The track cycling helmet plays a crucial role in providing safety to the riders. For the cyclists, in a velodrome, there is no external wind flow, and hence they maintain a specific head position. They generally wear an ‘aero’ shaped helmet that offers 7% lower drag than the regular rounded helmet as there remains no void between the head and upper back that eventually delays separation and prevents recirculation. The helmets with the bottom region parallel to the upper back having no void between the cyclists’ back and their helmet or helmet with an extended tail in the back are regarded as best helmet positions for the riders.
Traditionally, in the 1970s, bicycle helmets just had a roughly uniform shell along with a squishy foam underlining. Later in the mid-1970s, Bell Biker and Mountain Safety Research bike helmets were introduced with modified crushable EPS foam. However, with all the increasing popularity of cycling events, the risk of injuries was also taking a giant loop. Meanwhile, another giant leap took place in the design of bicycle helmets when Bell introduced their lighter model “L’il Bell Shell” infant toddler design. The outer shell of the helmet was dropped and replaced with a thick EPS frame that was highly protective. Later, Giro modified its helmets with an addition of Lycra cloth as an outer cover. In 1990, the shell covered helmets again hit the market. The outer shell was used to cover the EPS and holds the foam together by decreasing the sliding resistance. The shell was manufactured separately from the interior structure which is later glued or taped on. Another method included moulding of the foam directly in the shells followed by expanding the EPS bead to fill it.
In 2006, the round helmets started popularizing in Europe with the launch of CASCO Warp II. The new designs were considered to be apt for track cycling racers. The first aerodynamic-styled helmets were developed and used in the 1980s Olympic time trials that had a rounded front and a very long tail resting on the rider’s back. In comparison to the traditional helmets, the new ones were more aerodynamic. The modern-age bicycle helmets have proper vents and provide more protection to the riders.
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