In 2013 pro motocross racer Zack Bell experienced one of the most harrowing crashes the industry and its fans would see all year. It happened at the Dallas Supercross event where Bell was making his 250SX debut. He was leading his heat race and launching off a triple when it all went wrong and he found himself soaring through the air sans-bike, then landing hard on the dirt-covered concrete track. Those in the stands were sure Bell's career and possibly his life were over. So, you can imagine the shock when he got up and walked away.
In most any other case, Bell likely would have suffered a major head injury. But on that day, he just happened to be wearing a 6D Advanced Imact Defense helmet designed by someone who knows all too well the daily dangers that competitive bike racers face. Former pro dirt bike rider and industry executive Bob Weber had come to believe that the most popular motorcycle helmets simply weren't doing their job -and for a reason that may seem counterintuitive. He argues that today's helmets are actually too hard to be effective.
Instead, his 6D helmet, considered the first comprehensive revision to the motorcycle helmet in half a century, features a moveable interior liner that absorbsand disperses the energy created during a crash. It operates similarly to an automobile's crumple zone. This revolutionary move helps to protect riders primarily from concussions and brain injuries that commonly occur in lower-speed accidents and could impact not just dirt bike racing, but other sports as well, including football, snowboarding and equestrian sports.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and Weber's 6D already has one copycat. Bell, the nation's leadinghelmet company, admits its new Moto-9 Flex helmet was inspired by 6D's innovation. Weber doesn't mind the competition at all.
"They've got way more money and bigger distribution capability and more marketing funds — and they priced their helmet $100 less than our helmet," Weber told reporters. "But the helmet industry has been asleep at the wheel for years about this issue. So I welcome them to the market."
There's certainly plenty in the way of market opportunity with both competitive sports and recreaational activities involving helmets. For instance, statistics show there upward of 10 million to 12 million motorcycle riders in the US. About half of the states have mandatory, universal helmet laws for adults and most require them for children and young adults.
We here at E3 Spark Plugs welcome any new technologies proven to keep racers, riders and drivers safe. Do you use a 6D or Moto-9 Flex helmet? Post your thoughts on the E3 Spark Plugs Facebook Fan Page.