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 Cycling, Products, New developments Left: Michael Sakellaris, Bushnell Eyewear export agent for the EMEA, highlights the benefits of the new helmet. Right: Dr Minkow, assisted by Matt Mangen on the bicycle, demonstrates how blood flows during cycling.
January 2016

Science helps cyclists

Intensive research and development has resulted in new products that not only makes cycling safer, but also much for comfortable. RHIANAH RHODE reports back about two launches she attended

Bollé now offers cycling solution

Bollé, which comes from a cycling heritage, has come back to cycling with a bang! Christo Snyman, sales and marketing director for local distributor Ultimo, told guests at the launch of the Bollé Cycling Solution helmets.

The brand waited to introduce a cycling helmet, because they wanted to launch something really special into an already saturated market, said Michael Sakellaris, Bushnell Eyewear export agent for the EMEA. The Bollé Cycling Solution fits the bill as it is about offering the end user one product that does everything, he added.

The brand moved back onto the cycling path five years ago and currently invests nearly 90% of its budget on cycling products, because it’s the biggest sporting market in the world with a $50-bn retail turnover and makes up 14% of the global market, said Sakellaris.

For Bollé, the development of cycling helmets is an extension of the knowledge and experience they gained by creating snow helmets for at least the past 12 years. More and more people are enjoying cycling as a sport or using it as a mobility solution and this move into cycling helmets was just a clear next step, he said.

Their two new helmets (The One and The Messenger) are available globally from January 2016.

The One road racing helmet offers the user increased ventilation and visibility through its removable aero covers and LED light, a QR sticker alerting emergency services that records vital information through an app, and also features two linings, for warm and colder days.

These linings are designed to fit as if they are built-in and won’t cause hang-ups like when using a beanie, which moves around quite a lot.

The Messenger is an urban helmet aimed at community and recreational use for everyday activities like riding to work, school, etc. where there is not much competition as yet, said Sakellaris. This helmet has a top shell that covers the entire head, but keeps the wearer cool through ventilation holes in the front and back. It also features some of the same technologies as The One like a LED light, Safety QR code sticker and summer and winter linings.

The brand also wants to protect the eyewear they provide and with the aid of their cycling teams developed a sunglass garage, which allows the user to store his glasses in the front of the helmet to protect against scratching or loss.

Bollé also offers a number of sunglasses that are right in terms of style, said Sakellaris. They currently offer the Sixth Sense, with or without prescription. It features adjustable temples, Trivex instead of polycarbonate lenses — which are more resistant, much lighter and offer much better optical resolution.

The Fifth Element sunglass range will also be landing in January, together with the new helmets. These sunglasses have been developed with the help of their pro riders. They feature a new touching point that prevents moving around, and adjustable temples for the perfect fit.

Both will fit perfectly into the sunglass garage.

Because cyclists are also aware of their image and want to look and feel the part, Bollé has launched a prescription eyewear programme that will enable optometrists to improve the look of their prescription sunglasses, which was previously thought to be too bulky and unflattering.

They are currently trying to associate optometrists with cycle shops in their vicinity in order to create a partnership where cyclists can have their eyes tested and select a lens and frame in order to get their perfect fit of prescription sunglasses, explained Ultimo MD David Harrington.

Specialized offers cyclists a unique fit

The Body Fit Geometry system provides relief for the hand, foot, knee and seat discomfort cyclists commonly experience due to restricted blood flow and incorrect posture, the international experts who developed the system explained at the Body Fit Geometry Conference, organised by Specialized Bicycles in Stellenbosch at the end of November last year.

Drs. Andy Pruitt and Roger Minkow, as well as Scott Holz and Matt Mangen, who are responsible for the science and technology behind the programme and gear, explained how these can reduce injury, and improve cycling efficiency and comfort.

The Body Fit Geometry products go through an ergonomic design and vigorous testing process before they can be labelled as such, said Pruitt, the US scientist who performed the first medical bike fit in 1979 on Connie Carpenter, who later became an Olympic gold medallist.

By taking a unique three dimensional view of the body on the bike he was able to observe the tracking of the knees and also noted that very few riders sit squarely on the saddle.

This developed into the global Body Geometry Fit programme and gear that make the bike ride more comfortable — which helps the cyclist ride faster or further, without developing an injury, or to treat an existing injury.

The products developed naturally as the team sought solutions for cyclists’ problems and he just happened to be in the right place at the right time, Pruitt joked. The idea in the designs of their shoes, gloves and saddles is to make the cyclist one with his bike.

The Body Geometry Fit saddles have been designed with the male and female anatomy in mind, explained Minkow. After cyclists experienced discomfort and debilitating results from riding on regular saddles, he embarked on investigating and creating saddles that improve comfort by relieving pressure on the soft tissue.

Some saddle models restrict the blood flow in the genital area, resulting in lifestyle threatening conditions like erectile dysfunction and sexual dysfunction in men and urinary tract infections and sexual dysfunction in women. They therefore designed saddles with cut-out areas to create space that help remedy the problem. This proved beneficial for ladies as well.

Traditional gloves pad the vulnerable parts of the hand, which can cause pressure on arteries, cutting off circulation and causing fatigue, said Holz. Their Body Geometry Fit gloves are designed to eliminate hand numbness and improve control. They are ergonomically designed and feature a grail equalizer pad in the palm, which helps even pressure throughout the glove when the wearer grips his handle bars. The gloves have been shown to improve blood flow by 12%.

As a doctor, he dealt with many foot injury complaints resulting from cycling shoes, which is the reason he started testing and trying to improve them, said Pruitt. He designed the Body Geometry Fit shoe to accommodate various forefoot varus heights — the angling of the bones of the last four toes on a foot, which makes them naturally higher than the big toe.

The shoe improves performance and the cyclist’s speed by 6.6 megawatts, straight out of the box, said Holz. Features like arch support and a standard varus wedge (1.5mm) increase the efficiency, reduces injury and helps reduce medial lateral travel, which allows the legs to be straight when cycling. Without these shoes, cyclists’ knees often bend at an inward angle, which causes injuries.

The varus wedges are also available in three heights to accommodate different feet. “The Body Geometry Fit shoes are designed to fit close to 90% of the population right out of the box, but with personalisation the wedges and insoles can accommodate anybody,” said Holz.

Apart from the ergonomically developed and scientifically tested gear, Body Geometry Fit consists of a comprehensive pre-fit interview and assessment, a ride analysis and bike fitment, with a follow-up session. An extensively trained and tested fit specialist forms the most important part of the programme.

Dr Pruitt trains individuals how to fit their customers in store, because he feels the tools alone cannot get the job done. Their Body Geometry Fit Studio mechanics are trained to get the customers in the best positions on the bicycles by considering their unique connections with the bicycles.

Therefore each customer is fitted independently. This takes a couple of hours, but will help him climb faster, descend more confidently, and reduce fatigue when riding for long periods.

Body Geometry Fit is offered by all Specialized Bicycles’ Concept and Elite stores across the country.


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