Seen and unseen - Mind your head

24 April 2024

A brief look at cycle helmets

The brain injury charity, Headway, state that cycle helmets can save lives and prevent people sustain lifelong brain injury.  The hard shell is designed to spread the force of an impact over a broader area which reduces the likelihood of the skull fracturing.  The softer liner squashes inwards and absorbs the energy of the impact.

MoDiP has a number of different bicycle and motorcycle helmets, three of which are on display as part of our latest exhibition, Seen and unseen.  What they all have in common is that they are designed to provide protection to the head in the event of a crash.

The Giro Ionos Road cycle helmet is designed to protect the wearer during a fall and also provide good aerodynamics when riding. The in-mould construction means the helmet’s polycarbonate (PC) outer shell can be fused with the impact-absorbing expanded polystyrene (EPS) liner reinforcing both materials.

A glass mannequin head wearing a black and yellow cycle helmet.

Ionos cycle helmet, Giro, 2007. AIBDC : 005765


The Vans Pro-Tec skate helmet is designed for use on skateboards and BMX bikes and has an expanded polypropylene (EPP) liner. This can withstand multiple impacts unlike EPS, which needs to be replaced after a single impact. In these sports, there is a higher likelihood of falling in different directions, so a greater area of the head needs to be protected.

A glass mannequin head wearing a white and green coloured cycle helmet.

Pro-Tec skate helmet, Vans, circa 2000s. AIBDC : 005861


The AGV AX8 Dual Evo Carbon helmet covers an even greater area of the head including the face as it is made for motorcycle sports. The carbon fibre composite provides a robust and lightweight helmet, whilst the liner is made of EPS with four different densities to provide optimum protection across the head.

A black full face motocross helmet with a clear visor.

AX8 Dual Evo Carbon helmet, AGV, circa 2018. AIBDC : 008084


Other helmets in the collection include:

The Myelin cycle helmet, which is designed for easy disassembly to make it easier to recycle at the end of its useful life.

A glass mannequin head wearing a black and grey cycle helmet.

Myelin cycle helmet, POC, 2022. AIBDC : 009452


Giro Advantage cycle helmet, the shape is made to reduce aerodynamic drag and help the rider go as fast as possible.

A glass mannequin head wearing a silver coloured cycle helmet with a tapering back section..

Advantage cycle helmet, Giro, 2008.  AIBDC : 005766


Evolution Pro Design sam 08 cycle helmet which is been designed around Sam Pilgrim, the professional British freerider, and has been signed by Sam for MoDiP.

A glass mannequin head wearing a black and yellow cycle helmet.

Evolution Pro Design sam 08 cycle helmet, TSG, 2008.  AIBDC : 005855


As cycle helmets are developed, making use of the unique and evolving properties of plastics materials, I have no doubt the museum will add to its collection.


Louise Dennis

Curator of MoDiP