£299 via hexr.com
In the current climate, there's a big demand for more PPE for the staff of the NHS and you will find stories of companies and individuals using 3D technology to help with supplies such as face masks. It's definitely showing the capability and adaptability 3D printing gives you. HEXR has decided to make bike helmets with their printers and they offered to customise one for us...
The 3D Process
It was a combination of curiosity and excitement when we opened up the box that HEXR sent us. Inside was an iPad with a funky camera attachment, a 'swimming' cap and a couple of guides to take you through the process. Now we say 'swimming' cap because you kinda' need to green (cap was blue) screen your head so the app can scan with precise accuracy the dimensions of your skull without taking in your hairstyle as a factor! Also, you need a friend or a partner to help you with the whole process as Mrs NITP was drafted in to assist. Her job was to walk around me whilst following the app instructions. This too took a good few times as the outcome images were more like the elephant man than a true reflection of how big my head actually is!
The resulting videos were like something out of a sci-fi about cloning (is that what you really do with the data HEXR?!) or you could mistake us for a Greek philosopher especially with the size of our beard at the time!
The turnaround is roughly 4-8 weeks, our helmet arrival was somewhere in between. First impression was slightly mixed if we're being honest, very slick and stealth in the standard black (I do believe you can now negotiate colours with HEXR). The design was surprisingly a little bulky, that could of been down to the size of my head! There's a little assembling to do too, you do have to attach the tightening dial at the rear of the helmet. One feature we didn't realise it came with was these 2 side ports to put your sunglasses but it's only compatible with certain brands/models, best to ask HEXR for a the list.
The fit is perfect. Really is. We've worn the helmet on a good few rides now and there's hardly any movement or any comfort issues. It really is a well made helmet and we forgot to mention that is made from 100% renewable materials. Plus, they are made to order so there's no stock left on shelves. Underneath the smooth exterior lies the tech'. It includes a type of honeycomb construction which HEXR says this cellular style structure consists of the highest crush strength to weight ratio, good to know if you're a chopper!
The unique design does stand out next to our Catlike and Giro helmets (3 helmets too many?!), slick coating with a main air vent at the rear, it's a design that'll turn head whilst riding and with ex-pro Simon Gerrans sporting one, HEXR has already got some pedigree.
First ride out was on a damp misty weekend morning with Chris into Berkshire, had to wear a thermal cap underneath though due to the cold air. With my other helmets, wearing a cap underneath means loosening up the dial at the back a little meaning the helmet is not snug on my head. Maybe because you have to wear a 'swimming cap' through the scanning process but the HEXR seems to cope with our personal issue well.
As you can tell from the photos, we had a bit of splatter from the road and we have cleaned it since then before anyone criticises our cleaning qualities. The slick outer shell does make cleaning relatively easy with a quick wipe rather than having to dive into the multiple air vents with other types of helmets.
From an aesthetic point of view, we felt that the HEXR looks well with more bulky choice of glasses which makes sense why brands such as Oakley are compatible with the side glasses ports. Again, just a personal opinion.
I think it's one of those purchases where money is no issue or it's the ultimate Christmas gift. If you approached someone to sell them a helmet and told them it would cost them near £300, you'd get one shocked look. But break it down. It's a 3D custom made helmet comprised from 100% renewable materials. You can also get your name/club printed on the helmet (we missed the boat on this aspect!) and HEXR are starting to offer a range of different colours too. It's a helmet for life, your life, you wouldn't be able to pass this on as the helmet dimensions are obviously yours. We're warming to it a bit more with each ride and we do recommend getting the right matching sunglasses too. The 3D and sustainable markets are growing and HEXR saw an opportunity to combine the two to give you a premium custom made helmet so if your clothing draw is made up of Castelli and co. and your bike costs more than a 2 week holiday in the Maldives, you might as well treat yourself...