Dan from Colye Wood Helmets made kayaking paddles and even his own eyeglasses from wood, referring to helmets as "one of many novel pursuits".
Motorcycle and bicycle building pioneers of the late 19th century turned to wood for use in their frames. The Daimler Einspur featured a wooden frame while countless versions of bicycle frames were produced, implementing materials like Hickory. Rims were made of wood, Cerci Ghisallo founded in the 1940's made lightweight wooden rims for professional cyclists and are still going strong manufacturing traditional wooden rims near Bellagio - Lake Como Italy.
Recently there's been a resurgence in hand crafting bicycle frames using wood. We've already seen how strong hickory is with the Renovo bikes Badash Hickory 29er. Over in Japan boat builder Sano is weaving his magic with mahogany and other timber creating bicycles with a previously unknown level of sophistication - giving his work a rare pedigree. Each one of Sano's hand crafted masterpieces are bestowed with a unique proposition for compliance - only attainable by returning your machine to Sano's hands after one year of ownership - then he will listen to your feedback and "shave" your bike until it becomes the perfect compliant machine - rider and bike united with the skill and precision of a master boat builder.
Now Dan Coyle is working with wood to produce a range of helmets. Dan made kayaking paddles and even his own eyeglasses from wood, referring to helmets as "one of many novel pursuits", he's tested his wooden creations first hand, upside down in rapids and survived countless blows in these conditions over the years.
Sustainability is at the forefront of Coyle helmet creation. One resource comes from salvaged trees of hardwood and softwood, while Douglas Fir is recycled from wood off cuts intended for the construction industry. Cork Oak is harvested from living tress, utilising Cork Oak tree bark for helmet liners - a totally renewable, recyclable and biodegradable resource.
By combining hardwoods and softwoods Coyle helmets access specific inherent protective properties inbuilt naturally in wood. Durable hardwood is better at coping with impacts while softwood absorbs energy, the ability to combine each in the correct proportion in combination with different grain orientation, yields helmets capable of withstanding much greater impacts than current hard plastic shells and EPS liners.
Alongside Coyle helmets other leaders in performance “redundancy” were the developers of Cone-head technology, now available in Kali and Scott helmets.
Combine the correct choice of soft and hardwoods with energy dampening properties of cork, the result is a lightweight helmet of immense durability and ability to absorb impacts.
Coyle helmets are a fusion of nature and modern technology. A CAD file is used to implement design then during manufacture each helmet begins as a block of wood which is CNC machined, afterwards finished by hand. To further enhance the resilience of each helmet a military grade polyurea coating is applied. Initially conceived by the US military, called Dragonshield,intended as a blast resistant coating for armored vehicles and structures. Amazing features of Dragonshield include a self sealing finish. Check out the video on Coyle’s website.
Speaking to Dan Coyle he emphasised that “the technology is new and undergoing continuous prototyping and improvement …. the hidden novelty of Coyle helmets is the capacity to have them custom sized, designed and built.” Want a helmet that’s completely custom made to your requirements, take a look at the Coyle Design and Build website then talk to the Coyle Design and Build team to create your own unique helmet – guaranteed to be a one off – complete with the latest cutting edge safety measures built in. Dan added “a capacity that is not available with any other helmet as most helmets are made using injection molding, an inflexible fabrication process that, by its nature, produces cloned product lines.”
Here we have a helmet with every aspect of protection considered and built in, right down to a military grade blast resistant polyurea coating. Wood is not only a sustainable product it’s natural beauty is appealing. Add this one to your list of wooden handlebars, frames, rims and various other hand crafted wooden masterpieces being customised in dedicated workshops around the globe. The Coyle design and build website explains their production processes and helmet concepts in detail. Want to know much more about Coyle helmets, visit their facebook page – Coyle Design and Build. Special thanks to Dan Coyle for images used to illustrate this blog.