Fun, fitness, excitement – the reasons for riding bikes are numerous and personal. As committed cycling addicts, we are forever celebrating the positives, but our favorite activity also comes with an element of risk.
It was a reality that Leatt founder, Dr Chris Leatt, faced in 2001 when a fellow motocross rider died on the tracks, and he set his sights on designing a neck brace to help prevent future tragedies.
The South African company has since devised safety solutions for cyclists and full-body protection for mountain bikers. In 2017, Leatt introduced new helmet protection called 360 Turbine Technology. This is claimed to protect riders from both low-speed linear impacts and rotational acceleration. It features across the full range of Leatt helmets, including the MTB 3.0 Enduro.
We caught up with Dr Leatt to discuss some of the finer details of 360 Turbine Technology and the MTB 3.0 Enduro helmet.
Anti-impact technology in cycling helmets is not new. MIPS (Multi-directional Impact Protection System) is a familiar safety feature across road helmets and MTB lids. Designed to protect the brain from rotational impact, MIPS is a thin layer that sits between the EPS foam and helmet liner.
Leatt’s 360 Turbine Technology looks altogether very different. Small, round ‘turbines’ made from a soft gel-like substance are positioned strategically around the helmet, hardening on impact to help protect the brain.
“Instead of one large slip-plane, Leatt chose to develop multiple smaller ones, that when displaced act as a slip-plane, but have the added advantage of also being able to offer low-speed linear dampening, not included in larger slip-planes plane technologies,” explains Dr Leatt.
The company developed the technology to meet the HIC (Head Injury Criteria) as assessed by helmet standards organizations, such as SNELL, ECE and DOT.
“In the past,” explains Dr Leatt, “it was thought that linear deceleration was the only important consideration for the risk of brain injury. We now know that brain rotational accelerations and velocities are of great importance when assessing the risk of brain injury and new computations for the risk of brain injury have been added to standard helmet testing, including these parameters.”
While we are all aware that high-velocity impacts can be catastrophic, those small