Thursday Sep 28, 2023

Outlandish new POC Tempor-inspired time trial helmet spotted on Uno-X riders’ heads at Volta ao Algarve

Outlandish new POC Tempor-inspired time trial helmet spotted on Uno-X riders’ heads at Volta ao Algarve

Riders from the Uno-X Pro Cycling Team have been spotted using an eyebrow-raising new time trial helmet at the Volta ao Algarve. It appears to draw inspiration from the POC Tempor.

Uno-X is sponsored by helmet manufacturer Sweet Protection, but has a long-standing association with Dan Bigham (the former UCI Hour Record holder and now a performance engineer at Team Ineos-Grenadiers).

Bigham is often credited with re-popularising the POC Tempor during his time with the Huub Wattbike track team.

After images of the new hemet began circulating on social media, Bigham quoted a post on Twitter and added “Life gets harder by the day for the Luddites”.

While Bigham told BikeRadar he had not been involved in the design of the new helmet, it would appear his influence nevertheless continues to be felt across the upper echelons of the sport.

Why might the new helmet be shaped like this?

While most traditional time trial helmets use teardrop form factors, in different shapes and sizes, this helmet appears to take a leaf out of POC’s design book.

Most notably, the sides of the new Sweet Protection helmet flare out from the main body to reach closer down to the rider’s shoulders.

This could be intended to help more effectively manage the airflow over the rider’s body.

The sides of the new helmet flare out to integrate better with the rider’s shoulders.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

The goal is presumably to gain an overall reduction in aerodynamic drag for the helmet plus rider, despite the increase in the frontal area of the helmet.

It’s a similar design to the helmets often used in speed skiing (or Star Wars / Spaceballs, if you’re feeling less charitable).

Like the Tempor, the rear of the new Sweet Protection helmet extends to a sharp edge. Again, this is likely intended to help the helmet integrate neatly with the rider’s body, and leave fewer opportunities for the airflow to be interrupted.

The tail of the helmet extends to a sharp edge, integrating neatly with the rider’s back and shoulders.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

The front of the helmet includes a single opening in the middle of the forehead. Though it’s not completely open, it appears to have ventilation slots at either edge.

As with the Tempor, time trial helmets often include vents in the central area on the front of the forehead.

This can prevent the build-up of high pressure in this area (which could have an aerodynamic penalty) and offer at least some cooling compared to a completely closed-off lid.

Big time trial helmets are a growing trend in 2023

Tom Pidcock, of Team Ineos-Grenadiers, was again wearing a distinctly oversized time trial helmet with the Kask Aero Pro bargeboard visor.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

As well as the new Sweet Protection helmet, big time trial lids were abundant at the Volta ao Algarve time trial.

European time trial champion Stefan Bissegger, of EF Education-EasyPost continues to wear a POC Tempor, for example.

Team Ineos Grenadiers riders, such as Filippo Ganna and Tom Pidcock, were again using Kask helmets in seemingly the largest available sizes, along with the bargeboard-style visors we spotted being used at the 2022 Tour de France. Many Specialized-sponsored riders wore the brand’s latest TT5 time trial helmet, with its integrated head sock.

Specialized-sponsored riders mostly wore the new TT5 helmet.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Lastly, Intermarché-Circus-Wanty riders wore the Uvex Race 8, a helmet which, though teardrop-shaped, also uses an oversized form factor.

All of this contributes to the narrative that a more holistic approach to aerodynamics – which considers the rider, bike and their kit as a system – is likely to be a key tech trend in road cycling for 2023.

Uvex’s Race 8 time trial helmet also uses an oversized design.
Tim de Waele/Getty Images