There have been a number of improvements to helmet safety lately, but one thing has remained mostly constant – the EPS foam liners. Sure, some companies are using multiple densities of EPS foam or combining with EPP foam for multi-impact protection, but an energy absorbing foam layer has been a part of bicycle helmet design for ages. Kupol is trying something different. Much different.
Thanks to the use of 3D printing, Kupol says that they have been able to create helmet structures not previously possible with traditional manufacturing methods. That has allowed them to create what they call the Kollide Safety System – a three layer sandwich of safety and comfort. On the ouside of the helmet you have the shell which covers the Kinetic Bumpers (above, green). These softer outer bumpers help absorb impact before it reaches the middle 3D Kore.
The Kore is printed to be both light, and structurally sound but in a way that will collapse in a controlled manner during a crash. This Kore also allows for a unique aeration ability since the structure has tiny air holes throughout – which makes the whole thing ventilated, not just the vents.
Then, on the inside there are over 100 Oktopus pods which are flexible pods that conform to your head shape, supposedly for a comfortable fit. The three layers work together to absorb impacts while also mitigating rotational forces in a breathable, comfortable way.
Kupol says that their helmet has passed the CPSC/CE impact testing, but they point out that it can’t be certified until they have pre-production units in hand. And since the helmets are being launched through Kickstarter, it seems that it won’t be fully certified until the Kickstarter is successful and they have the ability to start production.
Since the helmets will be 3D printed, Kupol is able to offer more shell sizes since all it takes is a different file, not different molds. In total, six sizes will be available covering a wide range of head shapes.
Currently, there is one model planned with a removable visor. Presumably, the 3D printing aspect would allow them to easily change the design for different versions in the future. At this point, no weights are provided.
Offered in multiple colors, helmets start at the early bird pledge price of $155, and then will go up to $234, with a final retail price expected to be around $310. Delivery isn’t expected until June 2019, which is a pretty long time to be without a helmet – but if you’re already riding you probably have one that will work in the mean time.