Shoei’s New Wind Tunnel Can Replicate Rain and Sub-Zero Temperatures
Because not all of us need a helmet that works only on sunny race days.by Harry Fisher, on
It’s all very well making a helmet aerodynamically efficient but helmets also have to offer protection against environmental factors, such as cold and rain. Shoei’s new wind tunnel can now replicate those elements as well.
State-Of-The-Art Wind Tunnel Technology
The problem with wind tunnels is that they are very good at one thing but are a bit too inflexible to deal with real-world situations. So, while a jet of air can be fired at the object to enable aerodynamic tweaks, it is only in one direction and we all know that wind doesn’t always work that way in the real world. There are often side gusts that can affect stability of the helmet and distract the rider.
Also, what about rain and low temperatures: both factors that have a huge influence on the performance of a helmet.
Helmet manufacturer Shoei has configured its new wind tunnel to give much more information, including low temps down to -5°C, rainfall and side gusts up to 45mph.
It’s all important information for a helmet manufacturer: how does cold air flow around the bottom of the helmet and, therefore, around the neck: how ventilation works in hot, cold, wet or dry conditions: how effectively are raindrops cleared from the visor: do side gusts push the rider’s head around too much. We’ve all had reason to praise or blame helmets for their performance in such conditions before and it seems that some manufacturers pay more attention to them than others.
It’s all in the pursuit of the perfect helmet, which will work well in any condition. Often, wind tunnel work has concentrated on straight line efficiency for sports or racing helmets. But there are a lot more riders for whom high speed stability isn’t the overriding concern and this new technology from Shoei should make a much better all-round helmet.
Helmets have improved enormously over the past two decades and large improvements are becoming harder and more expensive to find: it’s more a case of incremental steps these days but Shoei might have invested in something that will catapult them to the head of the field once more (pun definitely intended!)
Here’s a video all about how Shoei tests their helmets for impact protection