Urban Cycling News

Why Did Hövding Implode? The Tragic End of the Invisible Helmet

Hovding helmet

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Hövding, the innovative Swedish company renowned for its futuristic inflatable bike helmets, found itself in dire straits as it filed for bankruptcy at the close of 2023.

In a statement posted to its website, the board of Hövding Sverige AB announced that it had submitted a bankruptcy application on 21 December 2023 to the Malmö district court.

“The reason for the bankruptcy filing is that on 1 November 2023, the Swedish Consumer Agency imposed a temporary sales freeze on the company and then on 15 December 2023 announced a permanent sales freeze and recall for the product Hövding 3,” the statement read.

Woman wearing hovding helmet
image credit: hovding

Hövding Launched Appeal

Hövding, which disagreed with the Consumer Agency’s decision, launched an appeal in the Administrative Court which was successful and overturned the Swedish Consumer Agency’s decision. This meant that the Hövding 3 could still be sold.

However, according to the company, the actions of the Swedish Consumer Agency was so “extensive and damaging” that the board could not see a basis for continuing the company.

Hovding helmet deploys in crash

Hövding 3 Can Be Used Again

The company also addressed customers directly on their Facebook page, saying; “Today, we received the news from the administrative court that the permanent sales stop and recall of Hövding 3 have been lifted. Which means that all consumers can use their Hövding again. A true victory for all Hövding users out there.

“However, due to the substantial and permanent damage caused by the actions of the Swedish Consumer Agency, we will not survive and we have therefore filed for bankruptcy. For the past 12 years, we have been consistently aiming and fighting for more cyclists to survive traffic injuries on the roads and we are all profoundly saddened by the news.”

Adding; “Given the bankruptcy, we will unfortunately no longer be able to offer our services to our customers. Thank you for being a part of the Hövding community, the true urban cyclists. Your loyalty has meant the world to us.”

Male wearing Hovding helmet before and after deploy
image credit: hovding

The History of Hövding

The Hövding story began in 2005 when industrial design students Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin sought a solution to Sweden’s new law requiring those under 15 years to wear a bicycle helmet.

Haupt and Alstin wanted something fashionable but still safe, something that would be easy to wear but would protect riders in crash. So the airbag helmet was born.

The “invisible helmet” as it was affectionately named quickly became a worldwide talking-point, won numerous design awards, and stood out as one of the safest protection gear for cyclists. It took seven years from development to market launch and received €13 million in funding.

The Hövding operated by registering a cyclist’s movements 200 times per second. During a crash the airbag deploys in 0.1 seconds. The helmet was designed to protect both the rider’s neck and head.

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