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IDF Issues New Helmet Regulations

The International Downhill Federation just issued new guidelines for helmets being used in IDF sanctioned races. Find out what you need to know before you get to the race!

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This helmet is covered with small, sharp pieces of glass and would not be allowed at an IDF race. Sure does look cool, though.

This helmet is covered with small, sharp pieces of glass and would not be allowed at an IDF race. Sure does look cool, though.

The International Downhill Federation just issued new guidelines for helmets being used in IDF sanctioned races. The new rules, which are effective immediately, boil down to two basic requirements for helmets used in races: an EPS foam liner and a securely attached chin strap.

Hard expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam has been the standard material for use in skateboard, bicycle and motorsport helmets for years. From the IDF announcement “Nearly all certified helmets from skateboard to race car use [EPS foam] and it has been widely shown to save lives on a daily basis. It is what we want to see on everyone’s head.”

If a helmet doesn’t have an EPS foam liner, it will be allowed if it has been impact tested and certified.

Billy Bones' helmet came off at Angie's because the strap was improperly attached to the shell. Billy didn't sew the end of the strap closed and turn it over when he riveted it to the shell, so the end frayed and pulled off the rivet.

Billy Bones’ helmet came off at Angie’s because the strap was improperly attached to the shell. Billy didn’t sew the end of the strap closed and turn it over when he riveted it to the shell, so the end frayed and pulled off the rivet.

Of course, all the EPS foam in the world won’t protect your head if your helmet flies off, so the new rules require a securely attached chin strap. This regulation targets home made and aerodynamic helmets, and is presumably designed to prevent a repeat of Billy Bones’ horrific crash at Angie’s Curves in which his helmet flew off due to a faulty chin strap attachment. (As an aside, even the most securely attached chin strap won’t do jack if you haven’t securely tightened it, so cinch down those D rings boys and girls.)

The new rules are going to cause problems for many South American aerohelmet enthusiasts, at least until New Olders and Vultur can upgrade to EPS foam liners, get their helmets impact tested—a prohibitively expensive proposition for these small companies—or convince the IDF board to allow their helmets. (New Olders just announced a new EPS foam full-face. No word yet on their aerolid models.)

A home-made aerohelmet with an EPS foam liner taken from a skate helmet.

A home-made aerohelmet with an EPS foam liner taken from a skate helmet.

OK, SO WHAT HELMETS ARE ALLOWED?

Commercially produced, impact tested and certified helmets with EPS foam are automatically allowed, so pretty much all of the commonly-used skate, mountain bike, and skydiving helmets are approved, including long-tail Icaro models.

Non-certified production model aero helmets with EPS foam, like those from Risch and Boardyard, are good to go. Small-run full face helmets with EPS foam, notably Midslids, are also good to go as long as they provide documentation on their liners.

WHAT HELMETS AREN’T ALLOWED?

Soft foam helmets are not allowed. It’s 2015. Get that sketchy shit out of here.

Production aerohelmets with EPU or EPP foam, notably produced by Landingham, New Olders, and Vultur, will not be allowed.

CAN I RACE MY HOME MADE AEROHELMET?

If you want to make your own helmet or race a prototype, you’ll have to use an EPS liner and securely attach the chin strap, then send photos of the construction to the IDF board, which will approve helmets on a case by case basis.

WHO’S BUMMED ABOUT THIS?

Richard Landingham, the maker of LAP Extreme helmets, is definitely not stoked.

TL;DR: EPS or GTFO.

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  1. Richard Landingham

    they say epp is not allow, that means poc helmets, simpson helmets, and most high end indy car and motorcycle helmets, are not allow, all high end race helmets are made with epp foam . so if i want to make my helmets idf approve i have to make them unsafe ,this seems more like a way to cut down on competition, for anyone to come out with safer and better helmets. to have a 20 mph cert for people going 70+mph on a skate board is just stupid ,and some of these helmets are made of solid carbon fiber ,have you ever seen what carbon fiber will do to your face when it breaks ,at least boneyard helmets took my advice and put kevlar in his helmets, boardyard are the best made aero skate helmets out their john has done his home work ..even though none of the skate board aero helmet have been wind tunnel tested (except L.A.P.) and are no faster than a stock icro helmet ,but in racing its all about the swag ? so if anyone wants to race in my helmets call me and we will put a $10 walmart cert bike helmet in my carbon kevlar shell so you can race idf , but if you get hurt you can sue idf for your injury, as they now take all legal responsibility for helmet safety for their races ,ask any lawyer ??

  2. Les Robertson

    Hi Richard Landingham please get in touch with me? Would love to do a response post from you with you're research/links if you feel there is something missing here.

    The comments you're making are getting lost at the bottom of this post and I want to host some healthy debate if you have the info and expertise.

    Thanks.


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