Tithon helmet wins Red Dot Design Award31 Mar. 2016
Tithon helmet wins Red Dot Design Award
Winning the Red Dot Design Award is very special for BBB Cycling because it’s the first time in our history we win this prestigious Design Award. But for the team behind the development and design of the Tithon, it’s even more special.
The very first design idea and concept of the Tithon were developed by a team of six students of the Technical University of Delft. A highly appreciated technical institute and world famous for its expertise in aerodynamics and thermodynamics. The features that were essential for developing the Tithon. We spoke to two of the students, Thijs de Booij and Drim Stokhuijzen, that were involved in this project. They told us what was so special about working on the Tithon and what a student can learn from projects like this of BBB Cycling.
Tell us why you worked on the Tithon and what made this project so special?
Thijs: “Within the course of Advanced Embodiment Design we specifically chose to work on the Tithon project. BBB Cycling volunteered to work together with this course and students were able to subscribe to one of the companies involved in this course of our study Industrial Design. We chose to work on the Tithon with a team of 6 students, because in our opinion this project was the best one to reach the goals we set for ourselves within the boundaries of the course. We wanted to produce a prototype that had more than just a regular prototype of the most common projects we worked on before. The main things I focused on were questions as ‘What character should this product have for the target group’ and ‘What position does the helmet have to have within the product range of BBB?” After that, I focused on producing the prototype, designing the wind tunnel tests and analyzing the results of these tests.”
Drim: “First of all, the group of people working on this project was highly motivated. That was one of the main reasons I wanted to join in. Besides that, my expertise was mainly focused on aerodynamics and thermodynamics in the automotive section. That knowledge could be of great value for the production of this prototype. It was exactly what this helmet was looking for.”
What did you learn from this project?
Thijs: “Basically, getting the expertise in where you don’t have it yourself. So looking for help is the best way to finalize a good project. And the moment you’re working on an interesting problem, that help will find you more or less without a lot of problems.”
Drim: “For me, it was all about the research. Doing good research pays off! With relative simple aerodynamic experiments, we were able to get a good insight into the problems and produce an effective prototype. By doing these tests we could decrease the area of research and therefore concentrate on the problems that were most critical. In the end, it was the perfect balance between intuition and hard science.”
What was so special on working on a project like the Tithon?
Drim: “Working on a project like the Tithon allowed us to work on a very practical project that at the same time was so close to reality. The Tour de France would begin that summer, so that was a little extra motivation.”
Thijs: “Using the wind tunnel was very special and this project allowed us to do that. At the same time, we were able to show that a very popular helmet of a competing brand wasn’t that quick after all. We basically showed that a lot of things were still left open on the research about fast helmets. It was an eye-opener.”
Can you tell us more about the testing in the wind tunnel and what a consumer notices about those tests?
Drim: ‘Testing in a wind tunnel allows you to test how much resistance a, in this case, helmet generates. The more resistance is measured, the less successful an aerodynamic helmet is. As a cyclist, you want to lose as less Newton meters as possible. So little resistance is fundamental. Besides that we measured the ventilation of the Tithon, using temperature sensors. To get a good view of our helmet, we tested several models of the competition as well. The Tithon showed extremely good results in the balance between aerodynamics and ventilation.”
“In the end, a consumer will notice the two huge vents at the front of the helmet and the smooth surface on top of it. Looking at the market a consumer will see, this is different from other models, but it’s caused directly by the tests of the wind tunnel. They show these solutions are the best for creating a helmet with the perfect balance of speed and ventilation. So basically, you can state that all the features a consumer notices are the result of the tests done by the Technical University of Delft. That shows, that working together brings better products to the consumer. BBB Cycling understands this and this project proves they’re right.”