If you’ve been in the cycling world for a few years, you may have heard of the newest material aiming to prevent head injuries in cycling accidents, WaveCel. The tech first debuted in helmets from Trek’s brand Bontrager. Now, the technology has made its way to ski and snowboard helmets from Anon, including the Anon Merak WaveCel, which we checked out to see if it might just be the perfect double-duty solution for your adventures on skis and fat tire bikes.
The fight against head injuries in cycling has been a long one. Some of the first helmets came in the 1880s atop penny-farthing riders. In the more than a century since, technology has progressed from rudimentary materials like leather to high tech foams and concussion prevention systems to protect riders from falls, collisions, and cars.
WaveCel is a cell-like structure installed as a layer in the helmet between the exterior shell and soft lining. According to Popular Mechanics, “The cellular material can flex, crumple like a car, or glide to the side to send impact energy away.” When Bontrager first debuted WaveCel helmets, they said it was five times better at protecting you from rotational impact than traditional foam helmets.
The Merak WaveCel promises to give the same concussion-avoiding rotational benefits found in bike helmets to the slopes. This could present an opportunity to get double the protection. While designed for the slopes, the Merak would make a great option for your winter fat tire trail adventures, or, in a pinch, riding to work on a supremely cold and snowy day.
The Anon TK WaveCel helmet has a great fit sure to keep the helmet securely on your head. Don’t worry about a perfect fit out of the box; the rear has a BOA dial that allows you to tighten or loosen an inner halo for a snug fit, much like higher-end cycling helmets. The Polartec Power Grid lining keeps the helmet comfortable and extends down to the ear covers to give the low profile, warm, moisture wicking benefits to your whole head. The ear covers are the biggest advantage over a bike helmet for winter riding. They’re soft and warm and cover your entire ear, down to the lobes, to make sure you don’t end your ride with red, sensitive or numb ears.
Of course it also has standard mountain comfort features you’ll want, like venting holes across the top, eight of which close with a simple slider on the top of the helmet for those really cold days when you don’t need a rush of fresh air. The chinstrap also closes with a magnetic Fidlock snap helmet buckle. That means you’ll never pinch your skin, and you won’t need to take your gloves off to secure the helmet. Of course there is also a clip on the back of the helmet to secure your goggle strap and make sure your protective winter eyewear doesn’t slide up and off your helmet, only to be left lonely 100 yards back up the trail.
Along with the WaveCel, the helmet also has a hard plastic exterior to give you more complete protection from whatever you might hit.
The fit and comfort of the helmet are great, and easy to adjust for the perfect fit, even as you change where your hair sits. And while not explicitly designed for fat tire biking, having this material familiar to cyclists available in winter specific gear means you can get protection, and warmth, from a trusted new technology. That should give you more confidence for your fat tire adventures, or trips down to the grocery store, during the gnarliest weather. Plus, when you need a break from the bike, throw it in the car with your skis and be safe and warm on all your adventures.
$320; 4 colors; 4 sizes; burton.com