Heavy Metal Thunder, Protect Your Head Out on the Highway

Pfaff Harley-Davidson develops the Tough Turban, a protective innovation for Sikh motorcycle enthusiasts

June 18, 2021


For the past few years, Sikh motorcyclists have been exempt from wearing a helmet. This has allowed turban-wearing riders to adhere to an essential part of their faith and identity. In other words, to be their free, authentic selves while participating in a hobby and form of transportation intrinsically linked to freedom.

Riding without a helmet, however, does come with increased risks. That’s where The Tough Turban comes in. The Tough Turban was conceived by Toronto-based agency Zulu Alpha Kilo for Pfaff Harley-Davidson and features emerging technologies in protective gear like non-Newtonian foam that hardens on impact, 3D-printed chainmail (which recalls the chainmail worn by Sikh warriors of the past) and a composite fabric used in bulletproof clothing. Better yet it is being released as an open-source design, which enables any manufacturer worldwide to take a crack at constructing this turban designed to help riders in a crack up.

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“Pfaff Harley-Davidson is proud to help champion an idea that celebrates the diversity of our ridership. We are honoured to help advance the cause of diverse gear and to help build awareness for the potential of the innovation amongst our vast community of riders across Canada and around the world,” explains Brandon Durmann, Brand Marketing Specialist at Pfaff Harley-Davidson. 

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The idea for The Tough Turban came from a uniquely personal place. Conceived by Zulu Alpha Kilo’s Dan Cummings and Vic Bath, who is from a Sikh background, and whose father grew up in a village in India dreaming of owning a Harley-Davidson, which was the ultimate symbol of freedom to him.

“The Tough Turban further empowers Sikh riders to protect who they are,” shares Zak Mroueh, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Zulu. “This initiative combines a lot of things we’re glad to focus on at Zulu Alpha Kilo—inclusion, innovation and our core belief in using design thinking to solve real world problems.”


Client: Pfaff Harley-Davidson
Agency: Zulu Alpha Kilo
Chief Creative Officer & Creative Director: Zak Mroueh
Head of Design: Stephanie Yung
ACD/Art Director: Vic Bath
ACD/Writer: Dan Cummings
Designer: Jeff Watkins, Rasna Jaswal
Client: Brandon Durmann, Melanie Somerville
Agency Producer: Colleen Allen, Laura Dubcovsky, Tom Evans, Kathryn Brown
Account Team: Rob Feightner, Matt Sinuita, David Trembley, Allison Diaz Mercado
Strategy Team: Spencer MacEachern, Shaunagh Farrelly
Product Design: Sparks Innovation
Production House: Zulubot
Director: Barbara Shearer
DOP: James Arthurs
Editor: Jessie Posthumus
MotIon Graphics: Ashlee Mitchell
Illustrator: Nabil Elsaadi
Audio Engineer: Dino Cuzzolino
Web Design: Jacqui Lau, Kesia Payne
Photographer: The Moto Foto | Dan Lim
Online Artist: Felipe Chaparro
Head of Production: Adam Palmer