Monday, January 01, 2007

Bicycle Helmet Wind Noise

About ten years back, the bike catalogs like Performance were selling gadgets that you placed over your ears to cut down on the wind noise while riding your bike. They didn't stay in the catalogs for long.

Recently I was thinking about them, after becoming aware of the wind noise in my ears. Then I tried a few experiments:

-If you turn your head 90 degrees to one side, the noise goes way down. This is not practical for very long...

-Covering the ears with ear warmers doesn't help noticeably

-Cupping your hand in the vicinity of the ear helps a bit in certain positions.

-Removing your helmet helps A LOT! It's almost as effective as turning the head 90 degrees.

-Using a fabric helmet cover did not make a noticeable difference.

The reduction in wind noise when not wearing a helmet was surprising. It appears that there must be quite a bit of turbulence around the edge of the helmet. It would be interesting to try a time-trial helmet to see if it is any quieter.

Mark Dionne

PS: the ear cover gadgets have been re-invented. They look very much like what I remember seeing years ago: