Privateer Superbike/Superstock 1000 racer Hayden Gillim suffered a horrifying crash last August at MotoAmerica’s race event at the new Pittsburgh International Race Complex, culminating in Gillim ragdoll-tumbling into a tire barrier at high speed while his GSX-R1000 cartwheeled and bounced all the way over the fence. The race was immediately red-flagged, as Gillim surely would be requiring prompt medical attention.

Surprisingly enough, Gillim emerged from the crash mostly unscathed! He was helped to his feet at the scene and was able to walk to the awaiting ambulance. A checkup and CT scan at the hospital revealed nothing worse than bruising on various body parts and no sign of a concussion. That’s a testimony to modern rider safety apparel.

In Gillim’s case, his head was ensconced in the Flex liner of the Bell Race Star he was wearing. The innovative Flex liner is designed to reduce rotational-force energy from affecting a rider’s brain during a crash, similar in concept to the Multi-Impact Protection System liner in Bell’s Star MIPS helmet.

Bell Star MIPS Helmet Review

Following the crash, Bell dissected the helmet to examine how it performed for Gillim. According to Bell’s engineers, the Flex liner apparently executed its job as it was designed to do, allowing Gillim to get back up and race another day.

Bell Helmets R&D Lab Tour + Video

Bell’s video crew documented the dissection procedure to help illustrate the benefits of the Flex liner’s design and to educate riders about how it performed during the crash to help prevent serious injury. Take a look at the video below to see how this horrifyingly ugly crash turned out amazingly benign.

  • Old MOron

    Okay, so Bell wants to tout its Flex liner. Is that the thin orange bit between the inner and outer padding? The gentleman doesn’t seem to even mention Flex. What gives?

    The main thing is that Hayden Gillim is still racing. Thumbs up! And Bell is entitled to note that their helmet did a great job. But based on the video, I don’t see what it has to do with the Flex liner.

    • Old MOron

      Okay, from Bell’s website describing a Flex off-road helmet:
         PROGRESSIVE LAYERING: A first-of-its kind, three-layer impact
         liner designed to manage energy from three potential impact
         scenarios: low, mid and high-speed.

         ROTATIONAL ENERGY MANAGEMENT: A “slip zone” within the
         impact liner allows for subtle movement between the inner layers
         and works to reduce rotational energy transfer from angular impacts.

      So I guess the Flex aspect is not the orange liner but the slippage between the low, medium, and high speed impact liners. The tech in the video did mention wrinkles in the liner. I guess wrinkles might indicate rotation. So the inference would be that the helmet encountered rotational forces and absorbed them instead of passing them to the rider’s head.

      I wish Bell would show us some real analysis instead of just saying, “See, it worked!” As it is, I’m obliged to google around and try to convince myself to by a Bell. I’d like to do that, but not if they’re going to treat consumers like morons.

      • Sayyed Bashir

        I think some of the effectiveness of the helmet is clouded by the fact that the first two hits were on grass and the third on the tire wall. But I think both Flex and MIPS are better than just plain old styrofoam. I wonder what Arai, Shoei and AGV think about these technologies. “MIPS was developed by scientists at the Karolinska Hospital and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden”. Used in both bicycle and motorcycle helmets.

        • Rocky Stonepebble

          MIPS is from RITSS, eh?

          That explains it.

  • c w

    So, this isn’t an advertorial?

  • Rocky Stonepebble

    Hmmm … I’m starting to suspect that Bell is a new and major sponsor.

    I can’t believe one’s Kanucky overlord’s should stoop so low.

    (Haha! Scorch! Just kidding. We’d kill our mothers for money).

    • Old MOron

      Those hosers in Trawna might stoop so low, but not Kevin Duke!

      I think it’s a good story. Hayden Gillim took a hell of a fall. If we have evidence of the value of a novel helmet design, that is newsworthy.

      But I think the fake science is ridiculous.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        Shoot him from a cannon, straight into a wall. Then, we shall talk.

        • Bmwclay

          My wife says hello back……………….

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        FYI, we find “hosers” to be racist.

        We prefer “McHosers”, or “Miserable Fat Belgian Ba​stards.”

        • Old MOron

          Next you’ll be telling me that you don’t say, “Take off!” anymore.

          • Rocky Stonepebble


    • Kevin Duke

      Your conspiracy theories are unwarranted. Bell invited us to test is new Star MIPS at Thunderhill, so we wrote an article about it. Then we got a tour of Bell’s development lab, which I found to be fascinating and reported on it. Then, just a few days ago, we received this video and found it dramatic and interesting enough to share with you guys. From my editorial side of things, I have no idea what kind of ad buys are going on in the background, so these Bell stories are completely unrelated. I hope everyone finds them interesting and educational, as I did.

      • Rocky Stonepebble

        I was just taking the piss, ffs.

        Is there some sort of hole in the ozone layer over SoCal (or, maybe, Trawna) that causes immense earnestness?

        • Kevin Duke

          Good to hear you were just teasing. Dealing in facts is literally my business, so it’s important that you guys accurately understand the situations rather than letting a teasing aspersion linger. Hope you understand my concerns.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Please, please, please … go back through all of my posts and see that dealing in facts is the LAST thing I should do.

            Dealing in bad jokes, Monty Python, Airplane and Animal House references are what I deal in.

            Yes, I’m a nerd, but I’ve owned some real f*cking cool bikes, so there! And, it’s important that you accurately understand the situations and use goggly for those references one does not recognize rather than letting a teasing aspersion linger. Hope you understand my concerns.

            Now, smoke me a kipper.

          • Old MOron

            Sheesh! With your endless references and allusions, you’re going to be “the man who broke google”. Someday there’ll be story about you in those tawdry links just above this Disqus section.

          • Rocky Stonepebble

            Even after a lifetime of multiple concussions, and decades of bitch-slapping alcohol (or tenderly fondling, depending on one’s nationality), I still maintain the photographic and eidetic memory that has carried me through life, both amazing and confounding those that have met me.

            I see a TV programme/film, hear a tune, and so on, and I usually have it ingrained for life. I assume everyone else remembers these things. When not, we have goggle.

            Thank f*ck for those black out drunk years of Uni. They provide a nice break in the day.

          • Old MOron

            If you relax the accuracy requirement for me, I have an eidetic memory, too.
            In the mean time, count me in the confounded group 🙂

          • Rocky Stonepebble

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            What we know so far:

            The iconic Canadian rocker and singer-songwriter will perform an hour-plus-long concert in front of a tiny, intimate live audience in his hometown of Omemee, Ont. All proceeds from tonight’s concert event are going to the Scott Young Public School in Omemee, the school which carries his father’s name.

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    I always see guys riding here in Comancheria in shorts no helmet short sleeves tennis shoes. I remember Evil Kneivel would never get on his bike without a helmet. In my one and only at speed crash I remember my head hitting the pavement and without my helmet I guarantee I would not have walked away.

  • Jeff S. Wiebe

    Due to my own history, this article on head injury prevention is very interesting to me. Thank you for posting it, and the video. I took the latter at face value, as a short explanation and rejoicing rather than an attempt at an in-depth analysis.

    • Kevin Duke

      Thanks for interpreting the article as intended. Since you found it interesting, I encourage to also check out the story about Bell’s lab linked in this piece, which gives further insight into helmet design and protection.

      • Jeff S. Wiebe

        Thank you for pointing out the link. Enjoyed that older piece.

  • hipsabad

    of course, a one-off get-off proves nil. credible scientific testing is all about analyzing/corroborating from the many get-offs