No doubt, it is a cool concept. Make a bicycle helmet sans a hard-surface shell that can fold into the palm of your hand and tuck neatly into a tube the size of a bicycle water bottle. Make it so small that it could easily be mistaken for a baseball hat (with a three-point retention strap). Finally, make this helmet meet or exceed the U.S. CPSC and EU EN-1078 cycling safety standards.
Park & Diamond, a company that has never made a bicycle helmet or any other product, claims they have achieved all of the above design criteria and will sell you one for $89 as soon as they can make them. Yes, the Park & Diamond helmet is offered on Indiegogo where it has already raised close to $3 million from 26,085 backers (a third of that amount has been sitting in the company’s coffers for close to a year). The company plans to begin shipments any day now.
If you sense a little skepticism in my tone, you’re right. This company has received an astounding amount of glowing press coverage for a product that doesn’t exist yet. They won “Top 15 Start-Ups of the Year” from TechCo, RedBull Launchpad Winner and “Top 15 Startups” from TC Disrupt three years before any product was scheduled for released. Digital Trends went so far to say that the helmet is, “thin as a baseball cap while remaining just as protective as something more traditional.” How can they claim that if the helmet isn’t available yet? Digital Trends is regurgitating a press release in the disguise of editorial content.
I don’t know any cyclist who rides without a helmet. But, my friends are hard-core cyclists. I realize there are plenty of urban riders and scooter pilots who eschew a lid because of their bulk and appearance. If the Park & Diamond helmet gets some protection on their heads, that’s great.
As far as outperforming the protective quality of helmets from Bell, Giro, 6D, Troy Lee Designs, Specialized or Trek, I’m going to reserve judgement until the actual Park & Diamond helmet is available.