PRODUCT TEST: 6D ATB-1T Helmet
The Safest Trail Helmet Gets a Safety Update
Launched in 2016, the ATB-1T helmet from 6D was widely recognized as the safest 3/4-shell helmet on the market. And while many companies would have sat back and reveled in their success, 6D pushed forward and redesigned its ATB helmet to be even safer and more afford-able. What sets the ATB apart from other helmets on the market is its ODS technology. While other helmet companies have simply relied on a layer of EPS foam to protect the rider’s brain, 6D drew inspiration from the classic egg-drop competition, where the key to winning is to find a way to absorb the initial impact and prevent the egg’s shell from cracking. A 6D helmet is constructed from an inner and outer layer of EPS foam, with Omni-Directional Suspension (ODS) dampers sandwiched in between. This design allows a rider’s head to float inside the helmet during impact, drastically reducing potential brain injuries. For 2017, 6D redesigned the ATB-1T helmet with some new features that make it even safer than before. www.6dhelmets.com
Tech Features: The all-new ATB-1T helmet looks almost identical to the previous iteration from last year, so much so that we felt the need to set both helmets side by side to carefully study them. The 2017 ATB-1T received a few obvious updates, such as graphics, a new fit kit system, which is just a few extra pieces of foam that can be inserted inside, and a more affordable price of $250 compared to last year’s $270. The rest of the ATB-1T’s advancements are all internal. The new helmet now uses two different-shaped dampers—crown dampers and ring dampers—to increase performance. Also, low-friction discs have been added to the upper dampers to increase the helmet’s travel. We placed the 2017 and 2016 helmets side by side and found the new version’s inner EPS liner could move much more freely when we were holding the helmet and manipulating the liner with our hands. The new ATB-1T also received a firmer outer EPS liner to protect against high-energy impacts and a softer inner EPS liner to allow better comfort and compliance for a rider’s head. The new helmet does weigh a few grams more than the previous version at 524 grams compared to 487 grams for a size M/L. The new ATB-1T is now available in XS/S, which was absent in last year’s line. This continues to be one of the safest and most advanced bicycle helmets on the market today.
Field Test Results: Most riders will quickly comment on the size of the ATB-1T, and they have every right to do so, because there is no denying that this is a big helmet; however, if safety is your main concern, then there is no better helmet for the job. The new fit kit system provided an excellent fit for all of our test riders, and the magnetic buckle gave us the ability to strap our helmet on with just one hand. Our test helmet’s adjustment dial had a slight defect in the mechanism, but 6D sent out a new one, which we installed in less than a minute. It completely remedied the problem. The helmet breathed well, even on hot days, and its adjustable visor allowed us to place it out of our way. We had no issue using many different styles of sunglasses with this helmet and found it was quite comfortable, even on long rides. Some riders may have a hard time getting over the large size of this helmet, but if you truly care about protecting your brain, then the ATB-1T may be one of the best investments you can make.
• Increased safety over last year
• New fit kit system
• Good ventilation
• Dual EPS liners make the helmet larger than others on the market
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