Saturday, July 3, 2010

Not Quite How Giro Made Lance Armstrong's Custom Helmet

"How Giro Made Lance Armstrong's $15,000 Custom Helmet"
Playbook - The Wired World of Sports (July 3, 2010)

"Lance Armstrong returned to the Tour de France in 2009 after four years away from cycling's most prestigious race. At the age of 37, Armstrong rode his way to a third-place finish. And though it was one of the great athletic performances of our time, it paled in comparison to Armstrong's seven consecutive victories in what could be the world's most grueling sporting event...."

"...The Giro team brainstormed project ideas and eventually landed on what seemed like the perfect one. What if it focused on building one helmet for one rider, so as to maximize performance? Armstrong was chosen as that one rider, and the cycling time trial –- which emphasizes aerodynamics, because each cyclist rides solo against the clock –- was chosen as the venue. The goal was simple: to create the fastest, most aerodynamic helmet in the world for the conditions Armstrong was likely to face...."

There's a video embedded in the Wired article:

video, 0:28

At the end of the article, I knew that aerodynamics was very important in the design of the helmet - that Giro had designed it for Lance Armstrong - that the video was 28 seconds long and showed Armstrong being scanned - and that "a Los Angeles special-effects house to create a lifelike replica of the rider in his time trial position, along with a detailed model of his head and face."

There's a little more - like the custom helmet not having a gap at the back, and providing superior performance in crosswinds. But I'd have appreciated more detail in just how the helmet was designed.

Still, there's a cool photo of the finished helmet.

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