With a dramatic increase in fuel prices and a growing interest in environmentally friendly transport methods, bike riding has come into the spotlight again. One of the key barriers that many mobility designers are trying to tackle is the issue of bulky, traditional helmets that do not look good when worn and are a hassle to transport and store.
Foldable bike helmets are not a new concept to combat this issue, however, they have rarely been done well. Designers find it difficult to combine protective, transportable, and functional designs that also have an aesthetic style that riders are willing to wear. However, a new design has recently been unveiled which may have found the perfect combination of all these needs. South Korean mobility company, Naturemobility, has designed and tested a new design of foldable bike helmet called the ‘RABA’ helmet.
The RABA helmet was created after the expansion of personal mobility devices such as electric scooters and bikes. There was a massive spike in accidents on these vehicles between 2018 and 2021 and although safety equipment is required, almost 84% of users will not wear helmets. The RABA helmet addresses the key reason why many personal mobility device users wouldn’t wear a helmet, which was because existing helmets are big, bulky, and difficult to carry around and store throughout the day.
The RABA helmet sets itself apart from typical, dome-shaped helmets with a unique structural design. Dubbed as an ‘origami bike helmet’, RABA is made of triangle and diamond panels held together with tarpaulin fabric. This design allows for the helmet to be quickly broken down to up to a third of its original size and just as quickly twisted into the helmet.
Windwire, a BOA-style wire system from South Korea, facilitates the quick pack down and equally quick reformation of the RABA helmet. The ribs of the flat structure are held together by Windwire, which tightens the individual pieces together to form the helmet shape when the Windwire dial is twisted. This dial is then used to adjust the helmet to the correct size and shape for the user. RABA can be broken down in seconds by opening the Windwire dial and loosening the cables. It can then be stored flat throughout the day in a suitcase, large shoulder bag, or laptop case.
RABA is lightweight, weighing just 410 grams. The external portion of the panels provides protection through the use of EPS foam and ABS thermoplastic for shock absorption whilst the internal portion is lined with foam cushioning for comfort. With safety being the central focus of this helmet, Naturemobility has tested 59 prototypes to find the safest design – this is proven by its KC and global safety certification.
The RABA Helmet was originally introduced into the foldable helmet space by Naturemobility at the crowdfunding platform, Wadiz. RABA garnered international attention after it earned the Red Dot Award at the Red Design Awards and became a finalist at the 2022 IDEA Awards. It’s not clear if or when the RABA helmet will hit the market – watch this space for updates on that.