Your bicycle helmet is an incredible piece of engineering. These days helmets are lighter, stronger, and getting safer all the time. But they have one big drawback. The majority of bicycle helmets are single impact. That means as soon as you take a hit to the helmet you should throw away the helmet and get a new one.
While the possibility of a multi impact helmet is very appealing, there are a number of hurdles in the way. But as materials improve, so do the chances of multi impact helmets becoming main stream. For now, they are somewhat limited, but Kali is taking full advantage of the technology for the new MacDuff dirt jump and BMX helmet…
In order to make the multi impact helmet a reality, Kali’s Brad Waldron enlisted the help of an Italian company that makes a product called Casidion. Instead of EPS foam, Casidion is an acrylic based material laced with carbon nano tubes. The material is not only better for multiple impacts, but also has great characteristics for temperature resistance, impact dispersion, high frequency impacts, and reducing the weight and thickness of the helmet.
On the cut away samples the standard EPS helmet (bottom left) was impacted once and shows a big compaction in the EPS foam under the ABS shell. Alternatively, the helmet built with Casidion (bottom right), was impacted 10 times in the exact same spot and shows no wear other than some scuffs on the ABS shell.
So why not use Casidion for all helmets? For starters, Brad says the nature of the material makes it very difficult to build in helmet vents. Kali is experimenting all the time, but for now the material is reserved for helmets with few vents, or as a supplemental material in addition to the EPS for helmets like their Tava road helmet. In that case, Casidion was used to reduce the thickness and profile of the helmet, while still providing the same level of protection. The Tava is still single impact, but it’s thinner and smaller than it would be if it was a full EPS construction.
A long time in the making, the MacDuff helmet is just about ready. Named after Matt MacDuff who was thrust into the spotlight for his recent attempt at the Loop of Doom, the helmet should be a perfect companion for those who may frequently hit the deck. Still shown in preproduction form at Interbike, the finished product will look like the one above but with a higher level of finish. Even with the difficulty of building vents into Casidion, the MacDuff still has two vents front and rear plus the large spoked vent on the top of the helmet for ventilation.
Built with the Nano Core liner, ABS shell, and a PC underwrap, the helmet has a claimed weight of 475g, though Brad says it could be made lighter in the future. Offered in three shell sizes, additional fit adjustments can be made by swapping out thinner or thicker anti-microbial pads. Pricing and availability TBA.