The days of the “bathrobe approach” to helmet fitting may be numbered. What’s that? That’s what KAV refers to the idea of purchasing one of a few sizes of bicycle helmets, and then cinching it down to fit your head. Instead, they claim to offer a better fit – through 3D printing, of course.
Like HEXR and Kupol, KAV is utilizing the magic of 3D printing to create the next generation of cycling helmets. However, each company is going about their helmet construction in completely different ways.
KAV is taking what they’ve learned through making a 3D printed custom hockey helmet, and applying that to the world of bicycles. Most notably, the KAV helmet is 3D printed using a proprietary TPE they claim to be 20% lighter, 50% stronger, and “attenuates impacts better than EPS foam.” This actually allows the helmet to flex under impact, returning to its original form afterwards.
KAV not only claims that the honeycomb TPE stucture “crumples and shears to reduce linear and angular accelerations to the head,” but it also makes for a more durable helmet that can survive being dropped, bumped, or shuffled around your car or garage. KAV states that their helmet exceeds CPSC test standards.
Further claims include being lighter and more aerodynamic than competitors. Those claims stem from the fact that a custom fit helmet can be made smaller on average, which means less material and up to a 14% smaller frontal cross section. KAV doesn’t provide any data to back up the aero claims on their Kickstarter, however.
There are also few details on what the final product will look like on the inside. It’s not clear if there will be any padding inside, but KAV does mention that it will be adjustable to fit a cycling cap underneath, or make small changes to the fit. That seems to imply there will be some sort of fit system, though no details are provide.
Ventilation is provide through the honeycomb structure down the center of the helmet, while the sides and back of the helmet claim to provide more protection than your average road helmet.
KAV plans to send out a fit kit to customers that will be used in conjunction with a ‘fit technician’ to help measure your head and get the perfect fit. Then a machine learning algorithm is said to map your specific measurements against their head scan database to create a virtual head rendering. From this rendering, your custom helmet file is created, printed out, hand finished, and sent back to you.
Currently offered through a fully backed Kickstarter campaign, the KAV helmets start at $275 for the limited Launch Special, which is $100 off the MSRP of $375.