Riders, how do you cope when it’s hot out? We all know deep down that we should wear gear, both to protect ourselves from impacts and slides and to protect against harmful UV rays that get worse in the summer. Cooling gear, such as moisture-wicking base layers, can help, but what if that’s not enough?
That’s why Osaka, Japan-based CoolSmile invented the G2/G2 mask helmet air conditioner prototype. It works a bit differently than either the BluSnap or the Feher A/C helmet, which are two other approaches that we’ve mentioned in the past. You see, while both the BluSnap and the Feher rely on air conditioning units that are part of the helmet, the CoolSmile G2 mask is just that—an air-conditioned balaclava.
How it works is pretty simple and straightforward. The balaclava is sewn with flat seams, to make it fit more neatly and comfortably under your helmet. Fabric is thin, but it holds flexible tubing in place that circulates cold water around your head. The front zips up, right over the middle of your chin. Depending on which version of the mask is involved, your mouth and nose may be exposed, or only your eyes may be exposed. It’s unclear how comfortable the zipper would be to have right over your mouth and nose if riding long distances, though.
The rider carries ice water in a jug, which is held securely on your body via an insulated waist pack. Flexible hoses run to and from the jug and your mask, circulating the ice water with the flick of a switch. The switch has three positions: On, Off, and Eco. CoolSmile says that the On mode is the strongest, and Eco is somewhere in the middle, so you can attenuate how cool you want to be by choosing between those two modes. There’s a helpful YouTube video that explains the entire thing, but be aware that it’s entirely in Japanese.
In the video, the inventor wears a Shoei Neotec 2 helmet. He also notes that both your hair thickness and the CoolSmile G2 mask may affect how your helmet fits, so be sure you test everything together to find the most comfortable combination before going on long trips.
For anyone familiar with ice therapy machines that circulate ice water around your aching limbs, either post-exercise or post-surgery, this concept should look extremely familiar. It’s essentially an extremely portable version of one of those types of machines, which you can just fill up with ice water and then enjoy the cooling effect on your hot head.
So, when will it be available for sale? If all goes according to plan, it should be available to customers in July, 2021. Pricing and other details aren’t available yet, but in the video, CoolSmile says they’re considering offering the mask in both black and gray fabrics.