Short Name, Big Technology

The following article is from Parts Magazine.  For more behind the scenes brand stories check out more articles from our friends at Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties here.

Short Name, Big Technology
The science behind a helmet brand

Written by Beth Dolgner

Sometimes, even the smallest word or name can express something big. When it comes to brands, it’s hard to find a name shorter than 6D, but that simple name conveys a lot about the company and its approach to helmet design.

Three-dimensional movement in space includes movement across the X, Y and Z axes. Known as the Cartesian coordinate system, this movement through space is known to engineers as “6 Degrees of Freedom,” or simply “6DoF.”

It’s easy to see where the name “6D” came from, but what does that engineering term have to do with helmets? It’s a nod to the way 6D helmets are designed. The 6DoF principle is put into practice with what the team at 6D has termed its Omni-Directional Suspension, or ODS.

ODS is implemented in every helmet made by 6D, including its off-road, street and bicycle helmets.

The short explanation of how ODS works is that it enhances a helmet’s ability to respond dynamically to impacts. Perhaps an even simpler way of looking at it is to think of ODS as suspension for a rider’s head. In the event of an impact, ODS reduces energy transfer to the brain, from low-velocity impacts all the way up to high-velocity impacts.

6D accomplishes this by using a suspended dual-liner design in its helmets, which can displace energy and shear in any direction. In other words, the design allows for that “6 Degrees of Freedom.” This energy-deflecting design also assists with reducing rotational impacts, something that is definitely getting a lot of attention right now in the powersports world.

To test just how effective ODS is, 6D turned to a sport where head injuries have been a hot topic in recent years: the NFL. The NFL hosted an engineering challenge to discover a higher level of energy management material—something that could effectively absorb and deflect the energy of an impact. 6D won the competition, and the NFL’s third-party testing and validation of the effectiveness of ODS has had a monumental impact on the company.

Samples of the winning material from Head Health Challenge III, a partnership between NIST, Under Armour, GE and the NFL. (Photo by Webber & Stoughton/NIST)

Parts Unlimited carries 5 6D helmet models. In the off-road division, the ATR-1 and ATR-2 Moto helmets are designed with features like increased clavicle clearance, a sternum pad and emergency release cheek pads. The shells are a proprietary blend of advanced carbon fiber, composite fiberglass and Kevlar. The ATR-2Y features the same great quality and features, but it is designed for youth riders.

The ATS-1R is a street helmet with a 3K carbon fiber shell, ample intake ports for enhanced airflow and an aerodynamic wing that reduces drag, buffeting and lift at higher speeds. For bicycle and E-MTB riders, the ATB-2T is a helmet featuring exceptional airflow, an integrated sunglasses dock and a lightweight yet strong polycarbonate shell.

Talk to your Parts rep to learn more about the advanced technology in every 6D helmet. You can find them in the Helmet & Apparel and E-Bike Catalogs.


1 comment

  • Lane

    I have a ats 2. I’ll have to look up the model. But it fits great but when riding it tend to roll down. Like the helment is rolling down towards my chin. An the visor starts blocking my view. Is there any padding adjustment available to help with this

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