Last weekend I posted my lousy quick shots of those “Tree Piece” wooden bike helmets. The next day at Sea Otter I snagged a random passerby and asked her to model a helmets for me, which is much better than the static “helmet on a stand” photos I took the day before.
Dan Coyle in Corvallis, OR hand manufactures these “Tree Piece” bicycle helmets with salvaged wood hardshell and cork lining.
Dan says he ran a small sample of helmets through the CPSC suite of tests and they pass. Obtaining actual CPSC approval involves manufacturing and then destroying more helmets than he sells, but he says he does plan to obtain that as soon as he’s able. Like most other bike helmets, these are designed to destruct on impact.
They’re lighter than I would have expected — not much more than similarly shaped hardshell helmets. The feel is a little like the shell part of old Vietnam-era plastic helmet liners, except much lighter and smaller. He found buyers for part of his collection last weekend during the 2012 Sea Otter Classic bike festival in Monterey.
You can find much more info at Coyle Design and Build. Dan writes about his Sea Otter experience and mentions a couple of people used his helmets for racing last weekend.
I recently purchased one of these helmets and it was the worst experience of my life. The helmet was supposed to take 10 weeks and took nearly fifteen. I had to repeatedly chase the owner through e-mail to get updates on my order> When he did return my messages it was just litanies of excuses. When the product was finally delivered, the finish was so bad that it was laughable. There were drips, globs, bubbles, one side was shiny while the other was matte, the cork is rough and unfinished. I was beyond shocked as these helmets are very expensive. I contacted the company and they flat out said no return, no refunds of and kind, no negotiations, nothing. He offered to refinish the helmet and said that not only would it take a month, but I would have to split the shipping with him both ways. DONT BUY THIS HELMET ITS A TOTAL RIP OFF. I am truly sorry for anyone who does not heed this message.