Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

The Tatoo folding bicycle helmet – a chocolate teapot?

Posted by Matt | January 19, 2010 | 5 comments so far

Tatoo folding bicycle helmet
In a world ambivalent to cycling at best, cycling helmets are often cited as a reason not to ride a bike. Too bulky, too hot, too, well dorky for the casual rider to want to bother with.

Amongst regular riders, particularly commuters there’s also a hardcore – if that’s the right word – who refuse to wear helmets for similar reasons. And then there’s those who will wear them off-road but not on and so on.

So at first glance, the Tatoo bicycle helmet has a few things going for it. It can fold up and be stowed away easily and it’s made from 100% polypropolene which is cheap, recyclable and ‘unbreakable’ according to the inventor Julien Bergignat’s own website.

Tatoo is French for Armadillo which the design uses for inspiration. And as we all know, Armadillo’s are pretty tough too aren’t they? So by now you’d be thinking this is something you might be tempted to wear when a proper cycle helmet just seems too much trouble wouldn’t you?

Except, as the website ‘Almost Genius‘ points out, it has one fundamental flaw. While the material it’s made from may be unbreakable, the contents of it (i.e. your head) most certainly is not. And this bastard son of a recycled plastic bottle has no capacity at all to actually difuse the effect of a blow to the head (yes, I’m thinking Monty Python’s ‘Blow to the Head’ sketch too!).

Whereas a normal helmet is designed to crack and spread the force of impact across the skull, thereby protecting the wearer’s noggin, this is merely cushioned. So although you may feel smug in your eco-ness and delight in your lightweight solution to head protection, you may as well just put on a tea cosy and hope for the best.

Or as Almost Genius says:

When wearing the Tatoo, you might feel the warm glow of future-forward design. You also won’t feel your legs, after you’re paralyzed.


About the author

Matt is one of the founding Molefathers of the Muddymoles, and is the designer and main administrator of the website.

Having ridden a 2007 Orange Five for many years then a 2016 YT Industries Jeffsy 29er, he now rocks a Bird Aether 9 and a Pace RC-627.

An early On-One Inbred still lurks in the back of the stable as a reminder of how things have moved on. You can even find him on road bikes - currently a 2019 Cannondale Topstone 105 SE, a much-used 2011 Specialized Secteur and very niche belt drive Trek District 1.

If you've ever wondered how we got into mountain biking and how the MuddyMoles started, well wonder no more.

There are 5 comments on ‘The Tatoo folding bicycle helmet – a chocolate teapot?’

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  1. Dave says:

    Whilst I agree it looks somewhat flimsy I’m not so sure about the science behind your dismissal.

    The energy from an impact on a conventional helmet is “used” for deforming the helmet material rather than deforming your skull. Generally this is expanded polystyrene and as most of us know expanded polystyrene does not then return to it’s original shape once crushed and hence you need a new helmet.

    With this helmet the orange padding looks like it is the sort of material that will deform and then slowly release the energy by slowly returning to it’s original shape. This actually might be able to “absorb” a similar amount of energy but until tested who knows.

    Personally, I think it looks a bit w@nk.

  2. Mark says:

    Is it just me, or does it look like an airtex sanitary towel?

  3. tony says:

    When it’s folded up it reminds me of a cross between the early Etto MTB cycling helmets and the old fashioned “hair net” cycling helmets.

    There are very good reasons why we don’t wear these sorts of helmets any more – they don’t protect you well and this one won’t.

    After me and Debbie both busting helmets this year, we’ll stick to our Met helmets.

  4. mike61 says:

    ‘chocolate teapot’…..

    no just bo**ocks!

  5. I don’t care how dorky I look when wearing a helmet, but it looks like an interesting invention anyway.

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