Scott Vanish Aero Helmet
Scott have brought out a new aero helmet
Lead by Giro Air Attack helmet, aero helmets are now all the rage in the pro-peloton. Not to be left out, ORICA-GreenEDGE riders approached SCOTT Sports to produce a new aero road helmet for them. Presumably because they wanted to get the physics right but also maybe because ORICA are an Aussie team, Scott approached the Sports Engineers from the University of Adelaide.
The University of Adelaide investigated the aerodynamics of cycling helmets in action and designed a smooth outer helmet skin to minimise drag in all racing conditions, from cruising through to flat-out sprinting. “We had to understand the air flow around the helmet at all the various positions and head angles a rider takes while racing,” says Associate Professor Kelso of the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering. “Cyclists will be cruising with their heads up in the peloton, then the head will drop when they are out in front pushing hard, and the position will change again when they are sprinting for the finish. During each of these stages, there will be a different head angle and different flow pattern. We needed to shape the helmet so that it had curves in all the right places for each stage. And, of course, we still needed to maintain the helmet’s protective foam structure. Collaboration with designers at Scott was an important part of this process.”
In order to provide more holistic, real world data for each design iteration, extensive wind tunnel testing was carried out with Orica-GreenEDGE on 40 prototype designs to optimise the helmet’s shape in terms of both aerodynamics and rider integration; analysing drag, side forces, ventilation and surface flow patterns.
The graphs below show an overview of that wind tunnel testing, documenting percentage improvements in the drag coefficient of the best-performing prototype helmet covers compared to the unmodified, vented Vanish EVO helmet. The results demonstrate that the two round-edge helmet covers, with trip wires, offer significant drag reductions in all three helmet positions.
Graphs from the University’s School of Mechanical Engineering Adelaide: Investigating the aerodynamics of cycling helmets in action and the design of a smooth outer helmet skin to minimise drag in all racing conditions, 2012
Based on these results it was decided that the final choice of helmet cover was to be ‘Round Cover 2 with open notches & central vent, and 1.2mm trip along Rib 2’, a helmet which reduced the drag by about 30% over the standard helmet and which had the best improvement in the sprint position when low drag is needed the most. Good news for Matt Goss…
“The challenge was…to perfectly match the ideal aerodynamic shape given by the wind tunnel study with the manufacturing and the cooling requirements, while also keeping an attractive and aggressive design’’ states Alexandre Dimitriou, helmet engineer at SCOTT Sports.
To keep riders cool the helmet features 3 frontal vents whose shape and location vents were established through evaluating a number of different configurations with Scott Engineers eventually finding a shape which offered the required cooling but proved to have no impact on drag. The combination of the front vents and the extensive inner cooling channels means that Orica riders can wear the helmet in relatively high temperatures without overheating.
“Admittedly we are not the first manufacturer to provide an aero road helmet to our pro team, but we were determined to do it right, and not just glue an uncut standard shell on our existing helmet. Responding to the request from team ORICA-GreenEDGE, our development team partnered with the University of Adelaide, renowned for excellence in aerodynamics. As a result of this collaboration we are very proud to offer our riders a helmet with a real competitive advantage, based on solid science” says John Thompson, Helmet Product Manager at SCOTT Sports.
The new Scott Sports helmet is called the Vanish Aero. “We believe the new helmet is the best of its type and a clear leader in the World Tour,” says Associate Professor Kelso.