California’s 6D Helmets has been in the street helmet game since 2015 when the original ATS-1 was released. Using the same Omni Directional Suspension (ODS) system the company pioneered in their motocross lineup and has proven so effective in reducing energy transmitted to the brain during a crash, the original ATS-1 was heavy and a little cumbersome, necessitating the team to go back to the drawing board for 2019.
Working with fast guys like MotoAmerica’s Kyle Wyman and AFT’s Sammy Halbert to help develop it, the 6D ATS-1R is all new. Encased in a lightweight carbon-fiber shell, the ATS-1R still uses the ODS system, although the individual hour-shaped suspension units called Isolation Dampers that sit between the two multi-density EPS liners have been reduced from 28 in the ATS-1, to just 10 in the ATS-1R. This allows the 1R to shear in an impact with less restriction than before.
In their place, 6D has fitted the first high-density EPS liner (the one closest to the carbon shell) with lots of ridges called Damping Towers. These are little round mesas that help fill a large portion of the air gap between the two liners, and has the added benefit of increasing the damping properties of the ODS units with a more progressive impact curve—more time absorbing the impact means the less severe the energy transfer to your brain will be.
This is measured in industry terms as Time to Peak (TTP)—the longer the TTP, the better it is for you because deceleration time is the most significant factor in determining how much energy gets through to your head in a crash.
Imagine throwing a plate against a wall. There’s not much energy absorption and very, very fast deceleration time. Now throw the plate against a net. The result is more energy absorption and longer deceleration time. And probably a plate still intact.
Having two separate liners, the core of what 6D does, allows the helmet to uncouple itself from the rider’s head in a crash. This shearing effect means the inner and outer liners move independently from each other, which helps scrub off the angular acceleration force.
One of the main features with the 1R is the overall size has been significantly reduced. This is partly due to the reduction in ODS units used but also the new shell sizing, which is split between medium and large. As such, the extra small, small, and medium helmets fit in the small shell, and large, XL, and XXL helmet fit in the large shell.
VIDEO | 6D ATS-1R Introduction
6D ATS-1R Street Helmet Lowdown
Standout Feature: Lighter weight means much more comfort
List Price: $745 (As tested)
Rider Analysis of the 6D ATS-1R Street Helmet
I was one of the first to get an ATS-1 back in 2016, and I wished I liked it more than I did. I absolutely loved the tech, and I thought 6D’s Bob Weber really struck some gold with the ODS system, but the execution for the street lid just wasn’t there.
Fast forward nearly four years, and the ATS-1R is the helmet the ATS-1 should have been. It has a similar feeling when you put it on your head, but the big difference happens after about 15 minutes, especially on the track, in that your neck muscles aren’t sore.
The ATS-1R is a claimed 10 percent lighter, but at speed, it feels significantly more than that. Not only is it lighter, but it’s also more stable at high speed. There’s not as much buffeting, partly due to slightly revised shape, but more likely, I suspect because it weighs less.
The first time I wore it at Buttonwillow, I did double stints for almost three hours in the stifling summer heat, and my head wasn’t overly hot but instead quite comfortable. In my book, the ATS-1R flows air exceptionally well. There are four adjustable intake vents, 15 transfer ports, and five exhaust ports in the ATS-1R, and it does the job of getting the hot air out very well.
And, at long last, the ATS-1R comes in some more inspiring designs, with three new colorways to complement the traditional gloss and matte carbon fiber colors.
This is a much, much more comfortable helmet than its predecessor. As for the helmet’s ability to absorb the impacts, I have no real-world idea, because I have no intention of crashing in it. But it’s good to know it’s there.CN