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Bell and Giro helmets for the 2004 Tour de France

Summary: An article reporting that Bell and Giro had new helmet models for the Tour de France in 2004 that would be European-only models meeting only the CEN standard.

An article from
Bicycle Retailer & Industry News
August 15, 2004

Bell, Giro Hit Tour with New Lids;
TT Helmets Are for Europe Only


PARIS, France--Continuing a sort of Tour de France tradition, Bell and Giro, both owned by Bell Sports, introduced new helmets at the big race in July.

Newly crowned six-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong and his U.S. Postal Team were just nine of the three dozen racers wearing Giro's slick Advantage and Rev VI time-trial helmets.

Fellow American Tyler Hamilton, as well as teams CSC and Credit Agricole, wore Bell's time-trial helmet, the Meteor II, and the new Sweep R road helmet.

Bell's Sweep comes in two models, the Sweep R for the road and the Sweep XC for cross-country mountain bike racing. Both helmets will be available to retailers next spring.

Both helmets have 20 vents that channel air over the head and out the rear plus a bevy of features, such as Bell's GPS Fit System, Fusion inmold microshell and a bottom wrap along with an internal reinforcing skeleton.

(Meteor II photo here)

Bell's Meteor II time-trial helmet (above) offers protection, but not enough for the CPSC. Bell will sell the helmets in Europe, but not in North America. The company's new Sweep R (below) and Sweep XC, however, will hit retailer shelves worldwide next spring.

The Sweep XC differs from the Sweep R in that it has Bell's new Variable Position Visor (VPV) with an imbedded clutch mechanism that gives the visor 15 degrees of horizontal adjustment. The clutch holds the visor firmly at the desired angle, but allows for on-the-fly changes.

(Sweep R photo here)

The Sweep R weighs 280 grams (9.9 ounces), while the Sweep XC weighs 300 grams (10.5 ounces).

A special edition Tyler Hamilton Sweep R also will be available. Bell Sports' time-trial helmets made their auspicious debuts during the opening day prologue. Unlike the time-trial helmets from other manufacturers designed to meet the new UCI rule requiring that riders wear protective helmets for all stages, Bell's Meteor II and Giro's Advantage and Rev VI helmets retained much of the sleek look of the minimal head fairings used in years past.

Unfortunately for U.S. consume while all three helmets comply with new UCI rules, they don't meet CPSC helmet standards so they will not be sold in North America. The Meteor will be available in Europe only and will hit stores next spring.

While Giro may develop a consumer version of the Advantage in the future, the Rev VI is only for Armstrong and few team riders, and will not be available to consumers.

The time-trial helmets have a vacuum-formed polycarbonate shell and an EPS (expanded polystyrene) foam liner. The Giro has the Roc Loc fit system and weighs 298 grams (10.5 ounces).

Giro worked for more than six months on new time-trial helmets for the start of this year's Tour.

"We sculpted all kinds of designs; analyzed new textures, materials and details; then tested a whole range of stuff in the wind tunnel," said Eric Richter, Giro's marketing communications manager.

"Once we had a strong overall concept and models, we tested them and sent prototypes to independent labs to verify our results. The helmets passed the final phases of certification and fitting just hours before the Tour," he added. Making the helmets protective and as aerodynamic as the old fairings was a huge challenge.

"The goal was to meet or exceed the performance of our Rev IV and Rev V fairings, which were the benchmarks for aerodynamic performance. That was never going to be an easy task, but we have the tools and we are very committed to providing our riders with the best equipment possible. Given the race results, we believe we met the challenge," Richter said.

Among those results: US Postal won the team time trial while wearing the Advantage and Rev VI helmets and Armstrong crushed his challengers in the final individual time trial. Bell-sponsored teams CSC and Phonak placed high in the team time trial despite numerous crashes and mechanical problems along the course.

Copyright 2004 by VNU Business Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.