Fibreglass was the wonder material of its age. Originally developed in the 1930’s it was their carbon fibre moment.
It’s a cheap, light weight, strong and mouldable material that’s very suited to making into motorcycle crash helmets and has been the go-to material for heaps of manufacturers over the years in their quest to make the best helmet.
Indeed, many older dudes (like me!) still equate fibreglass helmets with top-of-the-range lids.
And with good reason – because in many cases it still does. Arai still uses it, so does Shoei and Scorpion, for example. But mostly, fibreglass is used as one of a number of components in a composite fibre helmet. These usually include other materials such as carbon fibre and kevlar in the mix.
In the picture, you can see an early stage of making an Arai helmet – creating a ‘straw hat’ of high-grade fibreglass (what Arai call superfibres) to form into the helmet shell before layering in other materials.
Fibreglass can be used as ‘ordered’ mats similar to carbon fibre weave. But, as you can see in the picture, it also has multi-directional strength when used in the ‘chopped strand’ method where fibres are chopped then laid down in random directions before being set in resin. This gives it great stability and multi-directional strength.
So don’t let fibreglass put you off – it’s an excellent material that displays lots of the properties we like to see in a helmet – light weight, strength with tunable flexibility and abrasion-resistance being but four.
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Visit our fibreglass crash helmets section to see the wide variety of top-performing helmets that are sold as fibreglass helmets (or as composites containing fibreglass).