6D ODS Internals (2)

In recent years, it has become increasingly apparent that concussions can cause irreparable damage to the brain. So in order to help mitigate the potential damage from head impacts, helmet manufacturer 6D has developed a new patent pending technology that uses an in-helmet suspension system to help limit angular acceleration.

Their system, called Omni Directional Suspension (ODS) utilizes a dual liner, which is supported internally by a series of hourglass shaped elastomers.

6D ODS Internals (3)

The inner-liner is tuned for lower speed impacts below 120 Gs, while the thicker outer-liner is designed to protect against life threatening high energy impacts.

6D ODS Internals (1)

The ODS elastomers serve a dual purpose, providing both damping in an accident, and acting as a “slip plane” (to borrow a phrase from MIPS) to reduce angular acceleration.

6D Mountain Bike Helmet

The helmets have been available for motocross for some time, but the company debuted the new bike specific version at Interbike. Dubbed the ATB-1, the helmet exceeds ASTM DH, CPSC, and CFR standards, and is roughly half a pound lighter than the DOT version.

6D Helmet Port

Other features include Eject compatibility, quick release cheek pads, and a ton of ventilation ports. The helmet will be available in three colors, sizes XS-L, and will retail for an eye watering $725.

Learn more about the technology at 6D Helmets.


  1. Can such a small bit of travel make much of a difference? That brain is still going to hit the inner skull at speed.

    I ask because I remember football helmets from 29 years ago having quite a bit of “squish” or travel built into the pads. Progressive padding and controlled air. But those were not the solution to the football concussion issue.



  2. A lot of factors in preventing head injuries… it’s a good start to build in suspension. I’m with you Mr. P on the football reference. In HS we had air bladders in the football helmets but it was crude at best. Football helmets are much larger now. Maybe this is the answer… I have no idea.

  3. In case of a crash you must either absorb energy or you direct it. The key here is the slip plane it allows the inner pad to rotate free of the outer in the case of a big hit. For small hits the air space and cushion are probably enough.

  4. While the price may indeed seem high, I used to race Formula Fords in the late 80s and my Bell star cost an un believable $380.00! After I went into the barriers at over 100 mph and looked at the damage to my helmet I thought, well that helmet was a bargain at twice the price!

  5. @Mr. P: One of the issues with football helmets is that the more protective they are, ie. the more impact they will absorb before reaching the injury threshold, the more players tend to abuse that protection by ramming things harder with their heads. This has lead to what may be a zero sum game, or, some have proposed, negative returns. There is even a paradox where wearing no football helmet leads to more soft tissue injuries and lacerations, but fewer concussions. I don’t think that there is likely to be much of a similar effect with bike riders, although there may be some uneducated riders who ride beyond their limits simply because they are wearing a helmet.

    Regarding the brain still hitting the skull at full speed, there is a certain acute g load that the unprotected head can take without this occurring due to the brains natural cushioning system. The goal of any good (concussion rather than purely skull fracture oriented) helmet is to push this number up beyond what you are likely to encounter in normal bike use. I would say they definitely help, but as to how high this or any other maker has raised this raised the “concussion free crash severity threshold”, we need more independent data to say.

    @Mario, this differs from MIPS in 2 ways. First, all implementations of MIPS I have seen install the slip plane against the riders head (most common) or between two hard outer shells (only on POC full face models to my knowledge). This setup occurrs between two layers of EPS.

    Second, MIPS is purely a slip plane, whereas this also has the capacity to function as a kind of mini shock absorber. It kind of reminds me of the way rubber engine mounts work in a car.

  6. @Mr. P Also note that these concepts are used to reduce torsional acceration/deceleration.
    Imagine that your head hits the ground and tries to rotate 10 degrees in a short time. With this design, most of the twist would be transferred to the elastomer first, then to the head at the rate that the elastomer “snapped back” (or destroyed themselves, or maybe inter layer friction traps the energy until after impact).

  7. 1. Helment hits object. 2. Head (skull) hits helment. 3. Brain hits skull. The goal should be to absorb as much energy as possible in steps one and two, minimizing the hit taken by the brain. It’s the same concept employed in the design of modern racing cars (think Indycar). When one of those cars hits the wall at 200mph there’s usually a massive amount of damage to the car, carbon flying everywhere. That’s energy being absorbed. That’s by design. Let the car take the hit, not the driver.
    I’m thrilled that helment makers are now doing a little innovating to make their products safer. Current models are just stiff stiff stiff – great for big hits…and transferring energy to the head. This one looks good, like those little elastomers will absorb the little hits.

  8. @ Randall, that is really good point about the return rate of the elastomers. Mips uses some sort of elastic strips to connect the 2 slip planes, so this may be a factor with either design. The other thing to consider is that in anything other than a pure rotational event, the area around several of these elastomers will receive some crushing and deformation from the blunt impact, which may effect their rebounding too.

What do you think?

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