"Every single development step is crucial for the final product," says Lukas Tamajka, ABUS product manager and mastermind behind the GameChanger 2.0. Come with us on a journey full of big visions, discarded ideas and hard testing.
THE IDEAS MARATHON BEGINS
Our creative minds dared to take the first step. The task: to make the impossible possible. Lukas Tamajka says of this goosebump moment: "We challenged ourselves and asked ourselves: Can we develop a successor to a product that is already considered perfect?"
Expert sessions for the perfect helmet
Inspired by boundary-pushing thinking, we held a series of creative brainstorming sessions with high-calibre teams of experts – including sales professionals, engineers, designers and experienced athletes. Our common goal: to create a helmet that takes performance, comfort and safety to a new, unrivalled level. "It was exciting to see our team push the envelope," says Tamajka.
FEEDBACK MAKES THE DIFFERENCE
"We approached sales people all over Europe who have close contact with the top dealers and shop owners. We wanted to hear their valuable feedback," explains Lukas Tamajka.
The kings of the roads as partners
Martin Böckelmann, our contact person for the pro teams, put us in touch with top international riders and ex-athletes – including Enric Mas, Alejandro Valverde, Annemiek van Vleuten and Maurice Clavel. "The athletes have more than 1,000 hours of experience with our product. They were able to give input on how the helmet could be optimised to save every possible watt of energy," Tamajka says.
A VISION TAKES SHAPE
How does a helmet take shape? Once the idea was fixed, the design process began. 2D and 3D drawings were followed by various computer simulations to test the aerodynamics and ventilation of the first designs.
The first look
"The biggest challenge was to improve both ventilation and aerodynamics, because these two characteristics can work against each other," explains Lukas Tamajka. In the end, we decided to completely redesign the inner structure of the helmet. "It was an exciting moment to finally hold the first physical 3D print of the design in my hands and see how it looked and felt."
TESTED THE HARD WAY
In cycling, aerodynamics and ventilation are arch enemies. "Our goal was to turn them into friends. We wanted to develop a grid* structure that improved both ventilation and aerodynamics," Tamajka reports. More than 90 different grids were created in the 3D printer, which we tested in the wind tunnel to optimise the design.
All in the name of superior performance
"I remember doing a wind tunnel test in the winter with Enric Mas in Belgium. He completed 96 test laps in the wind tunnel in just a jersey and bib shorts to test different settings, speeds and angles. He was really cold. We helped him to warm up again by setting the air conditioning to 32 degrees. In the wind tunnel, you feel like you're in the windy mountains. Mas was a real pro in the machine and we collected a lot of valuable data," Lukas Tamajka says.
The centerpiece is born
Only through cooperation with the athletes and by carrying out hundreds of tests in the wind tunnel and on the race track were we finally able to achieve our goal. The result is the Aero Blade – a special grid structure that optimises airflow, improves ventilation and ensures maximum performance at different speeds, side angles and helmet inclinations.
THE WINNING FORMULA
The GameChanger 2.0 is manufactured in our own production facility in Italy, the cradle of cycling. Here, a team of experienced skilled workers and engineers work with innovative EPS tools and robots specialised in cutting PC sheets and thermoforming them.
Craftsmanship meets precision
While the machines ensure the highest possible precision, our human colleagues put the finishing touches to the helmets by hand. This combination of advanced technology and craftsmanship ensures that every single GameChanger 2.0 is a product of the highest quality.
NO COMPROMISE ON SAFETY
The manufacture of high-end helmets is a balancing act between the highest possible performance, the lowest possible weight and an open structure that allows maximum ventilation. All of these features contrast with the rigorous standards of CE and CPSC certification and their impact tests. "Waiting for certification was like waiting for a rocket launch," recalls Lukas Tamajka. With successful certification, we knew our helmet was safe and ready for use on rides all over the world.
MEET THE MAN BEHIND
Age: 36 years Residence: Herdecke, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany Role at ABUS: Senior Product Manager Joined ABUS: September 2021
Jobs before ABUS: I have been working as a product manager in the bicycle industry since 2011.
Personal connection to road cycling: I am an active cyclist myself, often on MTB and E-MTB bike tours. I currently also check out gravel routes and go on road tours with other ABUS crew members.
What are you most looking forward to with GameChanger 2.0? As a product manager, my dream would be to see the GameChanger 2.0 win Tour de France stages, the Vuelta a España and various classic spring races. The greatest thing would be to see the GameChanger 2.0 on the winners' podium - that's where it belongs.
What is your personal highlight of the GameChanger 2.0? I am most pleased when people enjoy their cycling trips with our product – whether they are professional cyclists or recreational enthusiasts. The feedback that they feel comfortable and safe with our helmet is the biggest compliment for me.