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Picture of Helmet Mohawks in 10 Minutes
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This article is sponsored by Momentum magazine and MonkeyLectric - creator of the Monkey Light bike light

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Now I know what you're thinking - "If I wanted a great new style in 10 minutes, I'd just go to Supercuts!  Why try to Do It Yourself?"  That's about what my sweetie says every time I cut my own hair.  Actually what she says is: "I can't believe you tried to cut your own hair *again*.  It's a total mess and you better go pay them to fix it before my friends see you."  So the compromise was I'd just wear a hat for the next month. 

I think this all goes back to my mother.  I was 9, it was the height of the hair-metal '80s and I really really wanted a mohawk.  Of course my mom wouldn't let me!  The compromise was I got to give my cat a Mohawk.  Well, I think I just did it and then we compromised that I wouldn't ever ever do it again.

During one of these hat-wearing episodes a few months ago I ran into my friend (and master of DIY) Julia Hasty on a ride.  Julia was sporting a well loved DIY helmet which rather drew my attention.  Julia said "I strapped some plastic aquarium plants to my helmet".  All I could think was - "That. Is. So. Hot."

Later - in an unrelated fit of ornithological wonderment I was reading up a bit on the Australian Magpie.  Perhaps the most notable thing about this bird is its attitude.  During mating season it becomes highly aggressive to unsuspecting humans (or, Australians at least).  It will dive-bomb and gouge the head and neck Hitchcock style!  I read this on Wikipedia so it must be true.  Then I happened upon a most interesting note in the article: "wearing a broad-brimmed or legionnaire's hat or using an umbrella will deter attacking birds … the use of cable ties on helmets has become common and appears to be effective".

I had little more than my hat to keep these ideas in my head so I guess it was no surprise that night when I woke up thinking "I AM GONNA HAVE A MOHAWK LIKE I ALWAYS WANTED!  BUT ON MY HELMET!  AND WITH CABLE TIES AND IT IS GONNA BE TOTALLY HOT AND IT IS GONNA TAKE ONLY 10 MINUTES AND IT WON'T NEED ANY MOISTURIZING CONDITIONER".  Of course I had to wake up my sweetie and tell her right away.  She said "you are a total mess and you better pay them to fix you before my friends see".

So you can see it really makes a lot of sense to give your helmet a great hairstyle, and its totally hot.  And seriously, it only takes 10 minutes in DIY-time (which any DIY'er knows means half an hour).

 
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Step 1: What you need

This article covers not one, but TWO different ways to make a helmet mohawk.  whoa!

METHOD 1: CABLE TIES.  All you need is a pack of 100 cable ties (also known as zip-ties) and a helmet with air slots in it.  Cable ties are available in a variety of colors at your local home improvement store in the electrical section.  Standard cable-ties are 8" long (200mm), depending on the size of the slots in your helmet the ends may stick out 2" to 4" (50 to 100mm).  If you want something longer you can put 2 cable ties together in-line to make an extra-long tie, or you can buy longer ones to start.  From mcmaster.com you can get every possible length, width and color you might want.  My helmet in the photo uses 11" (250mm) fluorescent orange cable ties, mcmaster.com part number 71295K66.

METHOD 2: FUZZY CLOTH.  You need about a 2 foot long by 4 inch wide piece of fuzzy cloth.  Go to your fabric store and pick your favorite.  You also need some glue.  We used hot-melt glue, glue guns for this are at lots of craft and home improvement stores.  You can also use a variety of other rubbery glues.  You also need scissors.  You need a helmet, this method is a bit easier on a helmet with fewer air slots.

Step 2: The Cable Tie Helmet Hairdo

Once you've got the ties, just start looping and cinching them one-by-one around your helmet slots.  That's it!  I used the various slots in my helmet to get the ties pointing in various directions.  If the lengths come out un-even use a scissor to give the long ones a trim.  Instead of a Mohawk you can also make a "pinhead" hairstyle by making them point all over the place.

Step 3: Fuzzy Cloth Helmet Hairdo

Picture of Fuzzy Cloth Helmet Hairdo
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Julia also needed a new helmet style, and she made her own 10-minute mohawk helmet using a strip of fuzzy pink cloth from the fabric store. 
  • Cut the fabric to strip to length.
  • Glue down only the middle the strip from end to end.
  • Cut a few notches along the edge of the strip it to help conform to the curve of the helmet.
  • Now glue the edges down
Julia used a skateboarding helmet which has less slots, it's a bit easier to glue onto.  She attached the fuzzy cloth with a hot-melt glue gun which is super fast and easy.  These guns are about $20 at your home improvement or hobby store, or from grizzlyindustrial.com.  You can also just use a variety of general-purpose rubbery glues (gorilla glue, silicone, liquid nails) for this.

Note:  the 'foam' part of the helmet is damaged by many common glues.  the 'shell' will not have a problem with most glues, if you are not certain you can make a small test patch first.


Step 4: Other ideas

Picture of Other ideas
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How about helmet dreadlocks using a bunch of innertube strips? Or go the full art-car route and glue lots of beads, mirrors, toy soldiers or other fun material all over your helmet! Julia also made a great dino-style 'do using triangle-shaped wedges of plastic.
spange2 years ago
This is cool, but be aware that this make the helmet more dangerous. Helmets are smooth and have a skin of plastic over it to prevent the helmet from "grabbing" on to anything. This lessens the chances of neck injury. Adding to the helmet increases the chances.
Twitcheth3 years ago
The correct Aussie term for being dive bombed by a magpie is "getting swooped" And trust me helmet mohawks are the best deterrent for the critters ;)
Howd you make the cool pink tall one?
sglider123 years ago
This is my result. I freaking love it! Great idea man!
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Kaiven5 years ago
I saw this and thought "Paintborg"
Paintborg is a guy that lives in Croatia and plays paintball. He probably has the coolest helmet/face mask I have ever seen...

dvnfntn Kaiven3 years ago
Borg recently passed away.
He was an amazing person and paintballer.
RIP BORG
Kaiven dvnfntn3 years ago
Whhhhaaaaattt????!! What happened?
Sorry for replying to a comment this old, but you are right that helmet is awesome.
Mattrox3 years ago
Finally!!! A solution for the dorky helmet look!
i made thee one with the cable ties on a skateboare helmet and now theres a bug gap so i might try a diff one
gladys454 years ago
this is quite common in Australia, to stop Magpies (hilariously evil bird) swooping riders.
haley2804 years ago
i prefer the fuzzy luk cuz its much much safer!!!belive me it iS!!
How so? Can you explain that please?
I wouldnt suggest the one useing cable ties... I did it, and when i crashed for the first time with it, it wasnt pretty. I fell and the my head hit the groung, all the cable ties bent and one hit me in the eye. im okay now but thats just not a safe idea, and i leared the hard way.
dan (author)  Spencer1231!4 years ago
yikes! i did not think that would be possible. maybe if we keep the length of the cable tie a bit shorter then it can't reach all the way to your eye.
FAILORD
Jujitsu-Man4 years ago
Check out the Mohawk Helmet I made. It takes more than 10 minutes, but still very easy to make. The URL is this
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Jumbo Ninja5 years ago
If you use Velcro on the round helmet you could have interchangeable Mohawks instead of being stuck with one!
Camisado5 years ago
That guy with the pink mohawk helmet looks really badass.
it's a chick
Really? Uh, ok.
Zem5 years ago
Awesome! I have a friend who LOVES zip-ties, I'll have to show him this. 
Hey, Where do you find those types of helmets? The ones where the mohawk was glued on. All i can find are these stupid looking ones like the picture below and when i do find the cooler looking ones, they are too small or "youth".
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dan (author)  Yerboogieman5 years ago
the round style is made for skateboarding, snowboarding, wakeboarding, general non-bike use.  anyplace that has that type of gear will have it, usually not hard to find at the big chain stores.

hydronics5 years ago
actually Gabriel Tiller made the Dino helmet for Jay after she busted her front teeth out in Canada..... :) http://bikeportland.org/2008/01/07/guest-article-crash-knocks-out-teeth-community-helps-put-them-back/
Just remember that certain chemicals in glue can damage your helmets integrity. It not worth looking cool if your skull cracks open the first time you need the helmet.
helmets with plastic shells, especially thermoplastic shells can react to many normally harmless chemicals. So do your homework first when picking an adhesive. 
dan (author)  crashtestracing5 years ago
good point.  the 'foam' part of the helmet is the sensitive part.  the shell can handle most glues.  so avoid getting glue on the foam.

the foam can be damaged in different ways. some helmets, like the road helmet shown with the cable ties the foam is the most important part of the structure. The shell being just something that protects the foam from damage in light impacts in this case. But with high impact helmets, like ones for motor sport and i believe skateboarding/ BMX, the hard outer shell is really important and can be easily chemically damaged, even just by paints and adhesives.

Its best to do your research on your specific helmets construction before you begin. Im sure most of them will react well enough with most chemicals. just no reason to be lazy about it is all.
cporter95 years ago
 Love that cable tie mohawk.
Kaiven cporter95 years ago
The orange/yellow/black looks really good! I think you have good taste :P haha