Fly Racing Unveils Formula Helmet
Fly Racing released details about its all-new Formula helmet yesterday. The Boise, Idaho-based brand did somewhat of a soft launch by having some of its top racers such as Rocky Mountain ATV/MC-KTM-WPS’s Blake Baggett and teammate Justin Bogle wear the helmet at the opening rounds of the 2019 AMA Supercross series. According to Fly, its goal in designing the Formula helmet was to provide superior head protection from the widest possible range of potential real-world impacts.
The Formula helmet uses Adaptive Impact System (AIS), which is an ecosystem of structural design and energy-mitigating materials. Each layer of the AIS—from Rheon-enhanced Energy Cells, to the dual-density EPS liner, to the 12K carbon-fiber shell—was carefully fine-tuned to achieve the goal of creating the highest-performing helmet possible.
Impact Energy Cells were engineered by the Fly Racing design team specifically for the Formula. The seven strategically placed cells in the EPS liner are designed to feel natural inside the helmet, intending to provide a seamless fit for the rider. Their unique shape and maze-like structure allow the Impact Energy Cells to compress and shear. Each cell can either compress during a linear impact or shear during a rotational impact. This slight movement maximizes absorption of low-speed linear and rotational impacts, reducing overall brain stress.
These energy cells are made of Rheon, an “active” strain-rate sensitive material that efficiently absorbs and dissipates energy as it deforms. Invented by Dr. Dan Plant, a mechanical and industrial design engineering expert based at the Imperial College of London, Rheon has an adaptive chemistry that reacts instinctively to control energy and changes its behavior depending on the severity or direction of an impact. Essentially, the Rheon Impact Energy Cells maximize absorption of low-speed linear and rotational impacts.
The Formula helmet uses Conehead technology, which is designed to absorb and dissipate impact forces more effectively than traditional EPS helmet liners. Created by physicist Don Morgan, Conehead technology uses cone shapes to pair a firm-density EPS with a much lower-density EPS. According to Fly, the result is more progressive energy absorption through a broader range of impact scenarios. The Formula has six critical zones of Conehead EPS. Each zone has a uniquely fine-tuned combination of EPS densities to manage impacts specific to that region of the helmet. These specific multi-density EPS zones are intended to produce a much more progressive response to low-speed and high-speed impacts. According to Fly, studies have shown that the majority of impacts occur on the forehead or side of the head. To help combat these impacts, the Formula development team incorporated lower-density expanded-volume EPS (thicker EPS) in these critical zones. This expanded-volume EPS is intended to provide improved suspension for impacts.
The Formula’s first line of defense is a 12K carbon-fiber shell. The “12K carbon fiber” refers to 12,000 carbon filaments per band. Fly informed us that carbon fiber is strongest when it is flat. Wider carbon fiber bands woven together produce a flatter result with less dips and rises inherent in a woven material. The reduction of these dips and rises creates less areas for resin to pool. Less resin equals less weight. The result is a lightweight shell with better penetration resistance than common 3K carbon fiber. Mounted on the front of the helmet is a fracture-resistant nylon visor. Fly’s own proprietary Control Release System secures the visor to the helmet, but will allow it to release under certain types of impacts.
The final feature in the Formula helmet is True Functional Ventilation (TFV). When in motion, cool air is forced through multiple air intake vents. It then passes through vent channels in the EPS to collect the heat inside the helmet. Finally, the heat is literally sucked out through multiple exhaust vents. This suction is the result of a venturi effect created by the unique geometry of the helmet. The increased draw of air out of the rear of the helmet boosts overall air movement and cooling.
The Formula helmet retails for $649.95 and is available in six colorways—red/white/blue, matte black/teal, gray/orange/navy, white gloss, matte black/silver, black/hi-vis, and black carbon.