Concept Bicycle Helmet That Tucks Into A Water Bottle – UPDATED 9-18-2020

UPDATE 9/18/2020: The Park & Diamond company posted another “update” and “sneak preview” on August 28th. The update says the company has “secured agreements with a new contract manufacturer [and] several new suppliers.” They go on to say that the company is “firming up new shipping logistics” that should ship the first production by the end of December 2020. “Secured agreements” and “firming up” is, in my opinion, public relations mumbo jumbo. Backers want to hear that manufacturing has begun, not that Park & Diamond has “agreements” to manufacture and what does “firming up” mean when applied to shipping?

The promised “sneak preview” is NOT a shot or video of the production facility. The preview is exterior photos of two prototype helmets without any retention strap or folding liner detail. These sneak previews should have been posted on the initial offering back in November of 2018, but today, they are an insult to the 12,971 backers.

While customer comments reflect a growing frustration with the company, I’m surprised how many backers are willing to give Park & Diamond the benefit of the doubt. People really want to believe this product is going to be a reality. There are many comments that claim the company is a fraud. I believe a more likely explanation is that the company had more enthusiasm than expertise in helmet design and manufacturing.

Bathroom photo studio: It appears the “sneak preview” photo was shot in a public bathroom stall. Customers commented they would rather see a photo of the production line.

UPDATE 7/13/2020: More bad news from Park & Diamond. The company announced that it has stopped taking orders for their fold-able bicycle helmet. They also announced they have cut ties with their China-based factory and found a new China-based supplier. They say the new factory was found by “our recently hired China-based product manufacturing and sourcing team.” All this has pushed their estimated delivery date to “before the end of 2020.”

UPDATE 4/8/2020: Checking the Park & Diamond Indiegogo page shows the latest update dated March 20th doesn’t have great news for those who have already purchased a helmet or plan to buy one. The vague statement includes the line that the company has a “great desire to fulfill all current Backers prior to September.” That is not reassuring. Their next “desired” shipping date is September, six months from now. Jimmy Mac On Two Wheels will keep checking.

UPDATE 2/21/2020: Following up on the much-hyped Park & Diamond fold-able bicycle helmet, it appears the company has not yet delivered a single helmet. The company’s last update to their 13,040 backers explains that the latest delivery delay is due to…wait for it…the Coronavirus! This is six months after the company claimed that a production “bottleneck” had been resolved to assure a higher production rate and faster delivery.

I can’t find verification that the helmet meets or exceeds the U.S. CPSC cycling helmet standard. I suppose the company could get around this by declaring the product a “fashion accessory” instead of a helmet. I also suppose this would upset customers who have been waiting over 2 years for a helmet. The company is still taking orders for a “fold-able bike helmet.”

Until there is a production helmet that meets CPSC standards and that can be purchased and worn, I remain skeptical.

October 28, 2019: 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 cap (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 were a RedBull Launchpad Winner and were named a “Top 15 Startup” from TC Disrupt three years before any product was scheduled for release. Digital Trends went so far as 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.

Enthusiasm without expertise: Can this helmet outperform a conventional bicycle helmet in protective performance? That question can’t be answered until they start shipping a production version.

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