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XOSKELETON: Mountain bike helmet series inspired by nature

Bruce M. Tharp

Faculty
While road biking and mountain biking are different sports with vastly different “personalities,” the helmets on the market are surprisingly interchangeable. The descriptors “road” and “mountain” express some of the inherent dissimilarities—mountain biking is closer to nature. Hence, the helmet form and concept are inspired by nature’s solutions to protection: e.g., poisonous caterpillars, cacti, alligators, sea coral, snapping turtles, and poisonous frogs.

The design intentionally defies conventional road-biking-thinking regarding aerodynamics and venting channels as this is generally of little concern for mountain bikers who travel at much lower speeds and have more inconsistent head positioning. Instead, the protuberances help churn air for important cooling convection, and along with the rougher outer surface is more expressive of the sport and its riders.

The three styles represent the primary market environments: arid, wooded, and urban cycling.

(Designed in 1994 and precursor to the popular 2006 Catlike helmets and their brand-defining styling.)