Kask and Specialized have both used the Tour de France to officially launch new aero helmets.
Just as aerodynamics continues to dominate the development of bikes, with LOOK’s all-new AeroLight being ridden by some of the Cofidis team at the Tour, helmet manufacturers are now striving to ensure their lids are as slippery as possible.
The Kask Infinity will be used by Team Sky throughout the Tour, alongside the Italian brand’s existing models, while expect to see the Specialized S-Works Evade on the heads of the American firm’s three sponsored teams: Saxo-Tinkoff, Omega Pharma-QuickStep and Astana.
The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted Mark Cavendish wearing the Evade since the spring, while Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali used the new aero helmet on the Giro d’Italia’s mountain time trial.
Specialized say they took a two-pronged approach to designing the Evade, which sits alongside the Prevail in the American firm’s road line, with the aim to produce a helmet which is both aerodynamic but, crucially, well vented.
The helmet is loosely based on the design of the S-Works + McLaren time trial lid, with a similarly sculpted front half, and a back section which features a number of large vents, designed to promote airflow without sacrificing aerodynamics.
Specialized aerodynamicist Chris Yu claims the Evade saves 20 watts over the Prevail at 50km/h and approximately 10 watts at 40km/h. That reportedly results in a 2.6 metre advantage when undertaking a Cavendish-like 200m sprint at 1,000 watts.
Needless to say, aerodynamics and ventilation were also at the top of Kask’s agenda when designing the Infinity.
However, Kask have taken a different approach to ensuring Chris Froome and co. keep a cool head through the Tour, with a sliding cover (the blue section in the picture of Chris Froome from stage two) which allows the rider to open and close the vents.
Slide the cover back and it exposes three large vents close to the forehead. Kask say the Infinity is also well vented with the cover closed, thanks to two small vents on the front edge of the helmet, which feeds cool air into the lid and out through eight ports at the back. Inside the helmet there is 5mm-thick Coolmax padding designed to draw sweat away from the head.
As for aerodynamics, Kask haven’t attached any wind-cheating numbers to the Infinity, but it has a similar rounded profile to the Bambino time trial helmet.
The Specialized S-Works Evade will be available to consumers later this summer for $250 (UK price to be confirmed), while the Kask Infinity will hit the shops in December for £200.