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Shark Helmets Look Toward Aero Technology To Improve Performance

Image source: Shark Helmets

Depending on your viewpoint, aero technology is the new must-have element or a blight on the current breed of MotoGP bike. It’s actually surprising that it has taken so long for the MotoGP engineers to latch onto the benefits of aerodynamic bodywork additions to improve performance, given how long it has been an indivisible element of racing car design. Now it has been adopted, however, it is getting more and more outrageous and definitely affecting the quality of the racing, again much as it has done in the four-wheel world.

Such is the growth of understanding of aero and the realisation of the advantages it can bring, that thoughts have already turned to the rider himself; Aprilia in particular experimenting with stick-on aerodynamic panels for racing leathers, with the view of cleaning up the airflow around that annoyingly un-aerodynamic blob that is the rider.

Image source: Shark Helmets

For many years, motorcycle helmets have been developed in the wind tunnel, primarily for anti-buffeting and anti-wind noise properties, as well as smoothing the airflow over the top and down the back of a prone rider, cutting drag. The problem with this is that every rider is a different shape, so having one size that fits all, in terms of aerodynamic efficiency, has been nigh-on impossible.

Image source: Shark Helmets

Some years ago, we were privileged to be invited to the Shark Helmets factory in France, where we were given a fascinating insight into the sheer volume of research and design that goes into even the simplest helmet design.

So it comes as no surprise that Shark is the first helmet manufacturer to introduce adaptive aerodynamics to helmet design. The AERON GP helmet is the latest generation of Shark’s Racing range and has the ability to adapt its shape to the rider’s position on the bike, notably adding to rider comfort and, therefore, safety, while also having benefits to overall performance.

Image source: Shark Helmets

At the rear of the helmet is an innovative spoiler, equipped with adaptive flaps that can be set in a position that suits the rider’s riding position, offering less air resistance. Shark claims some impressive figures; an 80% reduction in force in the axial direction, which means much less side-to-side shimmy at high speeds; a 50% reduction in turbulence and a 5% reduction in aerodynamic drag.

The helmet features five air intakes and seven extractors, maintaining optimal temperature and airflow inside the helmet. It is made with a COVA structure, a combination of 80% carbon and 20% aramid.

Image source: Shark Helmets

Naturally, the rider will experience the greatest benefits on track and owners will benefit from a Racing package containing a Racing Bag, one “Dark Smoke” screen, five Tear-Offs, two anti-fog masks, five anti-pollution filters and one sheet of stickers. Even though the helmet is aimed primarily at the racing rider, there is no doubt that the casual road rider will also benefit from the improved aerodynamics.

No price has been announced for the SA market, nor has an arrival date, but the Shark website lists a price of 1,079 Euros for the AERON GP helmet, so it’s reasonable to expect a price in the region of R18-20,000 when it lands in South Africa, although it could well be cheaper. Given the claimed advantages, it might just be the cheapest performance gain you can buy.

Image source: Shark Helmets

For more information, contact Langston Motorsport at Langston Motorsports

Harry Fisher
Harry Fisher
From an early age, Harry was obsessed with anything that moved under its own steam, particularly cars and motorcycles. For reasons of a financial nature, his stable of fine automobiles failed to materialise, at which point he realised that motorcycles were far more affordable and so he started his two wheel career, owning, riding, building and fixing many classic bikes. Then came the day when he converted his love of bikes into a living, writing, filming and talking about them endlessly. The passion for four wheels never left him, however, and he has now converted his writing skills into singing the praises of cars in all their infinite variety. Bikes are still his favourite means of getting around but the car in its modern form is reaching a level of perfection that is hard to resist. And they're warmer in winter....
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