Hold onto your handlebars! The highly anticipated FRHPhe-02 has finally arrived, following FIM’s game-changing decision to include off-road helmets in their lineup back in November of 2022. What’s good for the goose… It’s about time we dirt riders get the gear we deserve, and now we can shred the trails with just as much style as our roadie friends! Get ready to elevate your off-road game with FRHPhe-02.
Previously, we had the FRHPhe-01 dwelling mainly on circuit racing disciplines where low-to-medium-to-high velocity linear impacts, angled impacts, and penetration testing were critical for a lid to be badged.
Now, the nature of falls involved in off-road riding (Motocross, Enduro, Speedway, and Cross-Country) is a whole different kettle of fish. And so, the FIM partners with the impact testing lab at Zaragoza University to develop a new rulebook. Although this is the proverbial “off the beaten path,” I believe we will likely see improved safety for riders in these disciplines just as with the now-matured FRHPhe-01.
As far as the packaging goes, nothing changes. The FIM homologation label goes on the chinstrap, and a QR code will help identify and authenticate each helmet individually. Cool, right?
The AGV Pista GP RR Carbon Helmet. Certified to the latest European motorcycle helmet testing regulation, ECE 22.06, and approved by FRHPhe-01 in 2018, this helmet is designed to meet the highest safety standards. It must first pass certifications from leading safety organizations, including SNELL M2015/M2020, FMVSS 218 (DOT), or JIS T8133, to be recognized by the FIM.
Aw, snap! Does this make my AGV Pista GP RR Carbon FHRPhe-01 homologated helmet now defunct? Hang on, FIM does not plan on emphasizing the new standard before 2025 – it is planned to come into effect in 2026. FIM only “strongly encourages’ ‘ adherence to its helmet standard for their racing events, trials, pedelecs, SSV, and LSWR seekers, for now. You needn’t worry too much about that stuff, but here is the timeline just so you stay in the loop.
An infographic illustrates the timeline for the implementation of the FIM’s new phase, FRHPhe-02, in the FIM Racing Homologation Programme (FRHP). Since 2016, the FRHP has aimed to provide top-level protection for riders competing in FIM events. The first phase, FRHPhe-01, was implemented in MotoGP in June 2019 and other circuit racing disciplines in January 2020. In November 2022, the FRHP introduced its second phase, FRHPhe-02, developed in partnership with helmet manufacturers to establish an even more stringent standard. This new rating standard will be strongly recommended starting in 2025 and will become mandatory for FIM riders in 2026.
Now, let’s see how the new FRHPhe-02 test phase compares to the preceding FRHPhe-01.
FRHPhe-01 vs. FRHPhe-02: How Do These Two Phases Compare?
The new standard demands additional tests such as an oblique anvil impact test, a hemispherical anvil to measure torsional impacts, and the ease of removal of cheek pads. More tests and fewer samples (down from ten to six). It also introduces a skull fracture criterion and is supposed to be superior to the just-off-the-boat ECE 22.06, SNELL M2020, and the Japanese JIS T8133, naturally building on the lessons of the first iteration. Here is a quick summary of what’s new:
Key Differences Between the FRHPhe-01 and FRHPhe-02 Test Phases
|Anvil types||Flat steel anvil only with a circular impact face||Flat Anvil: The flat steel anvil with a circular impact face, hemispherical anvil, and oblique anvil with a solid rectangular impact face angled at 45 degrees|
|Number of test helmets per size and accessories combination and various tests||Sample size of 10 helmets:
||Sample size of 6 helmets:
To pass the new challenge, helmets will now have to keep it together while smashing against a hemispherical (like a metal ball) anvil in addition to the flat level and angled surfaces – of course, a sample is struck only once per location. Also, a new parameter called as skull fracture criterion will be considered along with the reduced acceptable resultant rotational acceleration of 10,000 rads/s2 down from 10,400 rads/s2 in the oblique anvil crash test.
Relax, all these numbers are detected by electronic sensors inside a head form supporting the helmet for tests and so no human brains were smashed in the making of this table.
Interestingly, the new FRHPhe-02 testing manual stipulates that the technicians will now do all these additional tests with only 6 helmets down from 10 per size and accessories combination (one of which is to be stored untouched for reference and one is a spare), so now only four pawns. I think it is very considerate of the plight of helmet makers who previously had to ship way too many helmets.
My Two Pennies Worth
As a rider, safety is always top of mind for me, both on the track and my daily commute. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend that FIM not only continues to improve on safety standards for racing but also expands their focus to include testing and grading helmets for everyday use. Imagine having peace of mind knowing your everyday helmet meets the stringent and high standards by FIM’s FRHPhe-01 or FRHPhe-02 phases without having to break the bank! Whether it’s a leisurely ride to the grocery store or a brisk commute, I believe that everyone needs to arrive at their destination safe and sound.
And there is one more thing that has been in my mind lately. It appears that most Snell M2015 certified helmets are critically missing out on the FIM label, which is surprising given that Snell is one of the privileged certification schemes that are prerequisite for FIM. While I embrace the notion of reduced impact transmission, I still believe that energy management, as Snell emphasizes, is also a critical factor in determining helmet safety.
That’s why I hope to see a future where FIM and Snell harmonize their standards rather than grow apart as we have seen in the recent past. After all, there is often more than one solution to a problem, and the differences only serve to compromise safety. As an expert, I know that when it comes to safety, we should always strive for the best possible outcome. Separate development is never the answer!
Information for this article was partially sourced and researched from the following authoritative government, educational, corporate, and non-profit organizations: