The Future of Helmets

2015 could be the Year of the Helmet.

In the past two decades since in-mould hardshell construction has become commonplace in helmets like the Giro Hammerhead, the only other design feature to have a comparable influence on helmet construction has been the RocLoc strap, an auxiliary support that snugs under the wearer’s occipital bone. The RocLoc, largely copied by all the major brands, greatly increased the range of head sizes and shapes that could be adequately worn by a single helmet mould. But on a high-end helmet costing more than $200, a fit that is just adequate isn’t enough. It’s not a problem that can be solved by adding more sizes of moulds, because the shape of each mould must be based on an assumption of what a normal head shape is. If you’ve ever tried on a bunch of helmet brands, you’ve doubtlessly noticed that the various brands each have a slightly different idea what the average cranium is shaped like, and obviously not all riders would be represented by a normalized shape.

The solution is to manufacture the helmet precisely for each individual rider. A rider would be precisely fitted for a helmet within seconds with laser precision, and that information stored in a digital format that is later used to accurately modify a foam helmet liner during the manufacturing process to fit a rider’s head (imagine something akin to CNC machining). This would avoid the cost of additional moulds, but since the fitting would be stored as digital information, it could be easily reproduced if a rider should need to replace the helmet in the future. It could even be applied to different types of helmets (think maybe full-face downhill and aero-road helmet).

From a manufacturing and marketing viewpoint, this would have been impossible twenty years ago, but this is already happening now…in motorsports division of Bell helmets. By the end of 2015, Bell and/or its sister company Giro will be offering this for their high-end road helmets.



Huggacast Shorts: Pivot Vault CX


A slideshow from the Pivot CX photos, taken with a Sony A7R, and of a bike we recommend.



Pivot CX with the Vault

Pivot in the Trees

Pivot this bike in the trees

I had only a few short rides on the Vault before Pivot needed it back for their demo fleet. During those rides, what I noticed was a bike that would do most anything, and go anywhere. Glance down at the tubes and they look overbuilt, thick. The frame is designed for stiffness and durability. The spec didn’t bring out the best in the bike. It was like going to a gourmet burger joint and on the table is Heinz ketchup and mustard when you’re expecting a chipotle aioli. Pivot is smart though, they built the Vault up practically, and at a reasonable $3,599 MSRP. I’d liven up the ride by swapping out parts from the stock FSA kit with Stan’s wheels. Put those on the “B” bike.

What attracted me to Pivot, a MTB brand, for CX is the work they’ve done with MTBs. If you’ve been following my return to the mountain, I’ve been on many high-end bikes, including their all-new Mach 4. I rode the Mach 4 at PressCamp 14, and noted the details.

Di2 Battery

Ready for Di2

The frame design anticipated Di2 with thoughtful cable routing, and battery insert. You’ll find the same thoughtfulness on the Vault, as seen here with the in-stay brake placement.

TRPs

Spec’d with TRPs

To the TRPs, they’re much better than mechanicals, and have never been recalled! If I had more time with the Vault, I’m sure I’d discover the nuances in handling. What it does bombing down a gravel hill, or dropping into a mud pit, and out the other side.

For now, it’s a recommend bike, and really one that’s distinctive, like all of Pivot’s dirt bikes. I was sad to see it go so soon.

More photos of the Vault are on G+ and Instagram.



TL;DR

TLDR

Too Long; Didn’t Ride or Too Short Didn’t, Ride

I was explaining micropublishing to writer and colleague David Quigg and finally said, “Here, TL;DR,” with this blockquote

Oh, right, our role: we are carving out a new, deeper niche for Bike Hugger. Our goal is to serve the under-served audience, one that seeks higher quality information and wants to be free of advertiser and retail bias. We write about what we ride, wear, and like. And we expect you to pay for the service.

from a Medium post I wrote about our magazine. Being the very literal person he is, got this reply and drawing…

TL;DR made me think of “Too Long; Didn’t Ride™,” which could either be the basis for A) an app featuring short but great crowd-sourced cycling routes for busy people or B) a T-shirt for long-distance cyclists (see attached terrible sketch).

That terrible sketch may lead to a new startup!



BMW i3 at the USA ProChallenge

The BMW i3 is at the USA Pro Challenge this week and that’s the 1st time an EV has been in a bike race caravan and allowed in a UCI Race. Here’s the Edmunds video review of the electric Bimmer and I’m working on more details of this story.

Also sure the racers appreciate not breathing smog from a tailpipe….



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