The bike world has got off to a flying start to the year with loads of new products out there from Specialized, Cannondale, Rapha, Kask, but we’re kicking off with the most unusual helmet design we’ve seen in a long time…
US company V2 Technology has been granted a patent for a helmet that features numerous shock units designed to shield your brain from injury, and an impact detection system that will determine whether you're likely to have sustained a concussion and automatically call an emergency number.
V2 says that the Vibe technology can be applied to cycling helmets and ski/snowboarding – hence the look of the helmet in the patent – and is for both elite athletes and general consumers.
The idea is to provide “controlled deceleration of the brain so as to prevent or minimise damage to the brain or head of the wearer”. The design is intended to protect you against blows that cause the brain to rotate inside the skull leading to concussion – so the aims are similar to those of Mips, for example.
In order to achieve this, the helmet features several shocks. One end of each shock is connected to the outer shell and the other end is connected to the inner shell. As usual with patents, various different versions of the design are outlined. Some of these contain intermediate shells, but the common denominator is the use of those shocks.
“The shocks have a length of about 12 to 40mm and comprise of tuneable oil-filled shock absorbers or elastomer [or other material],” says the patent.
For comparison, a Mips low friction layer inside a helmet is designed to allow 10-15mm of relative movement between the helmet and the head in all directions in order to reduce rotational motion transferred to the brain in the event of an impact.
“The shocks decelerate the velocity and vibration initiated at the outer surface of the helmet that travels radially inwards towards the user’s head by compressing the spring and/or oil inside the shock. As the shock compresses, resistance gradually increases until the shock is fully compressed.”
The shocks effectively “provide a ‘soft’ landing effect”. As well as compressing, they “allow for rotational motion of the shells of the helmet, for example up to 30 degrees of rotation”.
The helmet also contains sensors that detect a fall and/or an impact. Existing helmets feature sensors that are designed to detect a crash. For example, many Specialized helmets contain an ANGi sensor that will send a notification to your contacts with your last uploaded location if it thinks an incident has occurred. You can stop it if you don't need help.
The Vibe system uses your “height, age, and weight to establish baseline concussion thresholds, wherein information regarding a fall by the user and/or impact of the helmet is wirelessly communicated to the mobile application”.
The mobile app uses information from the sensors and will alert if the baseline concussion thresholds are exceeded.
The patent says, “The impact detection system... is configured to call an emergency number if a dangerous fall is detected based on measured parameters such as velocity, rate of deceleration, 3D position data and force [and] the user does not respond within a predetermined time.”
If you’re wondering about the weight and bulk of the helmet, we’re waiting to hear back from V2 on that.
What do you think: does this idea have legs?
Specialized have presented (almost) all of the bikes and equipment their sponsored teams will ride in 2023, calling this Project Black.
Specialized says, "As always, our riders are an integral part of our development process. It’s these riders that help us push the envelope and innovate for all riders."
A closer look through these photos has revealed some prototype products used by some of the riders.
We recently reported sightings of a new Specialized Mirror saddle on Fabio Jakobsen’s bike and clearer pictures have since emerged in Specialized’s Project Black with photos from Soudal-Quickstep’s December team camp.
The honeycomb structure on this potential fourth Mirror saddle is similar to the S-Works Power and Power Pro with Mirror saddles but, the overall shape is less rounded at the rear. It also appears to have a longer nose more like the S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror and a full-length cutout.
The overall texture of the saddle looks more conventional, perhaps to aid comfort and durability.
BikeRumour recognised that an S-Works Turbo prototype tyre is being put to the test on the Specialized Tarmac SL7s belonging to Yves Lampert and Kasper Asgreen.
They noticed that the centre tread isn’t slick like on the Specialized S-Works Turbo tyres, and looking closely there is a microdot tread across the centre of the tyre which appears to change direction relative to the cornering tread.
Specialized has only just revamped its S-Works Turbo tyre range claiming they are the fastest, best handling and most durable performance tyres yet, so what could be different? We suspect this new tread pattern is to prioritise grip and speed while sacrificing some durability.
There also appear to be custom Shiv TT prototype aero bars with each rider having different bar extensions on their S-Works Shiv TT bikes to optimise airflow. Photographed above are the bars expected to be used by Remco Evenepoel for the 2023 season.
BikeRumour suggests that each rider’s handlebar extensions have been moulded to the individual rider’s arm and wrist angle. These are becoming ever more popular with pro riders chasing those famous marginal gains.
Rapha has revealed the new EF Education Easypost and EF Education-Tibco-SVB team kit which will debut on training rides ahead of the Tour Down Under (the race starts on Friday, 13th January).
Pic Chris Milliman @millimans
Although pink remains the dominant colour, varying shades are used for each panel of the team jersey “as a nod to the past, present and future of the teams”, says Rapha.
Pic Gruber Images
“The kit will again be based on Rapha’s Pro Team range, featuring race-proven performance technology and for the first time, both men’s and women’s kits will share the same design, differentiated only by sponsor logos.”
The commercial launch of the EF Education Easypost and EF Education-Tibco-SVB kit will take place later in the spring.
Cannondale has introduced three new Synapse Alloy endurance road bikes for 2023, each equipped with a Shimano groupset – including hydraulic disc brakes, compact 50/34 chainsets, and 11-34-tooth cassettes – and 30mm tyres (there’s clearance for 32mm). They share Cannondale’s SmartForm C2 aluminium alloy frame and full carbon fork.
The most affordable model is the Synapse Alloy 3 at £1,100. This one comes with a Shimano Sora 9-speed groupset.
The £1,650 Synapse Alloy 2 has a Shimano Tiagra 10-speed groupset and DT Swiss R470 wheels, while the range-topping Synapse Alloy 1 (£1,900) has the same wheels with a Shimano 105 11-speed groupset. That’s with mechanical shifting – so Shimano 105 R7000 components rather than the newer R7100 parts with Di2 (electronic shifting).
Team Ineos riders have been pictured on social media using a new helmet from Kask. Daniel Martinez (right) is wearing the new lid in this pic…
…and you can make out the name Elemento on this image...
There’s no Elemento model in the current Kask range. Judging by the shape, we’d say it’ll slot in between the Protone Icon – designed to combine ventilation and aerodynamics – and the Utopia – which is more purely aero-focused.
We’re short on details, though. Guess we’ll just have to wait for the official launch for more.
Performance cycling apparel brand Nopinz has partnered with multi-time British time trial champion Alex Dowsett. The partnership sees Dowsett announced as a shareholder in the company in which he originally invested in 2021.
Nopinz says, “Alex will be working in an R&D role, pairing his years of experience and aerodynamic knowledge with the proven pedigree of Nopinz to help design new products and improve existing ones."
Dowsett will continue his racing career riding for Nopinz during the 2023 season. He has been racing at the highest level since 2011 with Team Sky, Movistar, Katusha and Israel Premier Tech and has won two stages of the Giro d’Italia as well as six individual national time trial national titles, and held the prestigious hour record.
Alex said, “Work has already begun on some new projects and I’m having to contain my excitement (and secrecy) over them. I’m excited to be with NoPinz for the next step of my career, racing on home soil some more, trying some different disciplines within cycling and who knows, maybe even picking up a pair of goggles before a bike race and a pair of trainers afterwards.”
Triathlon, then (nothing gets past us!). Dowsett was going to be involved in Alistair Brownlee’s attempt to go under seven hours for an Ironman-distance triathlon in the Sub7 event before the two-time Olympic champion pulled out with an injury. Dowsett ended up pacing Joe Skipper instead, and he has hinted at Ironman training on social media… so, yeah, that just about confirms it.
Bike brand Giant has opened three new stores in the UK, including its first brand stores in Scotland.
The first Scottish store is in Stirling. Formerly Velocity 44, it covers two floors and features a performance road room, a workshop for servicing and repairs, and a bike fitting studio.
The second brand store in Scotland has been launched in partnership with Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative. The new store is located in the area of Stockbridge on the Water of Leith and is open seven days a week.
The final new Giant store is in Paddock Wood, Kent. Formerly the family-owned Evernden Cycles, it has been relaunched in partnership with the Cadence Performance Group following the retirement of the previous owners.
Giant opened its first brand store in 2011, and has plans to roll out other stores in key locations.
In case you missed it earlier in the week...
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.