 2
 anyone else notice that it looks like POC is using Rhino 3d? Probably with t-splines? Kind of surprising in the autodesk and solidworks world.
  • + 3
 Ιt's Rhino allright. But that doesn't mean it's the only CAD software they use.
  • + 1
 @justwan-naride: ah good point
  • + 1
 Or a Helmet that shouts oohhh f@%k for you.
Alerting those nearby for to your impending doom and saving valuable time to react and bail.
  • + 1
 Air bag helmets/neck braces That explode to rap you head and shoulders in a big squishy pillow without turning you deaf. Like motor gp
  • + 1
 I would love to see Hövding "helmet/airbag" in a mtb version that was possible to use over and over again.
hovding.se
  • + 1
 Making the top end highest quality protection as affordable as possible so that the average joe is able to keep their noggin protected would be the best place to go
  • + 2
 @mikekazimer how could you not include 6D ? By far the best helmet and technology out there. . . . . .
  • + 3
 What next - increasing prices
  • + 2
 Ventilated full face helmets with a removable chin bar that's under $200 would be nice.
  • + 0
 Fly racing has a pretty cool Adaptive Impact System coming out in their new Formula helmet. I can only imagine its a short amount of time before they put that technology into a MTB full face, and the freestone half lid.
  • + 2
 Definitely something we are excited to see the industry get behind. The safer the industry gets, the better!
If you want something similar in the MTB world you may be interested in seeing this... kaliprotectives.com/technology
  • + 3
 Which features tech pioneered by Kali and then followed by Leatt. Fly has cool graphics, lots of corporate money, a huge sales staff, and marketing budget.
  • + 1
 @ryane: DING DING DING...
  • + 1
 MIPS for people with giant ass heads. My head is so locked into my giro lid that no amount of low friction interfaces will allow it to spin freely
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: why aren't your helmets available in Australia? Have checked them out online in the past only to find I can't get them here.
  • + 2
 They don’t test to Australian standard AS/NZS 2063. Pretty sure it’s illegal to sell in Australia without meeting that standard. You certainly can’t enter a race in Australia without it as the venue insurance requires it.

Why don’t Kali certify their helmets to AS/NZS 2063?
  • + 4
 Reebok pump
  • + 1
 ... mountain bikers realize the world is coming to an end and stop wearing helmets.
  • - 2
 It is absolutely batshit crazy that in 2019 we still don't have industry standards focused on concussion reduction instead of just skull-fracture reduction. This issue exploded into view with the MIPS-humping Bicycling Magazine article in 2013, almost six f*cking years ago. People have been screaming for modern standards ever since. Giro/Bell and Specialized and Trek and Fox and TLD, your failure to get off your boardroom asses and make this happen causes more brain injuries for your customers every day. Shame on you all.
  • + 1
 I hope the future is lightweight full-face helmets. Light enough for everyday riding.
  • + 1
 TLD Stage helmet, under 700 grams. I have put in hours in one, and I have a scrawny-weak-pencil neck and did not have any discomfort.
  • + 1
 Good marketing campaign.Let the readers comment on what they'll spend their cash on. Take my money PLEASE
  • + 1
 Fun coincidence - I'm currently writing my thesis in mechanical engineering about improvements to helmet safety!
  • + 1
 Something that stops people from getting concussions. I've had symptoms for about 15 months from a not that gnarly crash.
  • + 1
 MULTI IMPACT HELMETS... but they wouldn’t want to put themselves out of business
  • + 1
 Mountain biking is already too safe. I think we need helmets that explode when you crash.
  • - 2
 "Mountain bike helmets have evolved over the years, morphing from what looked like STYROFOAM bowling balls to the comfortable and well-ventilated options that exist today"

@mikekazimer: typo in the opening sentence?? Step your game up!
  • + 1
 Burning question and then helmets? My head is not on fire.

My crotch tho Frown
  • + 1
 what's next?
  • + 1
 Your best piece of equipment to protect you from head injuries is your shoulders and elbows.
  • + 2
 something that involves batteries!!
  • + 1
 Integration of electronics, because god forbid we aren't looking at a screen for a few hours while riding in the woods.
  • - 1
 Off Topic but Aaron Larocque's Masterpiece "What's Next?" came out 10 years ago. Feel old yet?
videos.mtb-news.de/10524/whats_next_
  • + 1
 Mips and reebok pump hexalite type fitting system helmet might be good
  • + 1
 Make it mandatory to wear one - start with that!!
  • + 1
 I'm assuming Boost MIPS, not compatible with your current helmet.
  • + 1
 The will to make cheap enduro fullface helmets for the masses.
  • + 1
 Vernon Felton left pinkbike? getthef*ckouttahere
  • + 0
 Want head protection? Look at F1 and other open wheel racing. For helmets to be safer they have to get bigger.
  • + 1
 What we need are those inflatable helmets.
  • + 2
 MIPS BOOST
  • + 1
 with a sweet new BB standard to boot!
  • + 1
 Burning question: Indian or Mexican for dinner?
  • + 1
 Next step is those things that hold beers with tubes to your mouth
  • + 2
 Heady talk.
  • + 1
 Riders could start by doing up the chin strap.
  • + 0
 I vote for directional trail systems or GPS apps in our phones to alert us when other people are near to avoid collisions.
  • + 1
 Wearable Airbags that go off when we hit the ground
  • + 0
 Anyone else sketched out by the magnetic straps on Leatt helmets instead of a double D?
  • + 1
 You mean the ones made by Fidlock which other brands like Specialized use? I've been using Fidlock for over 3 years now on several brands of helmets(Mtb and XC) without an issue.
  • + 1
 @ryane: I've seen two of them come off in a crash. Szymon Godziek's at Rampage and a girl at a Crankworx best whip event.
  • + 2
 @nickgarrison: I saw the CX crash and just looked into Szymon's. These are his words from Downhilllife.com

You’re talking about the helmet falling off your head, is it possible that you have forgotten to zip it up or it fell down despite it was fasten?

That was my second lesson from this jump. My strap was loose. It was closed, but not tided enough. As a dj rider who uses only an openface helmets I would never thought that’s so important to have it tided be safe. I was lucky.
  • - 1
 More burning question:. Can Vernon Felton conceivably market specialized as not lame?........
  • - 3
 Using the same high testing standards as motorcycle helmets would be a great starting place.... considering DH/enduro full face helmets are not close to MX helmets in terms of safety.
  • + 1
 No, not really.
  • + 1
 Different energy impacts are present in motocross. While a Moto helmet may do great in preventing serious brain injury in a moto impact, a lower speed mtb impact may have a greater chance of minor brain injury. I'm just a keyboard engineer so this may or may not be accurate.
  • + 1
 @vtracer: I've seen arguments in MX circles that DOT helmets aren't as safe as bicycle helmets even for motorcycle crashes; DOT standards are based around preventing skull fracture in an unrealistic scenario, to the detriment more likely crashes. That's the danger of testing, especially mandatory testing - products get designed around the test, not the situation where they're actually used. Not saying there's no value in tests, just that one has to know what a test tells you and what it doesn't.

Marketing aside, what Felton says, at least initially, has a lot of merit: all testing standards I'm aware of are about preventing skull fracture, and nothing else. They were all developed back when the treatment for a concussion was "walk it off".

Of course, when you ask industry, you aren't going to get a straight answer. You honestly think anyone they asked would answer "well, yes. We do have an idea how to make our products better, but we aren't doing it."
  • + 1
 @Weens: snell, ece and sharp are other helmet ratings. Dot might very well be outdated
  • - 1
 Apart from the MIPS one, these all read as bland press releases, not "What's next for Mountain Bike helmet safety?"
  • + 2
 I actually prefer Vernon Felton (Specialized, ex-Pinkbike) and Brad Waldron (Kali) but I guess you'll always have to learn to filter out the crap and find the information that makes sense for you as a rider.
  • + 3
 Would love to answer any questions you may have. Or, if you want to ever hop on the phone and talk tech we are always open... But to answer the "What's next" we definitely stand by our beliefs in building in a softer layer close to your head that's focus is to disperse low-g impacts and handle the rotational. That Low-G impact zone is what we really would love to see get addressed more across brands... as seen by Leatt, now Fly and us. And to add to the "what's next..." what about a multi-impact foam made to withstand multiple impacts and retain full structural integrity. What we call nano fusion... a carbon nanotube acrylic self healing foam Wink If your interested in reading more and getting past the marketing blabber (which we can't stand either) you can check it all out here and see how we are using everything we talk about:
kaliprotectives.com/technology
  • + 3
 @KaliProtectives: Glad to see you agree. I think some of these brands are making themselves ridiculous by dumping their marketing speech where they had a chance to gain confidence by displaying their knowledge and honesty instead.

I sustained a fair few concussions (though most of them not even cycling related but stuff like being hit by a car when crossing the street as a kid, fainting and hitting my head against a flowerpot on the way down, stuff like that) and I'm disappointed to learn years later what a concussion actually is (through an article by Danielle Baker here on Pinkbike). Either way, one comment that often comes up in these discussions concerning slip layers is that hair does basically the same as the built-in slip layers. I've got a lot of hair and usually stow it in a Buff-type bandana to keep it in check before I put on my helmet. So I was curious, has anyone ever tested the effects of hair vs a bald crash-dummy inside a slip-layer equipped helmet? Of course in engineering "natural material" is considered unpredictable and I understand if you don't want to make hard statements as a professional. But could you release anything in the general sense? How does 20-30cm long curly hair inside a helmet compare to the commercial slip layers when talking about protecting the brain against rotating impacts?

Concerning the self healing materials, yeah of course we'd all hate to dispose of our helmets after a crash. Or even more importantly, if you crash in the middle of a ride, you still want to make it back to the trailhead so at the end of the day you still would like to have an effective helmet after the impact. Self healing sounds cool in that respect. I suppose the challenge is going to be that most of these helmet materials are foamy plastics. I can imagine they'd heal but the more challenging bit would be whether the healed bits would still be foamy.
  • + 1
 @vinay: Great points to everything your saying. Regarding hair... yes your hair (or lack of) actually does significantly play a part of your exposure to rotational forces. However, unless being tested for a passion project, its really hard to justify the spend of lab time on a topic that has so many variables and provides very little universally relevant data hahah But to that point, it would be fun to test someday! I will keep note of it...

Self healing foam. Yes this is what we at Kali consider to be a "what's next" kind of project in helmet safety. Right now, when we are able to construct a helmet using Nano Fusion, the foam actually does return to its original shape and strength after impact. So it truly has potential to be a multi-impact helmet without compromise. The hard part (as mentioned) comes down to the production and it being nearly impossible to work with when constructing the helmet... this is what we now are working towards perfecting
  • + 1
 @vinay: I kind of died a little inside reading Vernon's bit. I take solace knowing he is still alive and well, though. And now I know where he went
  • + 0
 Agreed. Digging through patent applications would probably give more of an idea what is coming.
  • + 1
 @KaliProtectives: This was more what I had in mind - actual future projects. Your piece in the article isn't boring, but it essentially says what's next for the industry is what you are already doing since 2012, which comes across as what a marketer would say. A lot of companies - you, Leatt, MIPs especially - are pushing things, so I was hoping to read your future ideas, not "Some day the others will catch up".
  • + 2
 @KaliProtectives: Sure, hair (and sweat) aren't standardized. But using dry, bald headforms for testing could be dramatically skewing the testing. MIPS in particular may make a giant difference on a dummy with the grippy head yet no difference at all in the real world. Testing rotational forces without any understanding of whether the test measures real-world effects leaves key questions still unanswered.
  • - 1
 Nothing from 6D? That seems to me like the most protection available from a half shell.
  • + 1
 Carbon Fibre
  • + 1
 but definitely not carbon "fiber"; so much classier with the e at the end
  • + 2
 Fibre is an essential part of a healthy diet. It helps to keep your digestive system in good working order, and has many other important health benefits. @kjjohnson:
  • + 1
 Fucking epic, Do want!
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