The FIM is getting into the helmet certification game, creating a new protocol – as part of the FIM Racing Homologation Programme (FRHP) – to test helmets that are worn in FIM-sanctioned motorcycle races. Previously, the FIM had relied upon domestic testing criteria, such as DOT standards in the United States, ECE standards in Europe, and SG/JIS standards in Japan. With those standards varying in how they test motorcycle helmets though, the FIM Technical and Circuit Racing Commissions saw a need to create a single unifying helmet crash test protocol that will be used at any event the FIM sanctions, starting in the year 2019. The FIM isn’t rocking the boat too much though, and will still us an oblique crash test for its testing methodology.
With RevZilla joining forces with Cycle Gear and Motorcycle USA shutting down this week, it has been a busy month for the business side of the motorcycle industry. Now we have more news to report, as BRG Sports, owner of the Bell Helmets brand, has sold its action sports business to Vista Outdoor.
The move adds some of the BRG Sport brands: Bell Helmets, Giro, Blackburn, and C-Preme, into Vista Outdoor already extensive lineup of impressive outdoor and shooting brands, such as Bollé, Bushnell, CamelBak, and Federal Premium.
Every year Arai Helmet comes out with a highly coveted limited edition lid for the Isle of Man TT; and each year has a different design, with the latest crop coming from the studio of Aldo Drudi.
This year’s design comes on the Arai Corsair-X, a helmet we were very impressed with when we tested it at Thunder Hill last year.
As you can see from the photos, Drudi has emblazoned the Corsair-X helmet with the “TT” logo, as well as the island nation’s Triskelion symbol, which is of three running legs. “Ellan Vannin” is of course the native Manx name for the Isle of Man.
Are you ready for another post about helmets, especially one with integrated technology? Sure you are, Sparky – and you will be happy to learn about this collaboration between Bell Helmets and a company called 360fly. Like the Nikon KeyMission video camera, 360fly’s system captures everything around the rider in 4k video resolution, and then creates a video that can be viewed from an immersive virtual-reality perspective. Thanks to a built-in GPS, altimeter/barometer, and accelerometer, the 360fly system is capable of overlaying telemetry data into its video, among a variety of other features. What really separates the unit from the rest though is what is in the pipeline from 360fly.
Another release by BMW Motorrad at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the German company says it is working on a motorcycle helmet with an integrated heads-up display (HUD), thus responding to the call for more advanced helmet technology. BMW already has this technology in its automotive wings, using an optional HUD system that is projected onto the interior of a vehicles windshield. Now BMW seems to be taking a page from other players in the helmet space, and is looking to bring HUD technology to its motorcycle offerings with the help of California-based company DigiLens. From BMW Motorrad and Digilens, we know that the HUD helmet concept uses waveguide optics to holographically project the information onto the lens in front of the rider’s eye.
With major changes to the technical regulations for MotoGP in 2016, it has taken some time for the FIM to produce a new and revised version of the rulebook. The first provisional version was made available today, the new rules bringing together all of the new rules agreed over the past few years into a single set of regulations. Most of the new rules have already been written about during the year, but putting them into a single rulebook helped clarify them greatly. The biggest changes are to the technical regulations. The abolition of the Open class means everyone is back on a single set of rules. Or rather, nearly everyone. There are still two types of manufacturers: manufacturers subject to the standard rules, and manufacturers who have not yet had sufficient success, and therefore have been granted a number of concessions.
Jorge Lorenzo’s helmet issues through the 2015 season have finally caused him to switch brands. The Spaniard today announced he has signed a contract for the next three seasons with the French helmet maker Shark.
Shark have a long history in MotoGP and World Superbikes, having supplied many top riders such as Olivier Jacque, Carl Fogarty, Randy De Puniet, and Troy Corser.
They currently support Aleix Espargaro, Johann Zarco, the Lowes twins Alex and Sam, Tom Sykes, Sylvain Guintoli, Scott Redding and Miguel Oliveira, among others. As such, Shark is an established name in motorcycle racing and a known quantity.
Most Asphalt & Rubber readers are aware of Skully, the San Francisco startup that is making a helmet with an integrated heads-up-display (HUD), and many A&R readers are also aware that Skully is now officially late in delivering its maiden product to the masses.
Finally acknowledging the tardiness to its 2,000 or so early-adopting customers, Skully has released a video (after the jump) explaining its activities, and that the company is on-track for its new delivery date, before the end of the year – or as they say in marketing speak: just in time for Christmas.
Of course we knew back in late-2013, when Skully first announced its helmet, that there was no way the company was going to hit its delivery promise for 2014, though now the company seems in good stead for its new 2015 promise, with an actual office in SF, a deal with Flextronics to make the augmented reality portion of the helmet, and manufacturing tooled-up.
One visor to rule them all, that’s the dream of many motorcyclists that enjoy tinted visors during the day, but want an easy “clear” option for night-time riding. Thankfully, some solutions have emerged from the motorcycle helmet industry, namely transitional visors (as seen from Bell Helmets), which change tint based on the ambient light. Another technology is electrochromatics, which tints the glass or plastic by applying an electrical current. Helmet startup Skully features this technology on its now vaporware AR-1 helmet design. Add respected helmet manufacturer AGV to the mix now, as the Italian company debuted its LCD-based AGVisor system in Switzerland last week, though with little fanfare.
The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America has published a study titled “Aeroacoustic Sources of Motorcycle Helmet Noise” in which the various frequencies and decibel levels of helmet-generated noise were measured and tested, I became very interested in the study’s findings. Conducted by the University of Bath and Bath Spa University in England, the researchers performed a very intuitive test where they placed a mannequin’s head in a wind tunnel, turned on the wind, and recorded the sound volume and frequency at various points in and around the helmet. The conclusion was that at even normal legal riding speeds, deafening levels of sound were reaching the eardrum, primarily due to the chin bar on the helmet.