Getting Techy with D3O
Words by Drew Rohde | Photos by Chili Dog
The sad truth is that the sport we love so much indiscriminately slams us into the same dirt we love to slay beneath our tires. Maybe it’s karma for all those shralped berms, but it always bites hard. As years go by and injuries stack up, we slowly care less about our image and more about being able to bounce back from the next slam with minimal injury so we can ride more. Scars are still worn proudly, but our desire to earn them lessens. Lucky for us, brands like D3O evolve and get smarter too— arguably a bit faster than your average mountain biker.
A few months ago, we were approached by D3O’s Marketing and Communications Manager, Blanche Maass, who asked if we’d be interested in discussing the brand’s products and future plans. As we chatted a bit, we realized that despite having an intimate knowledge with the products from a user’s perspective, we didn’t know much about the brand itself and the science behind D3O’s revolutionary impact protection material.
We found out that Blanche and North America rep Marc Morelli, would be attending the Sea Otter Classic to visit some of D3O’s clients and proposed meeting up for a deep dive look at what D3O creates and offers their customers and end users. Over the years of testing products, we’ve spent plenty of time in D3O pads. While we knew the basic “non-Newtonian properties allow a flexible yet tough poly-blend material to protect like…” pitch, we hadn’t ever truly been schooled on what all goes down at the D3O Lab in the UK.
While recovering from a ski wreck, friends Dr. Phil Green and Richard Palmer were determined to find a better way to absorb impact energy and looked at the structure of the snowflakes below them for inspiration. In 1999 they first isolated the material at the University of Hertfordshire, which motivated them to found the D3O Lab. Since being commercialized in 2006, D3O technology has been used by the military, in work wear, used for medical and electrical applications, and obviously in protective equipment from mountain bikers to motorcyclists and equestrians.
The D3O Lab is now responsible for designing and testing the different recipes and properties of the material to always be searching for ways to improve an already amazing technology. Folks at the D3O Lab also work with various brands like Ride Concepts, 661, and Troy Lee Designs to find the best ways to incorporate their materials into the desired product. Whether it’s a footbed or insole, super thin and comfy knee pad or a full body compression suit, D3O has a crew ready to work with the brand to fine-tune each piece of material for the consumer’s need.
To visit D3O’s website to learn even more about their impressive materials, click here.