6D ATR-2: motocross helmet with hugely innovative protection system

6D-ATR-2-featured

6D ATR-2 motocross helmet review.

As you can probably imagine, I read and write a fair bit about motorbike helmets.

And strange though it sounds, very few helmet manufacturers go into detail about how protective their lids are. They usually talk a bit about paint schemes and ventilation and maybe how it’s improved over their other helmets. But the nitty gritty of how well it’ll actually save your bacon… at best they say surprisingly little; and at worst, bugger all.

6D ATR-2 Sector off road helmet front view
6D ATR-2 in Sector graphics

So it’s refreshing to find a helmet brand that drones on and on about the different materials used, and shearing loads, and linear compressions, and energy management, and a ton of other technical stuff – and how it all conspires to reduce injury.

I mean, you probably don’t need to know all this stuff, but you sure as hell want your helmet maker to know it inside out (and be so enamoured by it all that they publish it all on their website!).

One such helmet maker is 6D helmets – formed by a US dude who thought helmets weren’t doing a good enough job. So he set out to make a helmet that’s as good as it can be.

And their latest creation is the 6D ATR-2 motocross helmet, made to give even more impact protection, reduce the likelihood of concussion (and worse) and reduce the effects of linear and angular impacts at a variety of speeds.

Oh, and be a cracking helmet to boot.

So, if you’re after a new motocross helmet and considering a 6D ATR-2, then here’s all the info we’ve scavenged from around the web to help you make a decision.

  • Tricomposite motocross helmet
  • Advanced rotation reduction system
  • Dual impact absorption liners
  • ECE and DOT certified versions
  • EQRS
  • Titanium Double-D ring fastener
  • Sizes XS-XXL
  • Expect to pay around £500

Looking to buy a 6D ATR-2 helmet?

Please click below to visit the 6D ATR-2 helmets pages at our recommended store. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Overall/Summary

The headline with the 6D ATR-2 is that hugely impressive array of safety features. But it’s more than that. Motocross riders love the looks, the comfort and it’s all-round competence as a great dirtbike helmet.

6D ATR-2 Helo dirt bike helmet front view
Front view of the 6D ATR-2 Helo

It’s not cheap, but what price protection? Thing is, even though it’s ECE and DOT certified, we can’t be entirely sure how well it’ll protect compared to other helmets until it’s been independently safety tested. Though we’re as sure as we can be before then that it’ll perform well.

But there’s so much thought gone into this helmet from every angle – backed up by heaps of owners and riders saying how well it performs (including the pro motocross riders who helped develop it) – that we’re happy to say the ATR-2 is a great motocross helmet, right up there with the best on the market.

Safety

 (more about helmet safety)

The 6D ATR-2 comes in both ECE (Euro) and DOT (US) versions, so we know it’ll give at least a decent minimum level of protection.

Unfortunately, no 6D helmet has been tested by SHARP yet and, though the ATR-2 is a US made helmet, it hasn’t been Snell certified either because 6D doesn’t agree with their methodology and say meeting it would make for a stiffer and heavier helmet than it needs to be.

6D ATR-2 Strike motocross helmet side view
Side view of the 6D ATR-2 Strike helmet

We’ve heard that many times before – that Snell helmets prioritise a stiffer shell that stops the shell flexing and thereby absorbing impact forces. But it’s interesting to hear that from a US maker too.

Anyhow, the main feature of 6D helmets – including the ATR-2 – is the tech they use to control impact energy. What 6D calls ODS or Omni-Directional Suspension technology.

Inside the helmet, there’s an EPS shock absorbing liner similar to EPS’ you’ll find in most regular helmets. But in the case of the ATR-2, there’s also another, separate shock absorbing liner outside of the EPS made from expanded polypropelyene or EPP.

The internal EPS liner can move independently of the EPP liner, but they’re both connected by rubberized pegs (the yellow/red parts on the cutaway picture below). These, together with the orange pads, allow the external liner to rotate outside the internal EPS liner and so isolate you from some of the rotational forces that can cause damage.

So, if the helmet shell hits an object that causes the helmet to rotate (like hitting the road at speed!) then the outer shell will rotate more than the inner shell. And that reduction of rotational forces over time – and we’re talking crucial milliseconds here – can minimize the damaging effects of rotating the head in relation to the brain, as well as the neck.

6D atr-2 motocross helmet cutaway
Cutaway of the 6D atr-2 showing complex slip-plane dual shock absorbing liner

Also, the EPP sits underneath the tricomposite helmet shell and adds an extra layer of shock absorption.

It recovers its shape after an impact too – unlike crushable polystyrene liners – which allows 6D to recondition helmets that aren’t damaged too much. As long as the helmet shell’s not too badly damaged, for a fee they’re replace the EPS and send you the helmet back!

I guess the main thing is though, does it work?

Well, 6D’s website shows lots of diagrams which seem to prove their helmet works. One compares it to a ‘leading brand with MIPS’ which is Bell’s equivalent system’s name, showing it transferred 33% less energy to the head (and 21-21% less than other premium brands with similar slip-plane technologies).

They also reckon it reduces angular acceleration anywhere from 25-57% less than other helmets with slip-plane liners. Which is really gonna be comparing it to helmets like the Shoei VFX-WR or Bell Moto 9.

Which is all great and I don’t doubt these are the results their testers got on their testing rig.

6D ATR-2 Sector off road helmet rear view
From the rear – the 6D ATR-2 Sector in orange & blue

But call me a sceptical old twonk. Until it’s been independently verified by the likes of Snell (who 6D won’t use) or SHARP (no idea if they plan to test it) then we can’t really, truly, and independently know which helmets perform best.

We do know that rotational forces acting on the head through impact can do an enormous amount of damage and with a pair of sliding shock absorbing liners, you’d expect the ATR-2 to be good at reducing rotation as well as direct impacts.

But until the data’s in, we can’t say if it’s better than the competition.

Like I said though, at least 6D are genuinely giving it their best shot and if I was in the market for a new dirt helmet, on protective grounds alone, I’d definitely be considering an ATR-2.

OK – other safety stuff.

The ATR-2 is made in 3 helmet shell sizes (good) and has a titanium double-D ring fastener (fine).

They’ve also slotted some emergency quick release cheek pads on there (EQRS) which is essential for any race helmet – on or off road.

6D ATR-2 Aero dirt bike helmet front view
Aero graphics ATR-2

6D’s attention to protection also extends to putting EPP inside the chin bar which gives added impact protection should you take one straight on in the mush. And they’ve added a crushable section the bottom rear to help protect your neck/spine, a cut away to protect your collar bone, and a pad to the front to protect the sternum.

It’s all massively protection-orientated and illustrates the huge amount of thought that’s gone into the ATR-2.

Still, until it can be fully independently verified, I’ll have to stay true to our scoring methodologies and mark it a default 3 stars for its ECE/DOT certification, but will add an additional star for all the extra safety features (I know, I’m all heart!).

Helmet Noise

(more about helmet noise)

Like most pro level racing helmets, noise reduction isn’t really going to be a priority. And in the case of a motocross helmet, good venting and light weight are going to take precedent.

6D ATR-2 recon offroad motorbike helmet front view
Recon graphics

The ATR-2 is supposed to be a fairly noisy helmet. But don’t forget, that can be a good thing if you’re after chatting to your mates quite a bit or like listening to the sound of the engine.

But if you do want to up the speed by taking your ATR-2 on the road – which might lead to hearing damage of course – stick in some ear plugs and you should be fine.

Ventilation

(more about helmet ventilation)

6D has give the ATR-2 five always-open chin vents and six forehead vents. Most of these are covered by a mesh grille to keep out dirt and dust.

6D ATR-2 Patriot dirt bike helmet front view
Notice array of vents above the viewport and in the chin bar on this 6D ATR-2 Patriot

The top vents take air through the shell and into the helmet where there’s a front-back venting channel system in the EPS that’ll take air around the helmet.

One interesting thing about the venting on 6D helmets is that they use the gap between the two shock absorption layers to help the air circulate around the helmet too.

All that warm air exits the helmet through six rear exhaust vents.

Overall, ATR-2 owners say ventilation is very good. Some of the front vents could be bigger – and can clog up a bit. But if they’re clear and you’re working hard, there’s enough cool air gets through the helmet to keep you cool.


A couple of useful links…

All our Dirt Bike helmet reviews
Top 10 safest helmet brands


Goggles and Peak

6D ATR-2 Sector motocross helmet top view
Top down view showing the extent of that adjustable peak

According to owners, there’s enough space in there for most popular makes of goggles. For reference, we’ve heard of riders wearing Oakley Airbrakes and Fox Vue goggles without a problem.

That peak/roost guard is improved over the old ATR-1 helmet. It’s now got extra holes in it to reduce lift at speed. It’s adjustable too, which is always welcome, with shearable screws holding it in place – so the visor will detach on impact, reducing helmet rotation.

6D provides spare screws in the box.

Comfort and Sizing

(more about comfort and sizing)

The 6D ATR-2 is a medium oval internal shaped helmet. It comes in sizes XS-XXL and it has a fully removable and washable comfort liner.

That liner is made from a Dri-Lex material. That’s a fabric that’s soft to the touch and has excellent moisture wicking properties to quickly wick sweat away. It’s also quick drying, odour resistant and breathable – so ideal for inside a motocross helmet.

6D ATR-2 Circuit motocross helmet side view
6D ATR-2 in Circuit design

It’s not the lightest helmet around – typically averaging around 1.5Kg (3.3lbs) – but that weight’s nothing to worry about as it’s just a smidge over the average weight for a composite helmet.

There’s loads of owners out there who vouch for the ATR-2 being a really comfortable helmet, so long days riding while wearing one shouldn’t be a problem.

Looks & Graphics

The ATR-2’s a nice, modern looking motocross helmet and it’s available in loads of different graphics.

One thing worth noting though, is that it’s a larger helmet than some of its competition. That’s not surprising because 6D’s had to cram in two shock absorbing liners and a slip plane gap in there so they can easily rotate over each other.

In 6D’s own words, it can lead to an increase of between 4-20mm from comparable helmets.

6D ATR-2 solid white motocross motorcycle helmet side view
Plain white 6D ATR-2 showing cutaway for collarbone and sternum pad

Which might make your helmet seem a bit bigger than normal. It’s a payoff though and arguably worth it for all the protective innovations you get with the ATR-2.

At the time of writing we counted 12 different graphics, each with several different colourways available. That excludes the plain solid whites and blacks – though they do all tend to have that massive 6D logo plastered across them.

You’ll find examples of the Helo, Recon, Strike, Sector, Patriot and Circuit designs up and down the page, but there’s a ton of others you’ll find by clicking the link below (you’ll go straight to their ATR-2 helmets page).

Best places to buy a 6D ATR-2 helmet?

Please click below to visit the 6D ATR-2 helmets pages at our recommended store. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

6D ATR-2 Helmet Video

Here’s a 10m video showing a Hi Viz 6D ATR-2 Aero including a detailed look at a cutaway helmet showing how the ODS internals work.

Other stuff – warranty

6D ATR-2 helmets all come with a 3 year warranty.

Good Alternatives to the ATR-2?

Even though the ATR-2 is a great helmet, there’s some stiff competition out there.

Shoei VFX-WR Glaive

Shoei’s VFX-WR is a beautifully built motocross helmet. That’s got EQRS and a rotation protection system too – plus the US version was Snell tested/certified as well so should give excellent protection.

bell-moto-9-flex-motocross-helmet-seven-yellow-front-view
Bell Moto-9 Flex in Seven Yellow design

Many riders seem to be making a choice between the ATR and the Bell Moto-9. It’s Snell certified and there’s a full carbon version for about the same money as the 6D though the tricomposite version is cheaper.

hjc-cs-mx-2-pictor-hi-viz-motocross-helmet-side-view
Hi Viz Pictor Design CS-MX II

If you’re on a tight budget, HJC’s CS-MX II is highly rated for value for money. It’s entry level but it’s got all the key features you need from a motocross helmet – and owners love it.

Bell-Moto3-black-silver-blue-stripes-helmet-side-view
Bell Moto-3 Stripes

Finally, if you want a motocross helmet with a bit more style, the Bell Moto-3 is the original 70’s helmet reborn. Beautiful helmet with bags of style.

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Looking to buy a 6D ATR-2 helmet?

Please click below to visit the 6D ATR-2 helmets pages at our recommended store. And if you buy from one, we get a small sum from the sale at no extra cost to you – a massive THANKS! (it’s how we finance the site).

Buy from SportsBikeShop

Star Ratings

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Safety
Comfort
Noise
Features
Value
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