Next Big Thing Series


Motorcycle helmets and innovation are three words I would not often put together in a sentence – at least, not in an affirmative use. This is because the motorcycle industry is incredibly slow to change, and furthering that regard, helmet manufacturers are at the pinnacle of resistance when it comes to technological progress.

For proof of this, look no further than the modern motorcycle helmet design, which has gone unchanged for over 50 years, and still offers the same basic concept: a hard exterior shell made from plastic or composites, a layer of styrofoam for impact absorption, and a comfort layer for the rider’s head.

In the same duration that motorcycle helmets have remained static in design, we have seen man walk on the moon; the proliferation of personal computers, the internet, and smartphones; and even the Boston Red Sox have overcome the Curse of the Bambino and become World Series champions, not once, but four times.

But yet, we have continued to build helmets the same tired way.

This isn’t because motorcycle helmets have reached some sort of peak design. Instead, this stagnation comes primarily from two factors: first, there is no driving force pushing for increased motorcycle helmet safety and effectiveness (sorry, hardline free market economists); and second, it is incredibly cheap to make a motorcycle helmets in their current forms.

There is however, a day coming when the motorcycle industry will have to reckon with a sea change regarding what goes on our heads when we ride a motorcycle, and that day is coming sooner rather than later.

This next, next big thing in motorcycle helmet technology is the implementation rotational energy mitigation designs and devices, of which at the forefront is the Swedish brand MIPS.

I know what you are already thinking, everyone and their mom already has an action camera. To make matters worse, GoPro (the leader in this realm) has seen its stock price drop in what can only be described as a complete free fall for the past month, thanks mostly to lagging sales.

So, how can action cameras be the next, next big thing in the motorcycle industry? The answer is a simple one, if you will allow me to explain.

The next, next big thing for motorcycles isn’t the cameras themselves – those are basically already at commodity status for consumers – but instead the future for action cameras resides in integrated camera platforms for motorcycles, and other action sports.

There is a lot of business school “bullshit bingo” in that last statement, so let me break it down to you in human-speak.

Motorcycle brands need to realize how consumers are using their vehicles, and adapt to meet those needs directly. In this case, it means offering an integrated video recording solution with their motorcycles.