Impact concussions are in the news. What we know about brain trauma and Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) is enough to make us think twice about encouraging our children to take up certain sports. Recently, motorcycling is one of the sports raising concern. A highway study conducted jointly in the United States and Great Britain revealed a shocking 11% increase in motorcycling-induced traumatic head injuries in just the last decade. Are bike crashes becoming more severe? Or, are we better at diagnosing a concussion? Even if the answer is “a little of both” the issue is real. Deep down, we always knew head-meet-pavement was more dangerous than we wanted to admit. Bike manufacturers, along with helmet designers, have taken note. A new helmet from 6D may help keep our brains from sloshing around. That would be all to the good. The news this week is positive.
The new helmet is called the ATR-2. It’s an entirely new design, containing a unique suspension system between the shell and lining. If it proves as effective as we have been told, it could revolutionize helmet design in the future.
What makes it so special? That’s what your favorite automotive news magazine set out to learn.
Dubbed Omni-Directional Suspension (or, ODS), the technology is designed to reduce energy transfer to the brain in the event of a crash. It accomplishes this by compressing and shearing in all directions. Both Department of Transportation ECE 22.05 and ACU-approved, the shock-absorbers protect the head from both direct and rotational impacts. The company says the magic is in the Elastomeric Isolation Dampers. Those work by isolating impact energy away from the brain. The new helmet has an hourglass shape. The elastic tendencies provide a progressive spring rate that helps cushion the blow from an impact.
In addition to the interior workings that mitigate the force of impact, 6D changed the chin bar, as well. Thicker lower density EPP lined chin bars are more durable than traditional chin bars. They provide more energy absorbing material for side impacts to the jaw area. They also include a polyurethane over-molded sternum pad.
Are you ready for a new helmet? Because this is the next-gen head protection you may be missing. Long distance, and high speed, riders are crossing their fingers.
How expensive is the new helmet? The ATR-2 retails for about $700, which is a small enough price to save your pretty little brain, not to mention the head that covers it. May is Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. This new helmet may put some action behind the words.