More than “just safe”: why is rotational protection so important for sports helmets?

A clear answer to a complex issue

Rotational protection for sports helmets, especially for bicycle helmets, is a hotly debated topic. Why? If a fall occurs when cycling regardless of whether it happens to a road cyclist, a mountain biker or an e-biker it can often happen that the blow to the head comes obliquely from the side, not vertically. In addition, the blow to the skull is not usually at one point but the skull instead rolls on impact thus creating a rotational effect as the skull rotates along with the brain inside it. The brain is thus exposed to an even greater risk of injury as the stress loading on the brain mass is greater on impact. And the greater the stress, the higher the risk of concussion or severe brain damage.

The risks of rotational stress to the skull have been known to researchers since the 1950s, but only now is the industry seriously considering possible solutions. Certified testing has in any case demonstrated that helmets can be equipped with additional technologies and thus provide better protection.

Our goal however was to develop a helmet that better absorbs the linear forces and whose own structure can counteract the risk of injury in the event of a rotational impact, without the need for additional technology. The unique honeycomb structure (our HexaGo technology) and the special elastomer known as H.E.A.P. (High Energy Absorption Polymer), developed in collaboration with SEVENTWENTY, mean the helmet core is softer and more elastic than the expanded polystyrene (EPS) used in conventional helmets: on impact it can deform three-dimensionally in all directions. This also protects the head from rotational forces, thus shielding it in any impact situation. The SEVENTWENTY helmet is therefore undoubtedly the best solution for all those who really want to get out pedalling in safely.

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