HJC RPS-10: Motorcycle Helmet Design
HJC Motorcycle Helmet
There is no textbook titled "How To Build An Industry-Leading Motorcycle Helmet." There is no computer program on "Motorcycle Helmet Innovations" you can run, no formula to follow, no college class you can take to gain the knowledge necessary to achieve such an accomplishment.
In the case of the new RPS-10 motorcycle helmet, substantial capital upgrades to the HJC manufacturing and testing facilities were performed to facilitate this process.
Included within this scope of work was an oversized wind tunnel capable of admitting a complete motorcycle and rider-all the better to perform dynamic tests while the test engineer assumed different riding positions and varied his head angle aboard the bike while being subjected to wind speeds as high as 130 mph.
As we all understand, riding a motorcycle at speed is an active process, and there is no one set position in which a rider must hold his or her head while underway.
Therefore "live" testing becomes absolutely necessary in order to accommodate the many positional vagaries introduced in the riding process, and for discovering how the windstream affects the helmet and rider in the process.
Other modern manufacturing processes integral to the creation of the RPS-10 included CAD design and rapid 3-D prototyping capabilities.
A helmet designer can have many good ideas in mind while sketching up new shapes, but there’s really only one way to know for certain if specific elements and shapes will achieve the desired results: Build it and test it. And so it was that HJC’s engineers embarked on a three-year-plus development process to create the final RPS-10.
Three different development teams worked on various designs during this time, and more than 20 different prototypes were created and tested.
Each prototype was thoroughly evaluated, and with each successive iteration the design was tweaked and reshaped for reduced aerodynamic drag, maximum stability, minimum lift, minimum vibration and noise, and more.
Based on these testing results the existing prototype would be revised and a next-generation prototype would then be designed and constructed, and the testing process resumed once again.
In time, the final form was created. Inspect an RPS-10 carefully. Note the subtle compound curves and complex structures shaped into the upper and frontal areas of the shell, and the distinctive lines given to the intake and exhaust vents.
The complexity of the shell shape becomes readily apparent, and for good reason: These shapes play a major role in establishing the correct aerodynamic properties.