All photos c. Craig “Stikman” Glaspell

Let’s be honest, most of us will never come anywhere near the run Cam Zink just pulled this past weekend at RedBull Rampage, but that doesn’t mean we can’t benefit from it. Not only do we get the pleasure of watching riders like Cam pull insane tricks, but technology developed to protect riders of his caliber can eventually trickle down into every day products for you and me. Technology like that found in Cam’s prototype Troy Lee Designs D3 helmet which featured an extra layer of EPS foam that was applied to the outside of the helmet. Zink has a history of going big off the Oakley Icon sender, so Troy wanted to try out an idea he has been working on for a while.

The idea is that strategically located layers of EPS were added to common impact areas on the outside of the helmet to help absorb extra energy before it reaches the rider’s head. We are very glad Zink didn’t have a chance to test it out (we were on the edge of our seats watching the live feed), but in testing TLD says it reduces the amount of impact energy dramatically. Don’t expect to see this for sale any time soon, but it is something that TLD is working on for the guys who go big!

Want to see the backflip that earned Zink Best Trick? See it and a sneak peek of the new 2014 Sprint Race Wear after the break!



The green and yellow kit will be available for 2014 and includes the all new race pant specifically designed for MTB, BMX, and Freeride. Coming in a half pound lighter than their previous pant, the new design will be available this February. Note the additional EPS foam on the sides and top of the helmet.

Rampage 2013_ZINK_By AleDiLullo-8476

Just after Kyle Strait aired off the Oakley Icon Sender with another suicide no hander for the win, Cam put down this run that basically ended with the biggest backflip on his Hyper DH bike anyone seems to have seen, ever. We’re assuming that if Zink had finished the run without getting off track he probably would have won, but who can blame him? Even still, Zink managed to roll out with 3rd place, and best trick.

That wasn’t the only massive backflip at Rampage either. Check back tomorrow for a special Red Bull Rampage Friday Shredits, and Kelly McGarry’s huge 72 foot canyon gap backflip!


  1. Glad he and strait had safe flights off that sender as well as mcgarry’s and brendog’s gaps. Healing vibes to Mark and Logan.

  2. I almost couldn’t watch Zinc’s run I was so nervous for him. Huge progression by all riders at this year’s Rampage. Nice to see “big mountain” riding making a comback.

  3. I’m not convinced with the idea. According to Troy Lee, he got inspired by car racing helmets, which are already getting these prosthetic foam attachments to help dissipate the impact force. But the first argument against that idea I can think of is that in car racing there’s almost no chance of hitting the pavement/terrain with your head. In MTB, and especially in such a harsh venue as the Rampage location is, you want the helmet to slip over the obstacles rather than getting hung on them. These foam inserts look pretty much destined to be caught by a rock or something like that… It’s like taking the whole MIPS idea and going as far in the opposite direction as you can…

    • @WG, we are NEVER paid by a company to write anything. Period. Is it a stretch to think that advanced protection that is experimented with the best riders in the world could someday be seen on standard helmets? Or is it hard to believe that I was genuinely excited to see Rampage as I have been since I first saw it back around 2003? If you can look at any of the absolutely huge tricks pulled at this year’s Rampage and not be at least a little impressed, then sorry, move along I guess.

  4. Luiggi – If what you surmise is correct, then it seems like there is a trade off between protecting the brain from impacts versus protecting the neck from being torqued due to the padding catching an obstacle.

    I guess one needs to decide which injury is more likely, and design accordingly.

  5. @Luiggi the EPS was coated with a slippery epoxy coating, next versions for testing will have polycarbonate shell. They were also attached in a fashion that were designed to break away upon initial impact.

  6. @Ilikeicedtea: MIPS works by dissipating part of the energy of the crash in a tangential way rather than absorbing it in a radial manner as old-fashioned EPS foam does. It takes into account the fact that almost no impact in our sport (or many others) is purely radial, but with heavy tangential components. This means not only less damage to the neck, but also less energy reaching the skull/brain. Neck braces are meant to avoid spinal cord damages, not helmets.

    @stikman, thanks for making this clear! I found several sites showing Zink’s helmet and its particularities, but none of them mentioned those two important facts. I guessed the EPS attachments were meant to break away in the event of a crash, but they seemed way too much of an obstacle rather than a way to better dissipate the stress.

  7. This competition devolves from testing who has better bike handling skills and big balls to who has more numbed nuts.

    Back flipping from a ten story building just is not mountain bike riding anymore.

    In my book – guys who did the upper portion better are the best riders. It is scary alright, just not dumb.

  8. Hence the ongoing debate over dirt and wood features. .

    I agree with Mindless about the top section. Those loose drop ins take nerve, nuts and lines change slightly every time someone loosens em up. Wood looks really good on camera.
    Renner handing over his cap was priceless too.

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