With more and more electric bikes hitting the road each year, it begs the question: does regular cycling gear cut it in terms of safety? Right off the bat, the clear answer would be no, especially when it comes to helmets. Naturally, e-bikes are capable of going at much higher speeds than regular bikes—most bikes in the Europe are required to meet a 15 mile-per-hour limit. Meanwhile, in the U.S., e-bikes can go as fast as 28 miles per hour.
Of course, some e-bikes are twice, if not thrice, the weight of their standard, non-electric counterparts. As they say, the heavier you are, the harder you fall, and this certainly rings true for e-bikes. Now, I don't want to sound like some prophet proclaiming the benefits of wearing gear, but it's certainly nice to know that companies have taken notice of the importance of beefed up gear in relation to e-bikes.
One such company is Troy Lee Designs, a gear and equipment manufacturer that's been in the mountain bike business for as long as I can remember. The company recognizes that more and more people are riding the trails aboard powerful electric mountain bikes, some of which can provide up to 400-percent assistance thanks to powertrains like the Bosch CX Race. That said, having four times the power means that your gear must be more resilient, while remaining comfortable and lightweight. To address this, Troy Lee Designs presents the Flowline and Flowline SE helmets, half-shell lids designed for eMTB applications.
In terms of styling both helmets are pretty similar in that they use the same in-mold consturction designed to remain snug on your noggin as you ride along. Furthermore, they're both equipped with the MIPS B-Series liner which is tech you'd find in fancy bike helmets and motorbike helmets designed to counter rotational forces in the event of a crash. The differences lie in the EPS liner, chin strap, and comfort features. For example, the more affordable Flowline gets a basic buckle like a standard bike helmet. It also has a single-denisty EPS liner.
The Flowline SE takes things up a notch by using a dual-density liner that more effectively dissipates impacts. Futhermore, the Flowline SE sports a FIDLOCK buckle with a magnetic closure, making it much easier to wear and remove. Nevertheless, both helmets conform to the relatively new NTA 8776 safety standard, a Dutch certification that's designed specifically for e-bikes, and is much more stringent than the CPSC/USA certification standards.
As for pricing and availability, Troy Lee Designs offers the Flowline for $119.99 USD, and the more premium Flowline SE for $159.99 USD. There's also a kids version called the Youth Flowline, which offers similar levels of protection as the standard Flowline. It retails for $89.99 USD.
Sources: BikeRumor, Troy Lee Designs