Week in Tech: Aero helmets, Ohlins shocks, and a titanium commuter
New aero helmets spotted Down Under, Ohlins continues to dip its toes into bike market, and Bunditz and Gates raffle off a super commuter
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Here’s your Week in Tech — all the gear news, tips, and announcements you need and none of the marketing gibberish you don’t.
Trek Factory Racing tests aero road helmet
The Trek Factory Racing team has been racing the Tour Down Under in a sleek aero helmet from Bontrager. The new helmet was first seen when Jens Voigt wore it during his hour record-setting ride back in September, though the all-black design of Voigt’s helmet made it hard to see much detail.
Now, the Trek team is racing in a white version of what appears to be a very similar, if not the same, helmet. Bontrager would not comment on the new helmet, only saying, “We are still in development of a final product.”
The new helmet appears to have three, small forward-facing vents and much larger exhaust vents on the rear, a design that is not unique to Bontrager and is used by nearly ever helmet manufacturer. Larger exhaust vents allow air to freely flow through the helmet and across the rider’s skull, keeping it relatively cool despite having less ventilation on the front of the helmet.
Marcel Kittel testing new Giant aero helmet
The largest cycling brands are developing more aero road helmets and rolling them out at the Tour Down Under. Marcel Kittel (Giant-Alpecin) won the People’s Choice Criterium ahead of the Tour Down Under wearing a new lid from Giant.
Giant-Alpecin recently announced that Giant would be its helmet provider, though a quick look at the Giant website will show that Giant does not yet produce an aero road or time trial helmet — two very important components in a WorldTour team’s equipment arsenal. For now, Kittel is the only Giant rider in the new helmet, and like Bontrager, Giant is staying fairly tight-lipped about it.
Giant’s global marketing director, An Le told VeloNews, “We have been working with the team to develop and expand our line of high-performance helmets. The helmet Kittel is wearing is a new Giant aero helmet that will be launched commercially later this year.”
Specialized tests prototype Öhlins fork and shock
Öhlins suspension, a high-end name in the motorsports world, has been working with Specialized for at least two years. The Specialized Demo 8 and Enduro Expert Evo sport Öhlins rear shocks. Unfortunately, Öhlins is not yet selling any of its shocks in the aftermarket, per an exclusive relationship with Specialized. Though that could be changing if Öhlins begins producing mountain bike forks.
This past weekend, we spotted a prototype inverted fork branded as an Öhlins product and a hidden rear shock on Specialized athlete, Brad Benedict’s Instragram. The fork, with an inverted design, is similar to the Swedish company’s motorcycle forks. Obviously, the fork is designed for a downhill bike, such as the Specialized Demo 8, which Benedict is riding. Seeing this posted on an athlete’s social media account, especially an athlete whose brother works in Specialized’s mountain bike marketing department, could be an intentional leak of what’s to come later this year.
For most in the cycling world, the Öhlins brand may hold no significance, but motorsport fans know that Öhlins works with brands like Ducati and Lamborghini. The cycling world could certainly benefit from a brand like Öhlins’ experience, and we hope that Öhlins continues to develop new suspension platforms for shorter-travel bikes. Hey, we can’t ride eight-inch downhill bikes all the time.
Budnitz and Gates Carbon Drive raffle titanium commuter
Everyone needs [wants] a titanium commuter with disc brakes, right? Well you might be able to score this one, and it won’t cost you a dime.
Budnitz Bicycles and Gates Carbon Drive have partnered in raffling off a custom-painted titanium Budnitz No.1 with Gates’ limited edition red belt drive system. The bike’s paint scheme is said to be Porsche-inspired.
It’s free, and anyone around the world can enter.