After years of work to find the perfect synergy between design and science, to bring you a helmet which is sleek but safe, Hexo helmets are now in the final stages of development.
Before signing off on our final product design, we put the helmet through its paces and push it to the limit in extreme temperatures. Hot and cold. The best place to do this in December? Hot Morocco, where temperatures hit 35 degrees during the day but plummet to 5 degrees after sunset. Starting our days on the saddle early and cycling into midday heat meant we would be able to test the full scale of what our helmet could manage and identify any areas for improvement.
So we could rest assured that all feedback was impartial, we invited pro cyclist and road racer Keira McVitty to come and test with us.
As with all Hexo customers, Keira’s journey started with a 3D head scan. Taken quickly and precisely using our app at our London office, the 30,000 point mesh was then sent to our 3D printing hub, where Keira’s helmet was custom made.
Once the helmet was ready, we set off for Morocco.
Day 1 was spent planning our routes, setting up bikes and gear and cycling around the busy streets and markets of Marrakesh.
On the second morning conditions were good and we hit the roads at 6am, giving plenty of time to warm up and settle in for a long ride. We left Marrakesh and headed for the base of the Atlas mountains.
With snowy peaks on the horizon and still plenty of hard climbs ahead, we needed a strong combination of temperature control and lightweight material. Luckily the Hexo helmet had both. Our team and Keira felt the ventilation worked perfectly. Allowing hot air to escape when needed but retaining heat as we came to the end of the day, in misty and cold conditions.
What we did notice was the chin straps were not where we wanted them to be. We had put a lot of work into designing these. The amazing thing about 3D printing is that this is that we can now create an inter-changeable chin strap. This means we can throw the straps in the washing machine after a particularly long ride, or replace when they get too worn. Designing a great chin strap is key for us.
We initially used a microfibre material to provide more comfort around the jawline than what standard helmets provide. However, here in Morocco we found that, whilst it was good, it wasn't as adjustable as we wanted. That night we called our design team, Tom and Adrian in London with sketches we had made. They got back to the drawing board to make the improvements.
On Day 3 we climbed from Tizi n’Tichka to Quarzarzate, pedalling through beautiful small villages and meeting friendly locals. Throughout the day the helmet felt light and comfortable, Kiera commented that there was no helmet rattle even on the craggiest mountain roads.
On day 4 we packed up our kit and flew home. Taking with us the plans to work through adjustments with the chin straps and feeling inspired by the positive feedback on the helmet. A real success.