KAV launches 3D printed bike helmet for consumer market
From the ice to the roads, Californian startup KAV has expanded its range of protective gear today with the launch of a 3D printed bike helmet. The new product follows the company’s original release last year: a custom 3D printed helmet for ice hockey.
The KAV Bike Helmet, developed using a combination of additive manufacturing, material science and software, offers cyclists a custom solution for their head protection needs. Compared to conventional foam helmets, KAV’s 3D printed one is slimmer—helping to reduce drag. It also provides more coverage while still being lightweight. Perhaps most importantly, however, is the fact that it is made-to-measure.
According to the startup, customers are sent a fit kit with which they submit a series of measurements. KAV’s machine learning algorithm then generates a virtual model of the customer’s head to base the helmet sizing on. The tailored helmet is then built using 3D printing technology and finished by hand.
“Despite a market where every aspect of the cycling from gearing to saddle position is tuned for maximum performance, cyclists have had to settle for a few sizes fits all mentality to protect the most important part of the body,” said Whitman Kwok, CEO of KAV. “The KAV Bike Helmet continues our tradition of creating a helmet that’s uncompromising in performance and protection, made possible by our made-to-measure fabrication technology. My KAV replaces and bests my previous aero helmet and my vented road helmet while the additional occipital coverage is perfect for providing extra protection for my gravel adventures.”
The 3D printed helmet is based on KAV’s hex-based compression structure, which is designed to maximize airflow around the head as well as absorb impact. This structure is not unlike the one used in the hockey helmets, but it has been optimized for cycling. Specifically, the energy management system is designed to minimize the linear and angular accelerations of cycling accidents—while the hockey helmet is designed to resist multiple collisions.
The new sporting product is made using FDM 3D printing and a new proprietary polymer, which is more lightweight than the KAV hockey helmet TPU and can absorb the higher velocity impacts of cycling. KAV has also updated its slicer program for the development of the bike helmet, which it says will also enhance the quality of its hockey helmet.
The KAV 3D printed cycling helmet will be featured through a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, launching today. Each custom helmet ordered comes with a fit guarantee, a five year warrantee and a crash protection policy.