Saturday, June 29, 2013

Specialized S-Works Evade aero helmet launched

Sam Dansie
June 29, 11:30, 
June 29, 11:31
Alberto Contador models the Specialized S-Works Evade helmet
Alberto Contador models the Specialized S-Works Evade helmet
  • Alberto Contador models the Specialized S-Works Evade helmet
  • Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quickstep) played his hand in the early breakaway
Official launch follows months of use by top pro riders
Specialized’s new aero helmet, the S-Works Evade, has been formally released at the 2013 Tour de France after months of blacked-out versions appearing in various pelotons.
The helmet – which complements the range-topping S-Works Prevail – has appeared in Saxo-TinkoffAstana and Omega Pharma-QuickStep colours, as the 2013 Tour de France gears up for the grand d├ępart in Porto Vecchio, Corsica.
In power terms, Specialized aerodynamicist Chris Yu said that the Evade saves 20 watts over the light, well ventilated Prevail at 50kmh, and about 10 watts at 40kmh. In a 200m sprint at 1,000 Watts – an output approaching that which the pros can achieve – Specialized claim it gives a 2.6m improvement.
Compared to rivals such as the Giro Air Attack, Scott Vanish Aero and recently released Kask Infinity, the Evade looks more ventilated. Yu said the project wouldn’t have begun if adequate ventilation hadn’t been possible. About half the time in research was spent ensuring the helmet aired well.
“We noticed at last year’s Tour that a lot of the guys were hot in the first couple of stages, and a lot of guys decided not to wear the aero helmets they had available,” said Yu. “We talked to our riders and they said, 'We can’t actually wear these things if they can’t ventilate properly.'”
According to Yu, the blacked-out version that first started appearing at Milan-San Remo in March differs little from the fully branded versions that have now been released. He said foam density might have been moderated, but that the aerodynamic shape has stayed fixed.
The project originally began by cutting holes in the S-Works McLaren TT helmet and wind tunnel testing the results until Specialized had a prototype that ventilated well with negligible drag impact.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Specialized Evade Aero Road Helmet (pics) "46 seconds over 40km* ( *over a standard road helmet )"




Cycling speed records are defined in many unusual way. For purists, it’s about the athlete pushing themselves on flat ground to the utmost speed. These mad men and women have pushed speeds of 83 mph (133 km/h) and 75 mph(121 km/h) respectively.
Then there are the paced records, where a cyclist utilizes a motor vehicle to minimize wind resistance. The first record of this style was set in 1899, when Charles “Mile a Minute” Murphyconvinced a railroad company to lay down plywood sheets between railroad tracks and draft a train. He hit 60 mph (96 km/h) and became the first person to ride a mile on a bicycle in under a minute.
There are also the downhill records where riders hurtle down snow capped mountains (or sometimes a volcano) to reach speeds of over 100 mph (160 km/h)
Then there is this guy. Who used a Swedish designed hydrogen peroxide powered rocket to propel himself to 163 mph (263 km/h) on a former military base in France.
Despite the auxiliary power, this daredevil still wasn’t fast enough to surpass the flat surface, motor paced record of 167 mph (268 (km/h) set by Fred Rompelberg (who was fifty at the time!) in 1995.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Rock N' Road Cyclery #1 Specialized Dealer in Orange CountyRock N' Road on instagram.  Follow @rocknroadRock N' Road Cyclery on facebook.  Like N' Road on Twitter.  Follow @RockNRoad

The world's most gruelling sporting event is once again upon us- the Tour de France!  To help you celebrate this year's Tour de France in style, We will be hosting the Specialized #ITSMYTOUR Sweepstakes.  This is your chance to win big!  One lucky winner will receive both, a Tarmac ridden by one of Specialized's Tour team's athletes in this year’s race, plus the 2013 Pro Level road bike of their choice (Tarmac, Amira, Roubaix, Ruby, or Venge)!!  The lucky winner will also be flown to Specialized global headquarters in Morgan Hill for a tour of the facility, a visit with Mike Sinyard, and access to the Specialized HQ bicycle fleet during the infamous Specialized Lunch Ride!

To enter the contest, riders must visit one of Rock N' Road Cyclery's 4 Orange County 
locationswhere you will receive an #ITSMYTOUR Game Piece with a code to be entered online


To enhance your celebration of this year's Tour de France, we are offering FREE financing for a year on any Specialized Road bike purchased!  Purchase a Tarmac, Venge, Roubaix, Ruby, Amira, Dolce, Allez, or Sectuer between June 29th and July 21st and take the entire year to pay for it.  Swing by Rock N' Road and set yourself up with one of the fastest bikes on the planet.

Click here to learn more about the Tour de France

Want to see some great daily shots of the Tour? Click here

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

How aero is aero?

A Specialized Transition looking very aero in the A2 wind tunnel in North Carolina, USA

Let's break it down into a simple question:
You want to get faster against the clock. You want to know if you spend X you will get Y time savings in return. Problem is, you're bamboozled by a plethora of marketing hype and scientific data put out by companies who want you to buy their stuff, whether it be snazzy equipment or even time in a wind tunnel. Where do you start?

How much time can you save by going from your normal road bike and helmet to adding clip-on handlebar extensions to a full-on time trial bike with an aero helmet? That's it. All other equipment (wheels, tyres, clothing) stays the same.
The answer is quantifiable but finding it is another matter. You need to know what you're doing, and most of us don't. Luckily there are people called engineers in the cycling world whose job it is to find the answers to these questions.
We were given the opportunity to spend a day withSpecialized's young aerodynamicist Mark Cote at the A2 Wind Tunnel and Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina. It's NASCAR heartland here, and they put a lot of money into aerodynamic testing facilities.
The A2 Wind Tunnel, the smaller brother to the AeroDYN tunnel, is used to test small vehicles and bicycles. It's one of the cheapest in the US at $390 per hour (compared to $800/hr for the San Diego tunnel) and the tunnel managers Mike Giraud and Dave Salazar know exactly what they're doing when it comes to bikes. Plus they can compare wind tunnel data to on road data by using the nearby Lowe's Motor Speedway, a 2.3km banked NASCAR oval.
For the test, Mark enlisted the help of Nathan O'Neill, eight time Australian time trial champion who has raced for European and US pro teams for the past eight years. He's coming off a 15 month ban (expires November 12, 2008) after testing positive for the appetite suppressant Phentermine, which bizarrely is legal out of competition but illegal in competition. But his experience as a wind tunnel subject, time trialist and of course his availability makes him an ideal test rider.
How it's done
Wind tunnel measurement is currently considered the gold standard of bicycle aerodynamic testing. For best results, you need the rider on the bike to be able to hold their position stable while pedalling. 
You can test the bike alone, but it makes more sense to have someone on it, because the overall shape will be completely different. You also need to test over a range of yaw angles (wind direction relative to the rider's direction) to account for crosswinds, because aerodynamics are significantly affected by wind direction.
The downside of doing this in a tunnel is that you can't account for handling in a crosswind, because the bike is fixed to a set of rollers.
Testing outdoors is useful because it's closer to real world conditions. That said, it's time consuming and you still need to control as many variables as possible. 
Even if you have a smooth flat track and precise measuring equipment, like the SRM cranks and mobile weather station that we had, too much wind will give you large errors, even greater than what you are trying to measure.
Lowe's Motor Speedway, North Carolina, USA
The control bike with the mobile weather station
The 70 watt benchmark
In late July, Cote and his team did a series of tests comparing a standard road bike (Specialized Tarmac SL2 with HED Bastogne wheels) to a full time trial bike (Specialized Transition with HED3 Trispoke wheels and a Specialized TT3 aero helmet).
They compared wind tunnel data with track testing at the Lowe's Speedway and the Asheville velodrome, which consisted of several 10 mile and 1km time trials at a constant speed of 40km/h. 
They were lucky to have near ideal conditions for the outdoor tests, which kept the measurement errors down to around two percent of total power. The corresponding errors in the wind tunnel are under one percent. From doing this, they found the outdoor testing validated the wind tunnel testing, but did not replicate it.
They also found that outdoors there was a 60-70 watt saving at 40km/h between the normal road bike setup, which required ~280-290W at this speed, and the full time trial setup (~220W). That worked out at between 22-24 percent in aerodynamic savings. 
To put it another way, it was nine seconds per kilometre, 2'14 per 10 miles (16.1km), 5'33 per 40km, and 24'58 over 180.2km, the distance of the bike leg in an Ironman triathlon. Or another way, if you can ride a road bike at 40km/h and switch to a time trial bike and helmet, you can do over 44km/h.
In the controlled environment of the wind tunnel, the savings were greater: between 32-42 percent, depending on yaw angle. These are aero savings only. About 70 percent of total power goes towards aero, so 70 percent of 32-42 percent = 22-29 percent of total power.  This almost exactly matches the 22-24 percent from the track.
Also, the bigger the crosswind, the better off you are on a time trial bike because of the sail affect. Of course, you've got to be able to keep the thing upright...
Drilling down
So how do we break down that 70 watt saving? How much is position, how much is the bike, how much is the helmet and how much is the wheels? That was the purpose of this test, although we didn't actually test different wheel configurations, so we were looking at ~60 watts worth of savings.
Mark Cote decided on five protocols:
Tarmac SL2 road bike | S-Works road helmet | drop bars
Tarmac SL2 road bike | S-Works road helmet | clip-on aero bars
Tarmac SL2 road bike| TT2 helmet | clip-on aero bars
Transition time trial bike | S-Works road helmet | aero bars
Transition time trial bike | TT2 helmet | aero bars
For each one, we used the same wheels (Roval) and tyres, and Nathan rode in a short sleeved skinsuit with arm warmers and full finger gloves, but no shoe covers. The mass of the bike + rider was 83kg.
All five setups were tested over two laps (4.6km) of the Lowe's Motor Speedway at as close to 40km/h as we could get. The tests were repeated in the wind tunnel later that day. 
During each test, Mike Giraud acted as a control, riding his bike around the circuit at ~32km/h, with a wind probe attached to the front of his bike that could measure wind speed and direction. The probe looked like it could double as a harpoon, but luckily there were no whales on the circuit.
It was a clear, sunny November morning but the conditions weren't quite ideal at the Speedway. While we could account for the changes in temperature and humidity, the wind affected things a little.
Speedway data
SetupEstimated Ave CdA (m^2)Speed (km/h)Power (W)
Tarmac SL2 | road helmet | drop bars0.31040.10306.6
Tarmac SL2 | road helmet | clip-on aero bars0.26740.27268.6
Tarmac SL2 | TT2 helmet | clip-on aero bars0.25640.38261.0
Transition | road helmet | aero bars0.26540.17262.9
Transition | TT2 helmet | aero bars0.23040.05229.0
[CdA = Coefficient of drag x frontal area]
On the plus side, the trends were accurate and there was still that big 77W (25 percent) difference between the road bike and the full TT setup. And it looked as though position would account for about half of that. But as for deciding how much the bike was worth relative to the aero helmet, it was tough. 
This appeared to be because of an unreliable data point, as the time trial bike plus road helmet should have required about 240W rather than 263W at 40km/h. We suspected this was because of an SRM calibration error, rather than the wind on the track, but at the time of publication this was a known unknown.
Wind tunnel testing
Mark was happier once we got into the wind tunnel. Nice repeatable data that did make sense and gelled with his considerable testing experience. The testing was done at yaw angles of 0 and 10 degrees in 48.3km/h (30mph) wind, which was extrapolated back to 40km/h.
Wind tunnel data
SetupWind Tunnel 0 CdA (m^2)Speed (km/h) at 278WPower req'd at 40km/h (W)*
Tarmac SL2 | road helmet | drop bars0.301940.00278.3
Tarmac SL2 | road helmet | clip-on aero bars0.266241.65248.9
Tarmac SL2 | TT2 helmet | clip-on aero bars0.254742.25239.5
Transition | road helmet | aero bars0.242742.90229.6
Transition | TT2 helmet | aero bars0.232343.50221.0
[*The power req'd at 40km/h is aero power only, hence it's significantly lower than the power measured out on the track. On the other hand, the CdAs outdoors and in the wind tunnel are closely matched. This is more what we're interested in.]
The nice thing about this set of protocols is that there are two separate ways of comparing bikes and helmets. The difference between the Specialized road helmet and the TT2 was 8.6W or 9.4W, depending on which set of protocols we chose. 
The difference between the Specialized Tarmac SL2 with clip-ons and the Transition was 18.5W or 19.3W. Finally, the difference between a road frame and one with a set of clip-ons on it was a whopping 29.4 watts. This difference is due to rider position (in the drops vs. in the aero bars).
That's 60 watts accounted for in savings. The July tests showed 70 watts, but the wheels were also changed in that one so we can guesstimate that HED 3 Trispokes will save an extra 10 watts over Hed Bastogne wheels. 
Since there were other differences (wore a TT3 in July vs a TT2 this time, and a skinsuit vs road wheels) we have to be careful in making this conclusion. But if it is made, it also shows that the Roval wheels tested about the same as the trispokes and the Roval wheels saved about the same 10 watts the trispokes did.
Finally, to put it in perspective, we can list the wattage savings per unit cost.

Related links

Cost$/watts saved at 40km/h
Clip-on bars$100-1200$3.30-$40
Aero helmet$75-230$8.30-25.50
Time trial bike$1000-10,000+$50-500
Aero wheels$600-$8000$60-800
How much is it worth? That's for you to decide.
  • We only used one rider and one set of equipment, which is great for controlling variables but it means we shouldn't generalise too much. We did anyway....
  • Some of the savings going from the road bike with clip-ons to the time trial bike are due to position, not just frame aerodynamics
  • Apart from the 'high' CdA in the Transition | Road Helmet | Aerobars track test, the other CdAs were all within three percent of the tunnel data. Not perfect but good for power testing, according to Mark Cote.
  • You will save more time but fewer watts at slower speeds with these improvements. The constants are the percentage aero drag savings.
  • You can quickly learn a lot from wind tunnel testing, provided you have people who know what they're doing.
You can follow BikeRadar on Twitter at and on Facebook at
You can also improve your fitness and train with us on

Friday, June 14, 2013

Rock N' Road Cyclery Sale!

              Follow us on instagram @rocknroad      Like us on      Follow us on Twitter @RockNRoad

Kill two birds with one stone this Father's Day weekend at
Rock N' Road Cyclery! 

Spend $300 or more in any one of our 4 Orange County locations and we'll give you a $50 gift card - Spend $300 on Dad and give $50 to your Grad.  Buy Dad that fresh new Troy Lee Designs outfit and A1 helmet he has been wanting, or grab your grad a fresh new bike and you will walk out with a $50 gift card in your pocket!  It's that easy!

The deal starts Friday June 14th and ends Sunday June 16th.

Hurry in!  Heck, you were planning on stopping by for your Dad or Grad anyway - now you're going to get $50 for that great idea!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Giro Air Attack aero road helmet

May 20, 2013

The original Giro Air Attack, circa 1989.

All the way back in the mid-80s, aerodynamics was already coming into play as Giro founder, Jim Jentes, applied airfoil technology from NASA to his helmet designs. In 1989 Giro released the first plastic shelled helmet called Air Attack, and later that year it was ridden to victory at the Tour de France atop Greg LeMond. 25 years later, and the new Air Attack has more similarities with its ancestor than just the name. 

On a recent visit to Giro headquarters in Grass Valley, California RBA got a first-hand look at Giro's past and present, in addition to how and why the Air Attack was re-created for 2013. 

The design phase of every helmet begins with a 2-D sketch and then a handmade half-scale foam model that has intricate detailing of both shaping and vents. 

The Air Attack name isn’t new to Giro at all; it was the name of their first helmet featuring a polycarbonate shell introduced way back in 1989, which went on to a Tour de France victory by Greg LeMond that same year. As it turns out, when Giro was wind tunnel testing for the Air Attack reincarnate, (they tested about 100 different helmets) the late-1980s Air Attack’s round profile yielded some impressive numbers of its own. After having a good idea of what fared well and what didn’t in the wind tunnel, Giro’s Senior Industrial Designer, Greg Marting went to work on designing the new Air Attack. "The helmet begins with a 2-D sketch, and then we make a half scale 3-D foam model by hand”, explained Marting. The design room is filled with foam models spanning the past decade of helmet designs, with each one impressively accurate in perfectly detailed venting and shaping. 

The Air Attack's design is a balance between aerodynamics, weight, ventilation, and even aesthetics. Inspiration for design comes from a myriad of places. 

Achieving the sought after aerodynamic gains required a significant re-think of Giro’s popular road helmet designs. Giro’s Engineering Manager Rob Wesson explained how the gains were achieved, “The aerodynamic benefits over a standard road helmet are in most part due to its smooth, rounded shape and minimal vent openings. By eliminating sharp corners, edges, and pockets you greatly reduce the re-direction of air over and around the helmet; thus reducing its drag. The second aspect of the Air Attack that contributes to its aerodynamic benefits is its profile. By rounding out the back the way we did, we can achieve more consistent drag numbers regardless of a rider dropping their head when they are tired, looking around from side to side, or course and wind direction changes.”

After a design is settled upon, a full-scale clay model is made that can be windtunnel tested and easily manipulated with the addition or removal of material. 

Once the design is set, a clay model is made to scale. From there it can be wind tunnel tested and manipulated by adding or removing clay. While helmet production ceased in Giro’s Santa Cruz location in 1995, the rapid development of 3-D printing now allows them to print a production-replica helmet that weighs about one fifth of what the clay model does, and can have graphics or paint applied to it. 

  With 3-D printing becoming more cost effective within the past few years, Giro can now create a wearable (although it has no protective ability) helmet that's much lighter than a clay model in a fraction of the time it takes to get a production sample. The $30,000 machine uses a cartridge that feeds a plastic line into the printer and about 30 hours later, voila, a helmet!

After receiving production samples, the last step is, well, breaking them. In Giro’s test lab the helmet gets strapped onto a machine to simulate a fall from six and a half feet high. Multiple surfaces are used for the tests, ranging from a flat surface to a curb, in order to see how the helmets fare with different impact zones. Giro tested multiple Air Attacks to show us how they fared. In each test, the helmets had micro-cracking of the inner foam in a few inch radius of the impact—exactly what it’s intended to do for impact displacement. 

With a dummy head in the Air Attack, it gets dropped from six and a half feet on either a flat surface or a curb in order to simulate a crash. 

Side by side, the difference in design between the Aeon (left) and Air Attack is dramatic.

Ok, so Air Attack is purpose-built, and we realize that. But the first time you look in the mirror with one on you’ll think you’re about to head to the skate park; and there were plenty of people to remind us of that fact. Granted, the Air Attack looks slightly bulbous on your head, partly due to the rounded, bowling ball shaping, but also because it does sit slightly higher than Giro’s other road helmets. The Roc Loc Air retention system is designed to allow a 3mm gap between your head and the shell in order to achieve unabated airflow through the limited venting. 

An optional visor attaches securely to the helmet via three magnetic attachments. Giro did state that any difference in aerodynamics between using the visor versus using sunglasses is negligible.

Is it faster? We can’t confirm or deny Giro’s findings of the Air Attack having 49 grams less drag then the Aeon, which translates into 17 seconds faster over 40km at 25mph. In a 600 meter sprint at 40mph, it would give you a two bike length advantage, which is why just about every pro sprinter that has the option of an aero helmet is wearing one. While these numbers are considerable if you’re Pro Tour level rider who can achieve, and maintain, those kinds of speeds, for the rest of us, the benefits are going to be smaller since the slower you go the less of a benefit you’ll get. 
One thing we noticed with the Air Attack was that it’s warmer than an Aeon. Giro says that the difference between both helmets is two degrees Fahrenheit when riding at 25mph. This very well may be, but it’s a noticeable two degrees. When the temperatures were below 75-80 degrees Fahrenheit we didn’t have a problem using the Air Attack on long rides, but as the mercury went up we found ourselves looking for more ventilated head protection options. 

Long before aero-road was even a thing, Giro made a ventless version of the original Air Attack at Greg LeMond's request. 

The Air Attack has a purpose, and it’s not for an everyday application, at least we don’t think so. If you’re in search of marginal gains, and don’t mind paying for them, then look no further than Giro's latest lid. The best application for the Air Attack will be criteriums, triathlons, certain road races, of course, most Strava KOMs. Ok, so it has a lot of applications, but reserve its use for the days when the mercury stays south of the 80-degree range; that is unless you’re going to be going 25+ mph the entire time. 

Price: $200, $240 (with visor)
Weight: 276 grams (without visor)
Sizes: Small, Medium, Large