Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute

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The Helmet Update

Volume 42 - #4 - May 29, 2024
Editor: Randy Swart

All issues index

KAV 3D printed helmet tests well

KAV's 3D printed helmets have been on the market now for about 2 years. We bought the Portola: Kaze model and sent it to a test lab. KAV certifies the helmet to the US CPSC standard, but we wanted to know how well the stiff plastic honeycomb performs in lesser drops, corresponding to the level that research has shown correspond to the average bicycle crash.

The test results are back, and they are impressive. In two lower impacts on the flat anvil (most frequent impact surface) the results were on a par with the best EPS foam helmet results we have seen. And at higher CPSC impact levels the performance was also excellent.

This was very limited testing at ambient temperature. CPSC certification requires that hot, cold and wet samples be tested, and includes the curbstone anvil test that we did not use. But it indicates that the stiffness of the printed plastic honeycomb is not excessive in lesser impacts.

KAV says their newest Nova model has softer honeycomb in the inner layer to reduce g's in lesser impacts further and allow more sideways shear to reduce rotational energy. We have ordered one and will send it to the lab for testing. We do not know if these test results would be relevant to other brands of 3D printed helmets.

We have more on KAV and photos of this helmet post-test on our website writeup on KAV.