What is Trek launching?

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TheKaiser
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by TheKaiser

AJS914 wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 5:25 pm
fromtrektocolnago wrote:
Wed Mar 20, 2019 9:24 am
if this new helmet makes old helmets obsolete by comparison shouldn't Trek be marking down all their old helmets?
Many of their helmets have been on sale for the last month. Maybe they are keeping the Ballista MIPs in their lineup at the $200 price point. I imagine the market for the $300 aero helmet is small.

Interestingly, in the Virginia Tech study, my Ballista MIPS rates a 10.9. The XXX WaveCell rates a 10.8 - only a .1 improvement. It's not quite a 30 year advance over yesterdays top of the line helmet tech.
I've been mulling over this whole situation and apparent discrepancies too, thank you for bringing up this point. Agreed vs. the Ballista, and that point had confused me a bit when compared to the Wavecell whitepaper that claimed a 48x reduction in concussion risk. Upon further reading of the study methods, the discrepancy does not seem quite as big, although some info is still lacking.

The claim of a 48x reduction in concussion risk was based on the methods used in the Wavecell whitepaper, where they tested a Scott Arx Plus helmet, a Scott Arx Plus (MIPS) helmet, and a Scott Arx Plus which was carved out internally to allow replacement of 15mm of EPS foam with 15mm of Wavecell material. When comparing the Cadence Arx (non-MIPS) to the modified helmet with Wavecell, they get a 48x based on their calculations, with the MIPS model being somewhere in between. Here is that article, just to make it easy for anyone who wants to see what I'm talking about: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/a ... via%3Dihub

If you look at the Virginia Tech ratings, the Scott Arx Plus (MIPS) is a 4* helmet with a rating of 14.3, vs. the Ballista a 5* model at a rating of 10.9, so the Ballista does seem to be a superior traditional EPS foam/MIPS helmet to the Arx Plus MIPS. Virginia Tech did not test a non-MIPS Arx Plus, but they do seem to have a trend of MIPS helmets performing better in general (the top 15+ helmets are all either MIPS or Wavecell). While it would be nice if they would do more "apples to apples" testing of models available with or without MIPS, to see what the effect of the MIPS is in isolation, I think it would be a pretty safe bet that the non-MIPS Arx Plus that Trek compared in their whitepaper would end up with a lower rating than the MIPS one. Here are the Virginia Tech ratings: https://www.helmet.beam.vt.edu/bicycle- ... tings.html

Thus, we look at the Specter Wavecell model vs. the Ballista (which seems to be a best of breed traditional model) and go "That's it? Only a .1 improvement?" whereas the whitepaper is comparing a much lower ranked traditional model, with no MIPS. That might seem shady and manipulative, but in Trek's defense, the research detailed in that whitepaper was done many months ago, before Trek had developed their own Wavecell models and, quite possibly, even before they had licensed the tech. In other words, it was the Wavecell guys that did that research, and it could very well be the case that they used that research to sell the idea to Trek in the first place, with Trek being just as WOWed as us with the 48x claim.

As to why the Wavecell guys choose that Scott model vs. say, a Ballista, it may look like they were gaming the system, but there are several legitimate reasons they could have had. They wanted to compare standard vs. MIPS vs. Wavecell. To do that, they needed a model available with/without MIPS, whereas many top helmets now, like the Ballista, are only MIPS equipped. Secondly, given that they were going to mill out the interior foam for the Wavecell test, they probably wanted a single density foam model, rather than a dual density model, to eliminate that variable, which rules out more helmets from Kali, Fox, Bell, Leatt, Fly, and others. And lastly, the Scott Arx Plus (MIPS) was the top rated model in Consumer Reports 2016, which included impact testing, so it is no slouch.

The 48x reduction in concussion risk still seems like a real stretch though, as it is compared to what is probably a reasonably average EPS helmet (Arx Plus), whereas the Virginia Tech 5* rating, which begins at scores under 15, denotes a 70+% reduction in concussion vs. a bare head! Even though the Ballista and top Wavecell models have scores under 11, which should mean they are well above a 70% reduction in concussion vs. a bare head, that is still a far cry from a 48x reduction vs. a decent quality EPS helmet. Here is the Virginia Tech testing methodology, if anyone cares to read further and compare to the above whitepaper: https://vtechworks.lib.vt.edu/bitstream ... sAllowed=y

What I haven't had the time to do is look at exactly how each of these studies are calculating risk of concussion, which might account for more of the discrepancy, especially if they use differing thresholds or risk progressions for different g-forces. As a random hypothetical example, do they both consider subjecting your brain to 50g to be half as risky as 100g, or does one consider a halving the force to more than halve the risk.

Anyway, I think we can all agree that the "30-year" claim is BS when compared to the Ballista in the VT data. Ok, everyone discuss further...

Oh, P.S. on a somewhat unrelated note, I was pumped to see the bit in the Wavecell whitepaper about them putting 2 nylon stockings over the headform, in an attempt to simulate the movement of the scalp and hair. That has been one of the major criticisms of the MIPS research from Sweden, which, as far as I know, always uses a rubberized headform with the helmet very firmly strapped down. Many people have pointed out that skin and hair function as their own slip planes, so MIPS research doesn't accurately simulate the real world/real head conditions of a crash. This Wavecell study with the nylon stockings seems like a big step in the right direction and, interestingly, it somewhat validates the value of MIPS vs plain EPS foam.

by Weenie


AJS914
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by AJS914

I'm even skeptical of the whole rotation thing. Snell found that the MIPs system did not produce a performance gain. MIPS and Wavecel both test helmets with a rigid dummy with the helmet strapped tightly to it such that a regular EPS helmet cannot rotate. A normal rider has a scalp, hair, a moveable jaw, and a strap that isn't very tight. All this will allow a regular EPS helmet to slip/move.

MIPs so far has been a marketing thing to sell more expensive premium helmets. No helmet maker made the case that the technology was so beneficial that they would put it in every helmet including $35 kids helmets. I think we seeing the same thing with Wavecel.

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wheelbuilder
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by wheelbuilder

Gentleman.......I am assuming the nature of this bike forum in particular probably puts us in a slightly different demographic than the average cyclist......racers, fast club/group ride guys,non-timid descenders. We ride on open roads, and we ride in kit. What we do is inherently dangerous and has a bit of suffering/thrill seeking added. Speaking for myself this helmet is not marketed to me, and I wouldn't wear one. I assume my risks when I ride. That said, I'm not sure who exactly Trek is trying to reach with this. If it is safety conscious riders, they should have focused on commuters, family bike path weekend riders and kids. There is a disconnect somewhere in Wisconsin, cause I don't really understand this. I am not actively searching for "additional safety precautions" as it doesn't really correspond with how I view road riding, or why I ride to begin with. Why put it in the top-of-the-line (for Bontrager) helmets and not the helmets that would be appealing to safety conscious families?
For disclosure, I use Kask Helmets......Italian made. Fashionable. Aero. Ventilated. Supremely comfortable. I have 2 Vertigo and 1 Protone. No Mips or anything else to be found anywhere, and all 3 were more expensive (at the time) than anything Bontrager has ever offered. I have also received a concussion, broken clavicle that required surgery, 3 broken ribs, and a broken humerous in December of 2017 during a 41mph crash. The helmet did it's job and saved me from severe head injury. EXACTLY what I bought it to do.

Karvalo
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by Karvalo

AJS914 wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 3:40 am
I'm even skeptical of the whole rotation thing. Snell found that the MIPs system did not produce a performance gain. MIPS and Wavecel both test helmets with a rigid dummy with the helmet strapped tightly to it such that a regular EPS helmet cannot rotate. A normal rider has a scalp, hair, a moveable jaw, and a strap that isn't very tight. All this will allow a regular EPS helmet to slip/move.
As mentioned in the paragraph right above your post, the Wavecell methodology includes making an attempt to replicate the friction lowering effect of hair that MIPS hadn't.

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

wheelbuilder wrote:
Sat Mar 23, 2019 5:05 am
Gentleman.......I am assuming the nature of this bike forum in particular probably puts us in a slightly different demographic than the average cyclist......racers, fast club/group ride guys,non-timid descenders. We ride on open roads, and we ride in kit. What we do is inherently dangerous and has a bit of suffering/thrill seeking added. Speaking for myself this helmet is not marketed to me, and I wouldn't wear one. I assume my risks when I ride. That said, I'm not sure who exactly Trek is trying to reach with this. If it is safety conscious riders, they should have focused on commuters, family bike path weekend riders and kids. There is a disconnect somewhere in Wisconsin, cause I don't really understand this. I am not actively searching for "additional safety precautions" as it doesn't really correspond with how I view road riding, or why I ride to begin with. Why put it in the top-of-the-line (for Bontrager) helmets and not the helmets that would be appealing to safety conscious families?
For disclosure, I use Kask Helmets......Italian made. Fashionable. Aero. Ventilated. Supremely comfortable. I have 2 Vertigo and 1 Protone. No Mips or anything else to be found anywhere, and all 3 were more expensive (at the time) than anything Bontrager has ever offered. I have also received a concussion, broken clavicle that required surgery, 3 broken ribs, and a broken humerous in December of 2017 during a 41mph crash. The helmet did it's job and saved me from severe head injury. EXACTLY what I bought it to do.

Wavecel will make it into pretty much all Bontrager helmets just as MIPS is available on $50 helmets now. Stagger is the nature of product development/release cycles.

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Calnago
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by Calnago

And then the rains stopped, and it was over, about a week ago now... the once in 30 years breakthrough was finally revealed to all. The earth stood still. The skies were alive. But now, it was over, as quickly as it started.

So, let's have a quick recap here shall we. On March 1, Trek came out with the buzz creator... went something like this... "A change like this happens once every 30 years. Be the first to know by signing up at the link below." My Good God... what could it be. The cycling world stood on its tiptoes to hear whispers from angels above, they put ears to the ground to hear from below... what, good god, could this be. Must keep money on hand to find out.
So, some weeks later, it was revealed.... a helmet! But not just any helmet. One that would change cycling forever. WaveCell technology had arrived to helmets, and it could now be yours. Better than anything, just look at the "whitepaper", cuz everyone knows whitepapers in the cycling industry made available to the public are the stuff of true science... unbiased... conducted and funded entirely by independent parties with real scientists of their own with absolutely no ties, financial or otherwise, to any of the parties involved, and with absolutley no interest in the potential impact from the results of such a study. Yes, the stuff that true science is based upon.... what could be better than that.

Oh, but wait... Wha whaaa... Ok, sure I look at "whitepapers" when they get thrown out, but I look at them just to get an overview of what the whole thing is about, how it's supposed to work, etc. and that's generally my takeaway, and pretty much all I take away. Remember that these whitepapers being made available to the public are pure marketing papers (and this one is no different), trying to appeal to a more discerning reader perhaps than the instagoogler, but marketing nonetheless. It's often what they don't include, or disclose, that's as much a part of the convincing as anything. And at the end, and I've never seen a marketing "whitepaper" that departs from this... is that you are left with the conclusion, either explicity stated or implied, that the sponsoring party's product is superior, to virtually all others in the marketplace. I challenge anyone to show me a product whitepaper produced for the consumer that ends with a conclusion, either explicit or implied, that goes something like this.... "after rigorous testing by renowned scientists it is clear that our competitors' products are better, you should buy them".

Yet some people still seem to put an extraordinary amount of weight on the validity of the claims made in these rags. I use them to gleen a bit of information about the product, and how it works, but don't pretend that the whitepaper is more than another piece of marketing literature. Because it's not.

So, all that aside... did Trek accomplish their goal?... which, at the end of the day is to sell helmets. Well, if the number of Wavecell helmets being sold out of the local Trek Store the day after it was available in stores is any indication, then the answer to that is YES. A big fat resounding YES. They were flying out of that store, and the manager was on the phone trying to order more.

I looked at them, tried one on... doesn't work for my head as I think they are better suited for the more narrow long skulls like Specialized, Rudy, etc. (if I remember correctly), than the rounded skulls (like mine) which are better suited to the likes of Giro or Bell.

But you know what... I certainly knew about that helmet on it's very first day out. And so did a whole bunch of other folks. Versus say the newest Giro Aether, which has been out since July apparently, yet I never even knew about it till fairly recently. Mindshare is what Trek created, all in the span of a few weeks over social media. Anyone looking for a high end helmet in the last week or so has probably had to at least try one of thes guys on. I'm not even really looking, but my curiosity was piqued. So, good job to Trek... but these kinds of grandiose social media extravaganzas have a high potential to quickly become a bit "Boy who cried wolf" kind of affairs. After a few letdowns relative to the hype, I think we'll all become pretty desensitized to it all.

And to those who are all upset that Trek isn't necessarily including this technology in it's complete line of helmets... I think Huh... they are not a charity, they are a business trying to sell product and make as much profit as they can. As long as they produce a helmet that meets the minimum safety requirements, then beyond that they can produce and charge whatever they want, right up to the maximum a customer will pay. That's business, like it or not. Colors, styles, extra safety features... those all come at a premium over the basic model, nothing new. You don't have to buy them, you can get the cheap ugly helmet that meets all safety requirements. They even have the right to make the cheapest one, which meets all safety requirements, really ugly, so as to entice the vain into spending more on the nice looking one instead. And there's some of that in most of us, I'm sure.

So good job to Trek, and it's certainly more evidence of the real biggest change in the cycling industry in the last 30 years... that being the marketing techniques being used to sell product, create demand, create markets etc. That's not a bad thing, it's just a sign of the times, the internet, the power of social media, etc. But it's a big change... much bigger than a new helmet, that's for sure.

So what's next I wonder....
Last edited by Calnago on Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Karvalo
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by Karvalo

Calnago wrote:
Thu Mar 28, 2019 8:43 pm
Yet some people still seem to put an extraordinary amount of weight on the validity of the claims made in these rags. I use them to gleen a bit of information about the product, and how it works, but don't pretend that the whitepaper is more than another piece of marketing literature. Because it's not.
It's published in a peer reviewed journal, show me any other industry white paper that can say the same.

I fully understand that 'peer reviewed' is not the same as 'true', but do you understand that it's also not the same as pure marketing?

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Calnago
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by Calnago

Arguments made. The readers can and should decide for themselves how much weight they want to give to the marketing aspect of the “white paper”.
Colnago C64 - The Naked Build; Colnago C60 - PR99; Trek Koppenberg - Where Emonda and Domane Meet;
Unlinked Builds (searchable): Colnago C59 - 5 Years Later; Trek Emonda SL Campagnolo SR; Special Colnago EPQ


bilwit
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by bilwit

So at best (Virginia Tech), WaveCell is on par with MIPS and at worst (Folskam), it's worse.

It's good that this has sparked discussion in the industry though, they can do much better than plain old EPS foam. Seems to me that you could have a thin WaveCell-like layer on top, a MIPS-like shell beneath, then foam inserts at the bottom to interface with your head. The newer modern helmets in American Football use layers like this as well. Might end up with a massive UFO-helmet that weighs 400g though, the Giro Aether is already pushing it :x

TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

On top of this, Trek has admitted behind closed doors that they need to address low-speed ventilation with their WaveCel helmets. The next generation will have the material cut out from the vents a la more traditional helmets.

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C36
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by C36

TobinHatesYou wrote:On top of this, Trek has admitted behind closed doors that they need to address low-speed ventilation with their WaveCel helmets. The next generation will have the material cut out from the vents a la more traditional helmets.
Will that then be “the biggest revolution of last 30+1 years in the entire bike industry” ?Image


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Last edited by C36 on Tue Jun 11, 2019 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sennder
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by sennder

The technology might not be as revolutionary for safety as Trek claims but the Specter WaveCel helmet is by far the most comfortable helmet I have ever tried. Didn't get a chance to ride it so can't talk about ventilation but the helmet itself fit my like a glove, considerably better than any other helmet I have tried. Added weight is noticeable though.

--sennder

MichaelB
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by MichaelB

When you read into the details of the actual helmets tested, the Giro Aether (proper road) is a very different STYLE of helmet compared to the Trek Charge (Commuter), so this also has an effect on the results.

Need to compare aples with apples.

by Weenie


TobinHatesYou
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by TobinHatesYou

MichaelB wrote:
Wed Jun 12, 2019 12:13 am
When you read into the details of the actual helmets tested, the Giro Aether (proper road) is a very different STYLE of helmet compared to the Trek Charge (Commuter), so this also has an effect on the results.

Need to compare aples with apples.

That's very true. Commuter helmets almost always perform worse than performance road helmets in the safety tests.

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