Motor Cycle Monthly’s John Milbank checks out the latest in helmet technology that could change the way we ride.
Dave Vout is a modest man – a civil and structural engineer by trade, it’s hard to believe that nobody’s already thought of the innovative product he’s launching at Motorcycle Live this year.
A few years ago he owned a stunning GSX-R1000, but this solidly-built man found that his leathers pushed up at the back of his neck, pressing against his helmet and making it difficult to turn his head. Combined with his wide shoulders that blocked the sports bike’s mirrors, he started looking for something that could help him see behind more easily.
Helmets are already available that use mirrors to give you a view of the world behind, but besides wanting to keep his Shoei, he was disappointed that a pillion could block that view, and that when looking into a corner’s exit, he’d no longer see the road behind. He wanted a video camera and a Head-Up Display (HUD).
After months of research, he failed to find a solution with the versatility and performance he expected, so he decided to make his own. By his own admission, Dave doesn’t have the skills to create the complicated lens system required for a HUD, or the electronics and software knowledge to control it, so he’s worked with UK Optical Plastics (who previously designed helicopter gunship sights) on the lens system; Bytesnap Design for the electronics; and Bluefrog Design, a product development company. The problem was, even after selling his bike and investing his family savings and pension, he didn’t have the money for such an ambitious product.