Gear / Parts HJC Motorcycle Helmet Wind Tunnel Test

HJC Motorcycle Helmet Wind Tunnel Test

HJC Motorcycle Helmets

The art of motorcycling constitutes a most dynamic activity with the rider fully exposed to the elements-especially the oncoming windstream.

That windstream does not stay constant and the motorcycle rider’s head does not remain immobilized.

Whether the day calls for gentle meandering and sightseeing down a shady country road or handlebar-to-handlebar racing at speed, the rider-and the motorcycle helmet he or she is wearing-is very much subject to ever-changing wind conditions with his or her head and the helmet constantly taking on varying positions.

As a result, it makes sense to test a motorcycle helmet’s form for aerodynamic efficiency and stability in a full-sized wind tunnel while it is strapped onto a test engineer sitting aboard a motorbike.

This is the ideal setting for simulating real-world riding conditions in a quantifiable, repeatable test environment. And this is what spurred HJC to build such a facility to conduct extensive motorcycle helmet testing for the new RPS-10.

Substantial capital investments were made to add this large wind tunnel to HJC’s helmet design center.

In this way, dynamic tests with the helmeted testers could be performed at wind speeds as high as 130 mph.

Why such high speeds? Certainly because motorcycle road racers regularly attain such velocities and more, but consider this: Should a rider heading down the freeway at 70 mph encounter strong headwinds of 45 mph or more, such an everyday occurrence would easily surpass the 100-mph mark.

Which is to say, a helmet’s superior aerodynamic performance gained through wind-tunnel testing at high wind speeds can benefit all motorcycle riders.

In addition, such testing techniques allowed HJC engineers to fine-tune the RPS-10 helmet not only for high-speed aerodynamic performance at varying angles and riding postures, but also for interior noise levels, effective ventilation, maximum stability, minimum lift, minimum vibration and more.

The inclusion of a full-scale wind tunnel within a motorcycle helmet manufacturer’s R&D arsenal requires a substantial commitment.

But for HJC, the benefits attained with the superior design of the new RPS-10 certainly claim to have made the costs of building such a wind tunnel more than worthwhile.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

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