6D ATR-1 Helmet

Company: 6D Helmets

Price: $745.00 List Price

  • Comfortable and wearable for long rides
  • Nice color schemes
  • Quick-release ear/cheek pads
  • Ample ventilation with washable liner
  • Documented independent testing which shows improvements in low- and mid-speed impact absorption
  • Rebuild service available if the shell meets 6D standards
  • Replacement discount tiers if a helmet is damaged within first 6 months/1 year of purchase
  • Some believe their brain is not worth $700
  • Helmet shell is slightly larger than standard helmets and some paint schemes show this more than ohers
  • Our test rider felt the rear bottom pad slightly pushed on the back of his head and caused the helmet to lift slightly when his head was extremely tilted up


  • Writer: Scott Hoffman
  • Photographer: Scott Hoffman

What it is

  • Latest Patented technology for rider safety
  • ODS Equipped: Omni-Directional Suspension sandwiched between two EPS layers

It’s been several years since 6D ignited quite a stir by looking outside the box and creating and introducing new technology into the world of motocross and off-road helmets. Now that buzz has also spread within 6D into street, bicycle, and introducing their designs into other markets. In my opinion it has been nothing but positive and, thus far, 6D has led the pack and helped create a new way to help protect riders from head injuries. No helmet will protect a rider 100 percent of the time during all jolts but if a helmet can lessen the impact in low- to mid-speed impacts and possibly prevent or lessen the chance of a potential concussion or head trauma, it’s a win-win for everyone, especially for the rider. 6D’s new technology has also forced other companies to follow suit to improve protection.

When two ex-motocross racers (Robert Reisinger and Bob Weber) came up with the concept and let the industry know that their new technology is more complex to build and would raise the retail price of helmets to the $700 or more price point, skeptics thought they were nuts. Well, years later you find countless riders wearing 6D helmets all over the track and on the trails. And when I spoke to some of those users, some stated they switched brands because they had prior concussions or a recent concussion while wearing another brand.

6D didn’t reinvent the wheel or totally change helmet science or even some of the materials, they built it better with their invention of ODS, (Omni-Directional Suspension). In the past the goal was to meet DOT as well as SNELL standards here in the USA. What they learned was that helmets had to be pretty durable to withstand these types of testing, which is good! However, when it comes to dirt riding, 6D discovered that the slower and medium speed impacts were also an issue and not necessarily tested for certification. 6D’s patented technology is basically a multidirectional shock absorber that is sandwiched between two EPS liners. EPS is traditionally used in motocross, off-road, and street helmets and is the material inside a helmet that compresses during larger impacts. The ODS system not only absorbs and helps slow down those low- and mid-speed impacts, it also does the same with torsional twisting during an impact. When their helmet makes contact with the ground or an object that is not a direct impact, the ODS twists as it absorbs the impact. The bottom line is the brain does not like sudden stops or instant G-forces. Your brain floats in a fluid and if it stops too fast the brain bounces inside your head in a non-scientific sort of way. Any time you can decrease or slow down the sudden impact or lessen the force to the brain, you are ahead of the game. In larger impacts the ODS will eventually compress all the way like a shock absorber and then the two EPS liners act like a traditional helmet that require a high impact to meet DOT and SNELL certifications, for example. The 6D is not actually SNELL certified because SNELL Safety Foundation is a voluntary service not a requirement by any government. They are, however DOT (Department of Transportation) and ECE (Economic Community of Europe) approved and claim to exceed these standards. The overall idea is to improve low- and mid-speed impact absorption while still having ample major blow protection at the same time.

The helmet is made from aerospace carbon fiber, composite fiberglass, and Kevlar. Airflow includes 8 intake ports, 13 transfer ports, and 4 larger exhaust ports. The liners are made from real CoolMax Anti-Bacterial Fabric and cheek pads have emergency release fasteners. Helmet comes with a 3-year limited warranty and a crash replacement and or rebuild program. And of course the ODS energy management technology with 27 separate dampeners. You can also order different cheek pads if a custom fit is needed.

"In my opinion it has been nothing but positive and, thus far, 6D has led the pack and helped create a new way to help protect riders from head injuries."

How it works

  • I’ve had a few brief losses of time due to crashes in my day, the last, well I can’t remember.
  • Since the 6D was launched ............it has been my go-to lid for most of my riding
  • Travis Pastrana, has been wearing a custom-painted 6D for a little while now
  • 6D offers an inspection and possible rebuild program

I’ve had a few brief losses of time due to crashes in my day, the last, well I can’t remember. Since the 6D was launched and I got my hands on an ATR-1, it has been my go-to lid for most of my riding. I have two now, the first released model I use for off-road riding and the slightly updated version for motocross. The good and the bad or the bad and the good is that although I have been testing the lids for the past few years, I have never fully tested their ability in a medium or large impact to my head. That is good for me but bad for the test because I can’t give a raw account of how it performed. But I have talked to riders that swear by them following a crash where they made solid contact with the ground at speed. And many already know that the Prince of the dirt nap, Travis Pastrana, has been wearing a custom-painted 6D for a little while now.

The helmet is very comfortable and it didn’t have any odd pressure points on my hairless skull. No, they are not as cushy as an Arai but they are still making progress and plenty comfortable. The liner is removable and easy to wash and the cheek pads offer quick release for easy removal for maintenance and during an emergency situation. Yes, they are not cheap but I would spend the money on extra brain protection over any performance component any day of the week. The shell is slightly larger than some helmets but depending on the paint job you can’t really tell nor do they feel any different while riding. The weight is at par with most high-end lids, not heavy but not overly light either, just average. The eye ports are large enough to accept most goggles and allow the goggle to seal nicely against your face.

Although no helmet will last forever, 6D says they have a life of around 5 years. The bonus is that if the shell is still sound after an impact but the inner guts may have been compromised, 6D offers an inspection and possible rebuild program. As far as we are aware no other helmet company offers this type of service. They inspect the shell and if it meets their standards, they go in and rebuild the EPS liners and the ODS system. From the outside you can’t see the ODS system but pull the liner after any impact and look for cracks or indentations in the EPS. It is a good to err on the side of caution, always send your helmet in for inspection after a good hit to the noggin or place it on the shelf and call it art. 6D also offers discounts on new helmets if you damage a lid in the first six months of ownership and a second price option if it’s damaged within the first year.

I have been pleased with both of the helmets I have been using. The only comfort issue I have is the pad at the back of the head by the neck will push and raise the helmet if I look up too far ahead in the attack position. This is probably due to the shape of my head and neck area but worth a quick mention. For the most part the helmets have not changed much except for the chin guard and they improved the EPS shape slightly around the temple area for better durability. And because 6D is still a relatively small company in the helmet business, most if not all of their testing is performed in independent labs so they say they can’t fudge any numbers as far as we know. There is a lot of data on their website (Click Here) that may further explain the science behind their lids. ODS seems to work based on the data they have published and the riders I have spoke to that have inadvertently tested the helmets firsthand have said they are worth it.

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"I have talked to riders that swear by them following a crash where they made solid contact with the ground at speed"