A decade ago, American helmet brand 6D changed the game in terms of impact absorption in motocross helmets. Now it’s been refined in an updated road offering.
I’ve been rolling around the countryside in the 6D ATS-1R Gloss Black helmet for a few months now and I’m glad to say I haven’t even tested its best features. I don’t plan to, either. But if something was to happen, I’ll be glad to know I’m probably wearing one of the safest road helmets on the planet.
Born on the MX track, 6D is a relatively young company that started to get its helmets on the off-road tracks around 2013. The crux of 6D’s innovative design is its omni-directional suspension (ODS) technology. To you and me, that means rather than just having a single layer of EPS foam absorbing impacts, the helmet has two individual layers separated by tiny little suspension dampers that absorb impacts from any direction, even the twisting effect of a helmet grabbing the ground and speed and twisting the rider’s head.
The ATS-1R is 6D’s second road helmet and the next-generation of the original ATS-1. The ATS-1R has an on-head feeling like any other helmet, thanks to the soft and removable lining which is covering that innovative ODS system, then finally the carbon fibre outer shell. Essentially the outer shell can float without directly affecting the inner lining. Sounds weird, but it feels just like a regular full-face helmet to wear.
There is a small trade off for the extra safety, though. Having these extra layers adds to the overall size of the outer shell, I have a size 60 (large) noggin and comparing this helmet to my old Shoei GT Air, the 6D helmet shell is noticeably larger, and you don’t even have the Maverick and Goose style tinted visor tucked away up inside said shell.
I’ve worn the ATS-1R at the racetrack, commuting and touring and I can’t fault it for comfort, noise or practicality. I thought I would miss my drop-down tinted visor but it was soon forgotten. I have three visors for it, clear, light smoke and dark smoke. It also comes with a pinlock insert to slap inside your visor. My go-to combo is the light smoke visor with the pinlock insert. My day job involves commuting to work in the dark and I find the light smoke is easily usable in the dark and gives me a little relief from the glare in the daylight. I also have my Cardo Packtalk fitted to it. The removable and washable liner was easy to remove, as was fitting my headset.
The ATS-1R has all the safety features of a top-of-the-line helmet; locking visor, four air intakes, five exhaust vents to move air around your head and emergency-release cheekpads. I now reach for this helmet every time I ride on the road. The only small gripe I have is when riding in heavy rain – and let’s face it, that’s quite often lately – water occasionally runs down the inside of the visor. Yeah I know I need to ride faster to stop it happening, but I need to stop at red lights occasionally, too. I’m currently experimenting with adjusting the visor mounts to see if I can seal the visor at the top a bit better.
The 6D is priced at $999.95 and is only currently available in Australia in solid colours – there are some good looking graphics in other markets. It’s not cheap for what’s a fairly plain looking helmet, but the safety features really make this helmet a standout.
Star rating: 4.5/5
Colours: Gloss Black, Matt Black, Gloss Silver, Cement Grey or White