A British tech company has made the world's first 3D-printed cycling helmet, offering a custom fit and claiming it can control impact 68% better than foam with a patent-pending honeycomb structure.
"No two heads are the same, so why should helmets be?" say Hexr of the new lid. They say it's the best fitting helmet in the world, achieved by using mobile 3D head scanning equipment to create a custom mould unique to the individual. The Hexr project was founded by UCL Mechanical Engineering graduate Jamie Cook, who set about deconstructing several helmets in a lab only to find that widely used polystyrene foam wasn't ideal for absorbing impact on a non-flat surface. The core of each Hexr helmet is a single hexagonal cell, that buckles and softens to reduce pressure on impact. Because the Hexr helmet spreads the energy from an impact, they claim the peak force is dramatically reduced compared to foam.
Each Hexr helmet is a one-off, as a custom 3D mesh is created from scanning the head. Algorithms make a completely bespoke structure in real time, allowing for a perfect fit. Hexr claim the data they generate is accurate "to within a hair’s breadth".
The internal structure is made from Polyamide 11, which Hexr say has cooling benefits because it conducts heat better than foam; when the heat escapes it’s vented out by cool air channelled beneath the outer shell. The outer shell was designed in partnership with TotalSim, aerodynamics specialists who worked with British Cycling at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, and Hexr are claiming their helmet tested 7 seconds faster than the Giro Aether and Kask Protone at 200 watts over 40km.
The shell can also be changed to suit different riding conditions, and it even ticks the eco box as the inner Hexr shell is made from 100% renewable materials; EPS foam isn't biodegradable. The only downside appears to be the £349 price tag, however for that you get a custom fitting session in London or a Hexr courier can come to you if you live within the Greater London area. Sales are limited to 500 this year with the finished products shipping to customers in March 2019. You can reserve yours now with a £50 deposit, check out their website for more info.
Arriving at road.cc in 2017 via 220 Triathlon Magazine, Jack dipped his toe in most jobs on the site and over at eBikeTips before being named the new editor of road.cc in 2020, much to his surprise. His cycling life began during his students days, when he cobbled together a few hundred quid off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story) and bought his first road bike - a Trek 1.1 that was quickly relegated to winter steed, before it was sadly pinched a few years later. Creatively replacing it with a Trek 1.2, Jack mostly rides this bike around local cycle paths nowadays, but when he wants to get the racer out and be competitive his preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking - the latter being another long story.