Specialized’s new aero helmet spotted at Milan-San Remo

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

by David Arthur   March 18, 2013  

Mark Cavendish Specialized road aero helmet

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.

19 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

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.

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
18th March 2013 - 11:53

9 Likes

This kind of thing:

Tyre.PNG

Sir Velo

Raleigh's picture

posted by Raleigh [1733 posts]
18th March 2013 - 11:54

10 Likes

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

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
18th March 2013 - 12:27

13 Likes

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!"

posted by pwake [312 posts]
18th March 2013 - 12:30

16 Likes

Zipp does dimples on rubber.

pedalpowerDC's picture

posted by pedalpowerDC [250 posts]
18th March 2013 - 12:49

6 Likes

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.

posted by Matt_S [199 posts]
18th March 2013 - 14:17

12 Likes

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

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1093 posts]
18th March 2013 - 14:48

15 Likes

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 Rolling Eyes

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.

posted by mustard [72 posts]
18th March 2013 - 16:04

12 Likes

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.... Sad

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

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9037 posts]
18th March 2013 - 17:48

12 Likes

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.... Sad

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

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

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

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koko56's picture

posted by koko56 [334 posts]
18th March 2013 - 19:35

11 Likes

That really is an ugly hat you have on Mr Cavendish, good job you didn't pay for it!

posted by antozzi48 [17 posts]
18th March 2013 - 20:40

9 Likes

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...

Sq

Squiggle's picture

posted by Squiggle [414 posts]
18th March 2013 - 23:28

14 Likes

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.

Stuart Hayes.jpg
Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8487 posts]
18th March 2013 - 23:54

11 Likes

What Baden Cooke thinks of his new helmet

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

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9037 posts]
19th March 2013 - 5:48

12 Likes

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... Wink

posted by Paul J [675 posts]
19th March 2013 - 8:40

7 Likes

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!

http://www.bikeradar.com/news/article/lazer-helmets-debuts-snap-on-aero-...

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
23rd April 2013 - 18:13

9 Likes

Probably because Cav won the world champs wearing a helmet with a clip-on cover...

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
24th April 2013 - 8:02

9 Likes

???? 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 Surprise
Your opinion David is exactly why I made my post in the first place.

Paulo's picture

posted by Paulo [110 posts]
1st May 2013 - 13:49

7 Likes

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

David Arthur's picture

posted by David Arthur [1749 posts]
1st May 2013 - 15:46

13 Likes