Custom-Fitted Cycling Helmets

Disclaimer: please note that this post does not constitute any sort of an equipment recommendation on my part. I wrote it to talk about a new trend in helmet manufacture.

As President of Different Spokes/San Francisco, I get lots of email, and most of it’s junk. But every once in a while, I come across something that piques my interest.

In the first part of the year, I got an email from a company called KAV that’s making custom-fitted helmets down in Redwood City. Truth be told, I’ve always felt a little helmet-challenged. I always wear one, of course, but it never feels all that comfortable, and sometimes, stuff like this happens:

My POC MIPS helmet. If I remember correctly, it was something like $160.

The velcro wore away, and now there’s no way to attach new pads to the helmet. The pads are completely shot, too – they’ve separated and didn’t respond well to getting superglued back together. And guess what – replacement pads aren’t available from POC right now (or maybe ever). I wasted an hour or so trying to find them on the Internet. So I got maybe 2 years of use out of a pretty expensive helmet.

But I digress. KAV was offering me the chance to get a custom fitted helmet for “only” $300 if I signed up for their Kickstarter. I thought, what the heck, why not, and wondered if my fellow board members thought the club might be interested.


So I went off on my own and ordered one, and then didn’t hear from back KAV for months.

In the meantime, I needed a (dental) crown last summer. I thought it was kind of cool that it was going to be 3D-printed – same technology that KAV was going to use to make my helmet. The crown’s been great so far, and I have high hopes for the helmet.

About a month ago, I heard back from KAV that they were ready to fit me. They gave me the option of doing the fitting over Zoom, or coming in for a more personalized session. I thought I’d get a better fit if one of the experts at KAV did it, and I really wanted to see their manufacturing facility.

The fitting took only ten minutes, but the fun started after that – a tour of their facility. Here’s what a place that prints 3D cycling helmets looks like:

3D Printers
Adding straps
Painting the helmet

They said this one was close to my size

About a month later, this came in the mail:

It’s a test shell that they send you to make sure their sizing was accurate. I emailed KAV back that it was good, and they told me to expect delivery of the helmet around the first of the year.

So some time in the new year, you’ll see me wearing a custom fit helmet!

Here’s the link to KAV’s kickstarter:

And here’s a link to their web site, in case anyone’s interested in learning more: