British cyclists look to technology for an edge in speed

Nov. 20, 2013 at 7:07 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- In a search for more speed, Britain's national cycling team says it's experimenting with helmets with ducts to reduce air resistance and clothing with ridges.

Researchers have designed the new drag-resistant helmet and clothing as part of an attempt to use technology to produce "marginal gains" in speed, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.

The helmet and clothing designs are revealed in two published patent applications.

In the helmet, two intake holes channel air to a large single outlet at the back to force airflow along the rider's back as they lean forward, to improve their aerodynamics.

The drag-resistant clothing features ridges on the back of the limbs.

"It has been found that in cycling, air to the rear of an arm or leg flows upwards along the arm or leg and is a significant cause of overall drag on the cyclist," the clothing's inventor Robert Lewis said.

"By including an air flow disruption device on the rear of the arm or leg, this flow is broken up, reducing the overall drag," he said.

At the London 2012 Olympics, British cyclists had success on high-tech bikes equipped with airfoil-shaped forks and handlebars, while the riders themselves wore teardrop-shaped "aero" helmets.

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