Did you notice anything odd about the Troy Lee Designs D3 helmet Cam Zink wore during his historic run at Rampage? What on earth were the funky things attached to it? Turns out it's something that could have saved his life if (that's a big if) the Sender backflip had gone wrong.
Curious, we reached out to Troy Lee to get the scoop, and Craig "Stikman" Glaspell filled us in:
Zink’s lid was to test, and luckily he did not have to do real world testing on it. Troy Lee is incessantly concerned for our riders' safety. When we were doing some runs in Whistler during Crankworx, he saw someone crash on the slopestyle course and hit their head, like he has seen many times, which has resulted in the industry standard in safe full-face and trail helmets like the D2, D3 and A1… but this time he wanted to try something more. He said to me "You’re going to think I am crazy, but I want to put an extra layer of EPS on the outside of Zink’s helmet. They are starting to do it in auto racing and currently it's only good for one big impact, but the data shows a huge increase in impact absorbtion. There has to be a way to make it look cool…" I responded with "Yeah, you are crazy" and we went about our day shredding the park (as well as two old dudes can shred).
When we got back to the shop, Troy and Mike David (our resident mad scientist) started tinkering around, talking to the indy and F1 guys that Troy knows, and made some mockups of some strategically placed EPS shaped with TLD styling. We tried a few different applications, sent some to testing and found it to be pretty amazing.
I will admit, it was a really strange dynamic to hand a helmet over to Zink with the intention of extra crash protection, "Here ya go buddy, you are probably gonna crash, so here is a helmet made just for you." But listen, we all know what they are doing at Rampage is the most dangerous bike riding on the planet, or on any planet, so why not? Zink was unable to ride much during the practice days as he was in the hospital with that leg/hip injury, so he opted to just run the prototype D3 in the finals, but it clearly gave him the confidence to attempt and land the worlds biggest backflip.
We are currently working on some samples that could see production that could possibly last through more than one impact, so stay posted to what we are up to. Troy and the design team have always pushed the boundaries and Troy loses sleep at night with an unending pursuit to keep riders safe - it is his life mission, and I admire him like hell for that.
I heard Zink was telling everyone, "It’s like wearing two D3 helmets, so it's like a D6." Haha.
Rampage viewers also got a sneak peak of one our brand new 2014 Sprint racewear colorways, with an entirely new pant we have created for MTB racing, BMX and Freeride. The new sprint pant is about half a pound lighter than our previous pant, has been designed specifically for bicycle riding and will be available in February 2014. Stay posted for a complete launch of the 2014 lineup in January 2014.
So there you have it - further innovation from Troy Lee Designs. What are your thoughts about the strategically placed layers of EPS? How about the looks of the new prototype?