When motorcycle helmets look like golf balls

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Introduced in 1984, German helmet innovator Schuberth sold 100,000 of these “Speed” helmets. It was claimed to be the first motorcycle helmet designed with aerodynamic principals in mind, specifically those of a golf ball. The divots were thought to stabilize the helmet as it passed through the air.

According to Wikipedia, “The dimples on the surface of a golf ball cause the boundary layer on the upstream side of the ball to transition from laminar to turbulent. The turbulent boundary layer is able to remain attached to the surface of the ball much longer than a laminar boundary and so creates a narrower, low pressure, wake and hence less pressure drag. The reduction in pressure drag causes the ball to travel farther.”

The thing was, putting those dimples on a motorcycle helmet resulted from little more than a hunch, Schuberth’s own wind tunnel was still under construction at the time.

The thinking at the time was, the dimples would result in these benefits:
- less drifting
- less buffeting
- less lift

But mostly, it resulted in a neat looking helmet. The Speed sold well and encouraged Schuberth to delve deeper into aerodynamic and aeroacoustic development with helmets, fields it now leads. Without helmets that look like golf balls.

  • http://www.facebook.com/OMG.Awesome Clint Keener

    I really wish there would be a breakthrough in helmet design. Every one looks basically the same.

    • Bruce Steever

      Google Voztec. We’ll be talking about them soon in HfL as well.

    • Mykola

      I wish there was news of Del Rosario advancing toward production

    • HammerheadFistpunch

      I still want a Roof Boxer, too bad they’re not DOT or Snell cert’d

    • Mirrory

      The RF-1100 looks different from most helmets I see. Plus it cuts the air like a knife :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/Hawaiianspawn Low Aaron

    Mythbusters did one of these, it actually works to improve fuel economy

    • Mirrory

      Which episode?

  • Mark Vizcarra

    I just wanna hit it with a bat or a golf club

  • http://twitter.com/Daviddotzip David

    Looks to me like a helmet Stanley Kubrick would have used in his movies. Thumbs up!

  • Jefferson Parke

    You can still see copies of this design riding around India and Pakistan. Saw one just this morning.

  • Emmet

    This hipster in me wants one to put on the bookshelf.

    • http://www.facebook.com/OMG.Awesome Clint Keener

      The Porsche Design helmet from the early 80′s is pretty sweet too.

  • socalutilityrider

    Schuberth helmets rock. Test rode one. Low profile, less mass all around. Great protection. Unfortunately the strap placement hit my adam’s apple vs. under the chin where it’s supposed to go. Got the Neotec, and it’s awesome apart from looking like a lollipop. Thing is huge.

  • Антон Чибисов

    how much is this model?