Crowdfunding Pick of the Week: Bicycle Helmets Made for Sustainability

by Linzy Novotny

What started as a do it yourself “hobby gone crazy,” is transitioning into a business devoted to creating sustainable helmets made of wood, cork and tree resins.

Nvate Crowdfunding Indiegogo Project Natural Fiber Bicycle Helmet by Dan Coyle

Credit: Jonathan Maus of BikePortland

Based in Corvallis, Ore., Dan Coyle began creating prototypes of the helmets in the summer of 2010 for commercial release. The helmets are based on helmets he has created over the past 15 years, according to the product’s website.

“Building them was a fascinating process of discovering what grain and look each helmet would take on as it was reduced from a coarse block to a very intentional form,” Coyle said of the hobby on his website. “The natural beauty and novelty of each piece always guaranteed something with inherent beauty and a sort of mystery.”

His business, Coyle, is ready to take the helmets to the next level. The next step in the process is for the helmets to pass testing by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission for bicycle use.

To help with the production of the helmets that are needed for the certification process, Coyle is asking for $27,000 through his Indiegogo campaign.

“The certification process demands that we send large batches of each size, shape, and venting pattern in order to certify one model,” Coyle said on the campaign’s Indiegogo page. “Right now this is far more helmets than we are able to produce through outsourcing.”

Nvate Crowdfunding Indiegogo Project Natural Fiber Bicycle Helmet by Dan Coyle

This is a maple Madera helmet.

Coyle is seeking the certification of two of his designs: the Holz and Madera models. The models are fine-grain Douglas fir, made with salvaged wood and cork, and the epoxy is made from tree resins, according to Indiegogo. The helmets are 100 percent waterproof and “the way we cut the cork allows air to circulate within the shell aiding venting and heat exchange.

“We will use funding to bring our manufacturing operation ‘in house’ so that we can greatly accelerate our production and [research and development],” Coyle said on the campaign’s Indiegogo page. “This means buying one CNC router for machining wood and a laser cutting machine for cork.”

Contributing $185 gets you a Holz helmet shell made of Douglas fir and for $215 the shell will be made of maple, according to Indiegogo. Contributing $340 will get you a complete Holz or Madera helmet made of Douglas fir.

If you would like your helmet to be made of maple, contribute $375, according to Indiegogo. For a custom helmet—you choose the brim style and vent pattern—contribute $475. All styles are being offered at a discount through the Indiegogo campaign and will retail between $410 and $760 depending on the model and type of wood. Visit the Coyle website for more information.

Nvate Crowdfunding Indiegogo Project Natural Fiber Bicycle Helmet by Dan Coyle

This is the Holz helmet. Credit: Jonathan Maus of BikePortland

“Our objective is to fully certify the first lines of natural fiber bicycle helmets,” Coyle said on Indiegogo. “We want to show that natural materials can work as well and better than the synthetics we are so accustomed to. Thus far, all of our prototypes have succeeded in preliminary testing at an accredited CPSC laboratory.”

As of Nov. 18, $5,445 has been contributed. The campaign will only be funded if a minimum of $27,000 is raised by Monday, Dec. 17.

To contribute, visit the Natural Fiber Bicycle Helmet Indiegogo page.

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