Sea Otter 2016: 6D Helmets

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Rotational forces on your head are bad, m’kay? Crash impacts tend to have both an impact force on your head and often a rotational force, as you bounce your head down the trail. This rotational force can’t be reduced by the EPS helmet foam that will protect you from impacts and can cause brain damage as the brain sloshes around in your skull.

This movement is what MIPS helmets are designed to reduct, though it’s not the only way of doing it. A relatively new company, 6D helmets has a different way of going about it. It calls it ODS – Omni Directional Suspension.

Instead of having a plastic shell next to your head that can move within the helmet (that can be hot and a little unyielding) its helmets feature two, thinner, EPS foam layers that are separated by a matrix of little rubbery dots. This allows the two layers of foam to move against each other and slow your head – and therefore brain’s – rotation.


The system adds a little extra volume to the helmet, (and about 100g to the weight) but due to running two thinner shells, it’s not actually that much. The two layers are clearly visible and a squidge around can show you how they can move against each other. The helmet weighs in at 480g, which is on the chunky side for an all mountain lid.

Black and blue – hopefully not



6d helmets, ods, sea otter 2016, mips, mountain bike,
The 6D All Mountain helmet looks pretty swish, with little added volume


6d helmets, ods, sea otter 2016, mips, mountain bike,
And here in orange


6d helmets, ods, sea otter 2016, mips, mountain bike,
Visible here are the two thin layers of EPS foam

The helmets are just being released about now and will be available in the UK through Decade Distribution. US price is $269.99.


Singletrack Editor

Chipps wasn’t around for the dawn of mountain biking in the UK, but he likes to claim that he arrived in time for second breakfast (about the time he shows up for work, then…) starting in the bike trade in 1990 and becoming a full time mountain bike journalist at the start of 1994. Over the subsequent quarter century, he has seen mountain bike culture flourish and diversify and bike technology go from rigid steel frames to fully suspended carbon fibre (and sometimes back to rigid steel as well.)

His riding style is best described as ‘medium, wheels on the ground, trail riding’ though he’s been spotted doing everything from endurance downhill racing to 24 hour cross country racing. He favours mid-travel trail bikes and claims to be wheel-size, gear, brake and tyre agnostic. In fact, his garage spans most bicycle flavours, taking in steel hardtails, carbon trail bikes, even a mountain bike tandem, along with road, touring and gravel/cyclocross bikes.

While he’s happy to chat about bikes all day, his real interest is in the people and places that bikes can introduce you to and he talks as fondly about the trails he’s ridden and riders he’s met as the bikes that took him there.

Comments (2)

    I see where you’re coming from, although in my experience (and I’ve ridden a *lot* of helmets over the past 12 months) it’s much less about vent numbers and much, much more about how the air is channeled…

    $269.99 was a misprint right?

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