Thursday, March 6, 2014

Next Gen Aero Road Helmets Offer Near-Genital Thrills

While pro cycling seems to be cleaning up its ugly substance abuse act in the past few years, its sense of headware has grown increasingly performance enhancing and ugly. Here are some of the essential headgear offerings, sure to increase both your debt and your sense of shame.

The Giro Air Attack will set you back around $200 and will repel both the air and the lips of attractive people from your head.

You can't even buy Bell's aero road helmet yet, but Viagra stock is already leaping (it's what economists call a complementary good).
Then there's POC's new aero road helmet, the Octal:
The only thing that prevents on-sight projectile vomiting of the Octal is referential knowledge of its full-blown aero brother, the Purity Ring of helmets:

The problem I have with the current crop of road helmets is simple:they just aren't expensive enough.  I picked up the ~1992 helmet below at a yard sale for $5, and it offers the same aesthetic and aero specs as the current aero helmet market offers.
Look, this is bike racing and I'm middle aged with a huge disposable income; that means I don't believe in a product's benefits unless it truly empties my wallet. Research has shown that expensive placebos work better than cheap ones (see 2008 Duke study); in the same way, expensive helmets work better.

That is, I don't just want a mildly aero and ugly helmet that is expensive.  I want a ridiculously aero helmet that is ridiculously ugly and insanely expensive.

Thankfully, helmet makers are already anticipating my helmet needs with the release of two new helmets just along these lines. 

Giro Air Pantani Attack
Sheldon Brown found that "aero helmets, as they are used for racing, which do not however meet the ANSI safety requirements, reduce the aero drag by approximately 2% compared to a bald head or a rubber cap over the hair.  Of course, the exception to this was the cranium of Pantani, which studies found to reduce aero drag by a shit-ton. 

Research was underway on Pantani's head before he tragically died, but the requirement to wear helmets obviated the results in any case.  These days wearing a helmet is required, basically, from the moment one enters the hallowed grounds of a bike race.  If Joe Jefferson doesn't ream you a new one for going lidless, Mimi Newcastle will smack you off your chamois.  Aside from the legal requirement to wear a helmet, it's probably a good safety idea.

So, how to achieve that Pantani-headed aero effect while wearing a helmet?  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the Giro Air Pantani Attack:

The ears are molded from Pantani's death mask to provide his exact aerodynamic profile.  When you wear the Air Pantani, you will be just as aero as Pantani, except more, since the helmet will give you a head nearly twice as large as his.

At a cost of $3,200, buyers are sure to be faster.  Note, earring not included, but is available for another $2,100.

POC-ted Plant Helmet
Swedish helmet maker POC comes to cycling from downhill skiing and other outdoor sports, which gives them a fresh take on what should go on the heads of athletes.  POC designers use natural patterns as inspiration for many of their designs, drawing on bullfrog underbellies and zucchini squash for inspiration in designing their TT helmet.

"Our aim in helmet design," said chief designer Hjalmver Svenquistsonnen, "is to remove the human-nature wall, to bring man back to his surroundings and to nature."

With that in mind, POC designed a helmet with a small, live shrub actually planted inside it.
This shrub, POC designers insist, actually propels the rider forward, and its root system draws heat from the riders cranium. "Overheating is the biggest limiter of performance," elaborated Svenquistsonnen, "so the POCted Plant offers a cooling system Mother Nature herself created."

POC suggests watering your POCted Plant helmet prior to racing events offers even greater cooling benefits.

At $42,000, the POCted Plant is the most expensive helmet ever made, including helmets used in astronaut suits.  It comes with its own evergreen maintenance system.  Visor not included.

The Giro Air Pantani attack and POCted Plant helmet will soon be available, so however you decide to go, get ready to ditch your current expensive supposedly aero road helmet and blow your wad, because the next wave of innovation in head protection--nay, head enhancement--is here!


dj cyclone said...

It's wack Pappy. Confounding me. Glad you put some shape to it. And 'in the meantime' -

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