Heading for success: Make yourself more aerodynamic

Heading for success: Make yourself more aerodynamic


Improvement of aerodynamical properties by modifications of the race helmet.


Development of a new race helmet model. Set up of a calculation domain based on the received data to identify optimization potential.


Lower total drag, more homogeneous back airflow, and reduced helmet detachment; Outstanding ventilation performance and maximum power saving.

Figure 1: An optimized helmet is of vital importance for hitting records
Project details
Aerodynamics is one of the most crucial factors to consider when trying to go fast on a bike and an optimized helmet can play an important role in top races. The Uvex Group set out the challenge to identify optimization potential on their race helmet.
We at BST set up a calculation domain considering the received data from Uvex to improve the aerodynamic characteristics. Based on the data obtained through the simulation and our expertise, we developed proposals for the helmet design. The new helmet is shorter and has a more spherical shape than helmets in the past. Therefore, it is better adjusted to the riding position reducing drag and turbulences. The wide outer design improves airflow detachment, and depressions on the sides optimize aerodynamic performance. The new helmet’s centrally placed ventilation lowers standing pressure over the forehead. Furthermore, the shaping over the chin and shoulders was optimized focusing on the performance criteria. The shoulder area and the face became better covered. As a result, the boundary layer from the helmet separates later and the impact pressure on the shoulders could be reduced. Less air turbulence and lower standing pressure means long distance triathletes can gain valuable seconds. Riders are faster for the same power output. They reach the same speed with less power as saving up 1 kilowatt means a time saving of 1 minute. The simulation we carried out showed a potential of about 14-watt power saving. That corresponds with 180 km (111.8 miles) at an average speed of 48.3 km/h (30 mph) which means the rider covers the distance three minutes faster.
Figure 2: Minimized detachment area of the Uvex 8 helmet


We at bionic surface technologies GmbH supported with our expertise and know-how the construction of a new helmet model to optimize the helmet`s aerodynamical properties. The new helmet shows a lower total drag (rider, bike and helmet) that is 4.2 percent lower compared to previous helmet models. Even at ten degrees crosswind the modified helmet has very good aero properties and the new spherical helmet shape shows advantages. The helmet detachment area is reduced even further, and the face and shoulder area are covered while at the same time the back airflow is more homogeneous. So, the bottom line is that the Uvex 8 is a top performer: Lower air turbulence, superb ventilation performance and maximum power saving.
Figure 3: Standing pressure over the forehead