d.Interview: Bob Weber and the 6D Helmet idea
How a vision became a product
Interview: 6D Helmets with Bob Weber
The founder/CEO of 6D goes into a little detail how his quest to build a more protective helmet came to fruition and how his path from just an idea ended up as a helmet on a head.
MX.com: Motorcycle racer, you’ve sold motorcycles, you’ve sold ad space, you’ve ran a distribution company, you managed a race team, worked at Troy Lee Designs, and now you are a next-level helmet innovator?
Do you think there are too many motocross companies that are producing helmets today that don’t look directly into the technology providing they pass the standardized tests, yet spend more time with aesthetics and graphics?
I think there are two answers to that question. One of them is there are great companies and I’m sure they are working on things to try to improve their technologies. I can’t speak to that. But there are others that are buying a helmet and branding it with their company name and aren’t too involved in the engineering. They trust they are getting a safe and approved helmet, which they are getting, but at the development level I don’t think those companies are involved in what is happening. So yes, it’s about graphics and about features and airflow and everything, but the safety comes with the product and the certification.
What did your family think when all of a sudden you decided “I am not going to work a traditional job for a few years while I work and develop a new idea because I believe in it?”
I told my wife, give me a year. We went about 11 months in the development and prototyping phases until we had something. Then we went out and raised the capital necessary to get the company on its feet and going so we could develop the technology further. I was in the 11th month of the year that I gave myself to get it done and fortunately we were able to secure some investment capital to bring the project the rest of the way through.
Personally, no I don’t have anyone really close to me that has sustained a brain injury from motorcycle competition. Myself, I’ve had a number of concussions over the years as has Robert and most of the racers that we talked to. However, I was present at the supermoto race where Carey Hart’s brother passed away and that was a gnarly head injury. I don’t know that any helmet would have helped that day, but it’s kind of like how I was speaking to the motorcycle and the advancement of the athlete and the capabilities of the equipment we’re riding, the helmet just hasn’t kept up. We’re not going to wear a helmet that is 2-feet in circumference either. It’s got to be something that allows us to have a functional design. It can’t be too heavy and it has to work and that’s where I really think that the standards need to evolve a little bit and that’s what I’m hoping will come out with the angular acceleration capability part of this. We’ve been working closely with Terry Smith at Dynamic Research on developing a consistent way to measure the rotational energy or the angular acceleration inside the helmet. I think that needs to be part of future standards.
Do you think some of the larger helmet manufacturers are now shaking in their boots? Here’s this technology that they didn’t think of and here you are launching this product.
I don’t know. They’ve got a business to run and I’m sure they’re working on things in their engineering departments and so on and so forth. We’ve just been focused on trying to get our technology into our helmet and get our brand going. I’m sure it will be a call-to-action if nothing else for the other manufacturers.
You two have figured out a way to build a better mousetrap and make everybody safer.
That was our objective, yes.
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