Gear

Tech Podcast: The evolution of helmet technology

What's new and cool in bicycle helmets? What's still tried and true? Dan Cavallari is joined by Ben Delaney, Jens Voigt, and more to discuss.


Helmets have come a long way since leather hairnets, or even more minimalist than that, the perfectly coiffed head of hair. While EPS foam has dominated helmet construction for decades now, a new crop of technologies have emerged in recent years to address the types of forces your brain is likely to encounter during a crash. Is EPS destined for the history books? Not quite yet, but it certainly has a lot more company in the helmet materials department these days.

Tech editor Dan Cavallari (@browntiedan on Twitter and Instagram) traveled to New York City in early 2019 to find out more about Bontrager’s Wavecel technology. He sat down with Wavecel’s inventor to find out what makes this green, wavy plastic different than other green, wavy plastics we’ve seen before.

And Jens Voigt chimes in with some of his experiences with head injuries and the evolution of helmets in the pro peloton, recalling what it felt like to embrace the use of helmets early on in his career.

At the top of the show, editorial director Ben Delaney talks about reviewing helmets throughout the years, and what used to make a helmet “good” versus today. The introduction of technologies like MIPS changed the criteria entirely and made us think about head protection differently, yet companies are still hesitant to say their lids are “safer.” Delaney and Cavallari have some ideas as to why that might be the case.