MXA TEAM TESTED: FLY RACING’S FORMULA CARBON HELMET
WHAT IS IT? The Fly Racing Formula Carbon helmet was a project that started from scratch. WPS and Fly Racing’s Craig Shoemaker wanted to make the safest helmet that money could develop with the technology available. After years of R&D, the Formula helmet was brought to fruition.
WHAT’S IT COST? $649.95.
CONTACT? www.flyracing.com or (208) 319-3079.
WHAT STANDS OUT? Here’s a list of things that stand out with the Fly Racing Formula carbon helmet.
(1) Helmet safety. When 6D released its ATR-1 helmet design back in 2013, it brought awareness to the importance of minimizing rotational acceleration. Since then, Bell’s Flex helmet and Shoei’s VFX-EVO helmet have incorporated proprietary technologies to reduce the effects of angular impacts. Many other helmets have diverted rotational energy with the MIPS system. Fly Racing wanted to develop a helmet that incorporated as many of the known innovations as possible into one helmet. Fly didn’t focus solely on rotational acceleration, but also how riders crash and where most impacts occur on the rider’s head.
(2) Adaptive Impact system. The Formula helmet combines its features into a single Adaptive Impact System (AIS) grouping. Here are some of the technologies that make up AIS: (a) Energy cells. The Formula helmet uses flexible and absorptive Rheon energy cells to absorb impacts. Their unique shape and maze-like structure allow them to move and shear in order to dissipate rotational energy. Rheon is the same material that Leatt uses in its GPX helmet, although the design and the number of cells is much different. Fly uses seven strategically placed cells in the EPS liner to absorb the impact. (b) Conehead technology. This Australian-developed idea uses cones molded into the helmet’s foam liner. Using different densities between the foam in the cones and the foam surrounding them, the cones create a very progressive crush pattern. This design was used in Kali helmets in the past. (c) Expanded EPS. Fly Racing research has shown that the majority of impacts to the head occur on the forehead and side of the head, which is why Fly Formula helmets use a much thicker layer of lower-density EPS in these areas to improve the so called “suspension” of the helmet.
(3) Weight. The Fly Formula helmet hits the scales at 1305 grams. For reference, a Suomy helmet is 1155 grams, while a 6D ATR-2 is 1506 grams. Neither the lightest nor the heaviest, the Fly Formula helmet can easily claim to reduce strain on the rider’s neck while reducing leverage upon impact.
(4) Added features. The Formula helmet has a 12k carbon fiber shell, meaning that the band of carbon fiber is wider, resulting in a stronger structure. The nylon visor is unbreakable, and the graphics on it can’t crack in a crash. The visor is designed to break away in a crash so that the visor doesn’t increase rotational acceleration when it catches on the ground.
(5) Performance. In Fly Racing’s independent helmet testing, the Formula helmet is one of the safest helmets made, but virtually every helmet company has independent lab studies that support the same claims. The real test of a helmet is not how well it performs in the lab but on the race track. The MXA test riders looked at the lab test results and were impressed, but it is real world use that determines greatness. How was the sizing? Was it comfortable? Did the liner chafe our skin? Did the cheek pads stay in place? Was the visor adjustable? Was the goggle port too small or too large? Did the ear ports offer any sound deadening? Does air flow into the vents and out of the exhaust ports? And finally, were the aesthetics pleasing? Every MXA test rider was happy to report that the Fly Formula was A-OK in every category. It was comfortable, plush, strong, attractive and as safe as any helmet can be. It is great helmet.
WHAT’S THE SQUAWK? We love the nonbreakable visor, but sometimes it comes out of the helmet bag pretzeled into odd shapes.
MXA RATING: This is a great helmet in every way. It offers superior protection, style and comfort. It is the complete package of looks, comfort and scientifically backed safety.