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Old 01-22-11, 08:46 PM   #1
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Why the "swoop" ??

Can someone please explain why most ,not all, cycling helmets have the "swoop" at the back of the helmet instead of being more rounded like the majority of helmets in all other cases.

yes, I know that there are a few bicycle helmets that are more "normal" looking but the "swoop" helmet is still the most common cycling helmet.

So what purpose does the "swoop" serve?????
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-22-11, 09:34 PM   #2
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If I had to venture a guess, I would guess aerodynamics. I don't like the way they look, which is why I wear a vintage Tourlite.
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Old 01-22-11, 10:04 PM   #3
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There could be a small aerodynamic benefit. And perhaps they think it looks cool.

Also, if you fell backwards and hit the back of your head it might provide a bit more protection than it would without the "swoop". (Though if that was the case, perhaps the front should have a swoop too?)
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Old 01-22-11, 11:01 PM   #4
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No, I can't explain. I imagine ventilation is one reason, though.

The swoop does add an interesting effect when worn backwards.

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Old 01-22-11, 11:51 PM   #5
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For people with pointed heads.
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Old 01-23-11, 01:29 AM   #6
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I'm not sure what you mean by "swoop" but round, bowl-like helmets just look ... odd. Helmets with a bit of taper and shape to them look so much better.

That, and tapered helmets are supposed to be a little bit more aerodynamic and may offer a little bit more ventilation.

This, for example, is a nice-looking helmet ... and I'm going to have to see if it, or something like it, is available here in Australia.

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Old 01-23-11, 04:42 AM   #7
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It all started with aerodynamic helmets made for racing. Wanna-be racer road riders wanted them too, helmet companies saw the market and produced what would sell. That idea still pervades the market.
Check out the Bicycle Helmet Safety Institute. http://www.helmets.org/index.htm
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Old 01-23-11, 04:50 AM   #8
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So what purpose does the "swoop" serve?????
It makes ya' look faster even when you're stopped.
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Old 01-23-11, 06:51 AM   #9
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You can get BMX-style helmets without the swoop (although the one I have is heavier and poorly ventilated).
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Old 01-23-11, 06:57 AM   #10
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I think that you worry too much about all of that design stuff. I think that, over time, the market resolves all such issues and I'm not even a Republican.

If people don't like "swoopy" helmets theyll stop buying them and manufacturers will produce helmets that don't "swoop so much".

If people stop buying bikes that have straight, flat handlebars the same thing will happen.
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Old 01-24-11, 12:51 AM   #11
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More and more folks in Portland are wearing BMX style helmets with cool designs. The only thing I see are heads that will over heat on a hot day, or if you wanted to pull a bit harder.

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Old 01-24-11, 04:20 AM   #12
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More and more folks in Portland are wearing BMX style helmets with cool designs. The only thing I see are heads that will over heat on a hot day, or if you wanted to pull a bit harder.

I think you'd have to be 5 or 85 to pull that off!!
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Old 01-24-11, 12:05 PM   #13
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I'm not sure what you mean by "swoop" but round, bowl-like helmets just look ... odd. Helmets with a bit of taper and shape to them look so much better.

That, and tapered helmets are supposed to be a little bit more aerodynamic and may offer a little bit more ventilation.

This, for example, is a nice-looking helmet ... and I'm going to have to see if it, or something like it, is available here in Australia.

Yes, THIS is exactly what I meant. What's up with this anyway??
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Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-24-11, 12:07 PM   #14
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The triumph of marketing over function.
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Old 01-24-11, 12:11 PM   #15
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The triumph of marketing over function.
Absolutely!
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I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-24-11, 12:11 PM   #16
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Yes, THIS is exactly what I meant. What's up with this anyway??
I would be at least a couple mph's faster if I wore that instead of my Bell Metro.

Exceptional ventilation, too.
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Old 01-24-11, 02:00 PM   #17
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The triumph of marketing over function.
Just the opposite. It increases ventilation by creating low pressure areas at the back of the helmet.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:01 PM   #18
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Yes, THIS is exactly what I meant. What's up with this anyway??
It's a work of art ... it's beautiful. It's also got great ventilation which is very important in this heat. And if it weren't so expensive, it would be on my head as I cycle down the street as fast as I could get it here. I'm even considering it at the price it is.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:22 PM   #19
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I've wondered this too. It seems less safe to have pointy bits on a helmet. It also looks ridiculous, to me.

That said, I ended buying a MET helmet with the silly spikes because it fit so well.
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Old 01-24-11, 03:54 PM   #20
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Just the opposite. It increases ventilation by creating low pressure areas at the back of the helmet.
Every object moving through a fluid, (air is a fluid), has a low pressure area behind it.


"The fashion among helmet designers since 1998 has favored squared-off edges of the foam remaining around the vents, and the addition of sharp lines in the exterior plastic just for style. The elongated "aero" shape dates from that era as well. This is not an optimal design for crashing. We believe that the ideal surface for striking a road resembles a bowling ball: hard, smooth and round. Round shells reduce to a minimum any tendency for a helmet to "stick" to the surface when you hit, with the possibility of increasing impact intensity, contributing to rotational brain injury or jerking the rider's neck. They also eliminate the aero tail that can snag, or in a backward impact can shove the helmet aside as you hit, exposing your bare head. This is such a problem with some models that lab technicians have to use copious amounts of duct tape to keep some helmets on the headform in their test drops, even after they have pulled the straps extra-tight."

Ref: http://www.helmets.org/ventsqua.htm
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Old 01-24-11, 07:13 PM   #21
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The triumph of marketing over function.
How is that different from "Selling what people want to buy rather than trying to sell them what they need"?
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Old 01-24-11, 10:23 PM   #22
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I think that you worry too much about all of that design stuff. I think that, over time, the market resolves all such issues and I'm not even a Republican.

If people don't like "swoopy" helmets theyll stop buying them and manufacturers will produce helmets that don't "swoop so much".

If people stop buying bikes that have straight, flat handlebars the same thing will happen.
Maybe but a GREAT DEAL of consumer education will have to take place before that happens.
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My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-25-11, 03:25 AM   #23
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Maybe but a GREAT DEAL of consumer education will have to take place before that happens.
Meanwhile, fortunately, they've got a whole set of great-looking, functional helmets on the market.
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Old 01-25-11, 11:52 AM   #24
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Here is what I found that tells why the "swoop" and other helmet shapes..............
http://www.cyclehelmets.org/papers/c2023.pdf

http://www.bhsi.org/history.htm

And a new helmet design that does't look like a dorky bicycle helment.......

http://www.yakkay.com/
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My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
I dislike clipless pedals on any city bike since I feel they are unsafe.

Originally Posted by krazygluon
Steel: nearly a thousand years of metallurgical development
Aluminum: barely a hundred, which one would you rather have under your butt at 30mph?
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Old 01-25-11, 12:53 PM   #25
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And a new helmet design that does't look like a dorky bicycle helment.......

http://www.yakkay.com/
Have you bought one?
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