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Aero is all the rage this year. Specialized debut new aero road lid at Milan-San Remo

Specialized chose yesterday’s Milan-San Remo classic to launch what clearly appears to be an aero road helmet. It was spotted being worn by Mark Cavendish, Tom Boonen, Vincenzo Nibali and a few other Specialized riders. Not a complete rollout, but clearly an opportunity to get some good feedback on this new design for the US company.

While there’s no official word from Specialized as of yet, manufacturers have a good track record of quietly debuting new products by giving them to their sponsored teams to race. Trek’s new Domane was first seen when Fabian Cancellara raced it at Strade Bianche last year, and there are many other examples of products being revealed in professional races ahead of a proper product launch. As we know, UCI rules stipulate that all products used by the teams must be available to buy, at the latest nine months after their first use in competition.

Specialized’s new helmet clearly looks to be designed to smooth airflow over its surface. There's fewer vents than the S-Works Prevail, so ventilation is clearly going to suffer - though not a concern in a cold, wet and windy race - but the upshot is inreased speed. And it's all about going faster. In introducing their Air Attack, Giro gave claims of riders being 17 seconds faster over a 40 km time trial, compared to their Aeon. While only a handful of seconds, it's a clear advantage over a regular helmet and enough reason for riders, especially on a near 300km race like Milan-San Remo, to choose it

Specialized of course started the whole craze for aero fairings/covers on helmets, as Mark Cavendish work a plastic cover over his Prevail at the 2011 road race world championships.  The UCI have since tightend up the rules, and now declare that "it is prohibited to add a detachable cover to a helmet".

Specialized's McLaren time trial helmet released last year

It was only last year that Specialized, in collaboration with McLaren, launched their new TT helmet. It was designed using computational fluid dynamics (CFD) and plenty of hours inside a wind tunnel, and was claimed to be their fastest ever helmet. While the two draw few similarities, this new helmet must borrow some of the lessons they learned developing it.

Specialized will have noticed that the Giro Air Attack has been well received by those teams sponsored by Giro. Even those sponsored by Bell, as is the case with some of the Blanco team. Though Giro and Bell are owned by the same company. And we’re seeing other manufacturers like Lazer and Met offering removable covers for their latest helmets. The UCI are allowing these, as long as they’re designed to be part of the helmet, it would seem.

Giro's Air Attack helmet, popular in the peloton

Aero is king of the trends in cycling right now. Aero road bikes, a category of bikes not seen until just a few years ago, are now creating a lot of buzz with many manufacturers rushing from the wind tunnel to the shops with their latest creations. And the helmet manufacturers are right behind them it seems. So as well as an aero road bike and aero clothing, you can add aero helmets to the list. What's next? Shoes? Gloves? Glasses? We can only begin to imagine.

Scott also debuted an aero road helmet at Milan-San Remo. As soon as we can find some photos of it we’ll bring you the story.

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

19 comments

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
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What's the deal with making Tubular Tyres more aero?

Would I be right in saying that Bontrager have an aero clincher, with strips of rubber down to the rim, so it makes a continuous form?

This seems to me to be the next most obvious area for aerodynamic development.

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Raleigh [1665 posts] 2 years ago
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This kind of thing:

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David Arthur @d... [651 posts] 2 years ago
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Or Mavic with their CXR-80 wheelset, with a strip to smooth the transition from tyre to rim. Which isn't UCI legal, as all aero fairings aren't

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pwake [374 posts] 2 years ago
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It's Mavic that have introduced the integrated tyre/wheel system with the strips to smooth the transition over the two.
It looks good. Or, in the words of Paul Daniels "Now that's Mavic!"

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pedalpowerDC [323 posts] 2 years ago
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Zipp does dimples on rubber.

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Matt_S [234 posts] 2 years ago
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Quote:

What's next? Shoes?

Bont already did that. - Banned!

http://www.bont.com/cycling/products/Specialty/crono/overview.html

Quote:

Gloves

Castelli Aero race gloves.

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WolfieSmith [1244 posts] 2 years ago
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With the clip on 'shield' glasses it looks like something from Halo ODST. I want one! But at £180 odd maybe not this year....  2

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mustard [72 posts] 2 years ago
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it does seem a tad strange that "it is prohibited to add a detachable cover to a helmet" but the Lazer is ok - not that I've a problem with the detachable cover, more an issue with another ridiculous, groundless UCI rule  29

p.s. glad to see Spec bringing an aero helmet out as I seem to have the same shape head as their helmets and no shops near me sell lazer to try theirs. Hoping to try the giro once some shops have it to see if it fits better than their standard road helmets.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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MercuryOne wrote:

With the clip on 'shield' glasses it looks like something from Halo ODST. I want one! But at £180 odd maybe not this year....  2

Without the 'shield' it just looks like a old skool skate helmet  19

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koko56 [330 posts] 2 years ago
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Gkam84 wrote:
MercuryOne wrote:

With the clip on 'shield' glasses it looks like something from Halo ODST. I want one! But at £180 odd maybe not this year....  2

Without the 'shield' it just looks like a old skool skate helmet  19

Ha! A like button is needed, though without comments becoming a like scoring comp.  17

Sigh though... in a little bit we are gonna be used to the look of aero lids.

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antozzi48 [20 posts] 2 years ago
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That really is an ugly hat you have on Mr Cavendish, good job you didn't pay for it!

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Squiggle [403 posts] 2 years ago
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I want one of these... NOT!!!

Don't know what Stu Hayes is wearing here but it's a fair bit nicer looking than those kiddy skateboard lids the Brownlees have on.

http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02302/olympic-brownlee-b_230...

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Simon_MacMichael [2442 posts] 2 years ago
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Grabbed a side-on pic of Stuart Hayes that day... pretty out there as helmets go, like he'd been rummagging around the props department at Pinewood Studios and found the 80s sci-fi wardrobe section.

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Gkam84 [9068 posts] 2 years ago
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What Baden Cooke thinks of his new helmet

http://youtu.be/hRDHdZQFUxo?t=2m30s

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Paul J [836 posts] 2 years ago
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Making trivial changes to the look of things, so the marketing people can sell it as a big deal and persuade people to open their wallets. Old story...  3

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Paulo [112 posts] 2 years ago
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road.cc wrote:

Specialized of course started the whole craze for aero fairings/covers on helmets, as Mark Cavendish work a plastic cover over his Prevail at the 2011 road race world championships.

This drives me mad... people are convinced its all about Cav! its not

Almost 2 years before this Lazer made aero 'Lion of Flanders' covers for Katusha to use at the Ronde Van Vlaanderen & NOBODY seems to give them the credit they deserve!
//www.belgianheadcase.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/wpid-2010-04-04-09.31.18.jpg)//www.probikeoutlet.com/15765-17966-large/lazer-helium-aero-rain-shell-lion-of-flanders-yellow-black-sm.jpg)http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/lazer-helmets-debuts-snap-on-aero-...

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David Arthur @d... [651 posts] 2 years ago
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Probably because Cav won the world champs wearing a helmet with a clip-on cover...

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Paulo [112 posts] 2 years ago
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???? So what??? we should incorrectly continue to give specialized the credit for the inovation?
Even though it was clearly Lazers idea?

Because Cav won WWRC in a specialized helemet 2 years later  13
Your opinion David is exactly why I made my post in the first place.

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David Arthur @d... [651 posts] 2 years ago
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I didn't say anything about giving Specialized the credit for innovation, as you say.

Yes, granted Lazer came up with the idea first, as you say. That was simply a clip-on cover though, the story here is really about helmet manufacturers, such as Specialized, designing aero helmets, not about clip-on covers