How many recalls does it take before the NHTSA tells you to get out of the motorcycle helmet business? Well if you’re Advanced Carbon Composites, the answer is five – five motorcycle helmet recalls in a row. For a company that warns buyers away from buying inferior products from China and India, Advanced Carbon Composites (ACC) has had a number of problems with its EXT series (all four of them) of motorcycle helmets, including the helmets failing to meet the basic DOT safety guidelines, which finally lead to the ACC ceasing to produce motorcycle helmets at the behest of the NHTSA.
According to the NY Times, there was first the EXT001, a carbon fiber brain bucket that took new world technology into the old school style of motorcycling…not that there’s anything wrong with that. But the EXT001 had a problem: it didn’t meet safety standards, including puncture resistance, and despite the helmet’s carbon/kevlar construction. The EXT001 was recalled in 2005 and the interior modified, this model was then also re-sold as the EXT002, a move the NTHSA approved.
However upon closer inspection the EXT002 and the modified/recalled EXT001’s also failed to meet the safety standards of the NHTSA, and both were subsequently also recalled by ACC in 2007. Thus the EXT003 was created, which failed NHTSA tests, as did its progeny the EXT004. Five recalls in total later and 17,000 helmets, Advanced Carbon Composites received a notice from the NHTSA, which lead to ACC voluntarily bowing out of the motorcycle helmet business.
Furthermore Kim L. Davis, Advanced Carbon Composites’ President, if forbidden from owning more than 3% in any company that produces motorcycle helmets. Ouch! The NY Times was unable to get a comment from Davis on this story, but the company’s website only lists kayak and white water rafting helmets on its products pages. It should be noted that rafting helmets have no formal testing or certifications process.