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.
After cobbling together a few hundred quid during his student days off the back of a hard winter selling hats (long story), Jack bought his first road bike at the age of 20 and has been hooked ever since. He was Staff Writer at 220 Triathlon magazine for two years before joining road.cc in 2017, and reports on all things tech as well as editing road.cc's live blog. He is also the news editor of our electric-powered sister site eBikeTips. Jack's preferred events are time trials, sportives, triathlons and pogo sticking (the latter being another long story), and on Sunday afternoons he can often be found on an M5 service station indulging in his favourite post-race meal of 20 chicken nuggets, a sausage roll, caramel shortbread and a large strawberry milkshake.