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Scott FOIL Premiun PivLock V2

Gear From Here, Over There

by Rebecca Meany and Jennifer Tuohy

Olympians strut their stuff in London supported by equipment connected to the Wood River Valley.

Wood River Valley residents, if they look closely, will find a few extra reasons to cheer this summer as the 2012 Olympic Games get under way in London, England.

Seconds count in all athletic competition, and the right equipment can make the difference between silver and gold. While ski and snowboard gear developed in the Wood River Valley has helped a number of winter Olympians to the podium over the years, Ketchum-based sporting gear manufacturers Scott and Smith Optics are now targeting a Summer Olympic medal.

Revolutionary sunglasses
Smith Optics hopes to see a number of athletes whom it sponsors—including Christian Vande Velde (road cycling), Adam Craig, Kelli Emmett, Mary McConneloug (all cross-country mountain biking) and Dotsie Bausch (track cycling)—wearing its technologically advanced sunglasses in their bid for Olympic glory.

Designed in Smith's world headquarters in Ketchum, the company's PivLock V2 is the world's lightest interchangeable sunglass. "They were created for sports where you need eye protection, but you want something really light, something with a big field of vision so you don't have frame interrupting your vision," said Tag Kleiner, director of marketing for Smith.

First developed in late 2009, PivLock technology eliminates frames. "We realized that the frame could be the lens itself, and all that we'd need on that is a couple of temples and a nose piece," Kleiner said. "It gets rid of all that other frame that blocks your peripheral vision; it gets rid of the weight and it makes interchangeability that much easier. These things are slick."

Smith created the PivLock technology based on feedback from its athletes, who wanted a maximum field of view. "We literally removed all but the absolutely necessary frame material and relied on our optically corrected lenses to provide the coverage and protection you would expect of a performance sunglass, without the traditional frame or brow-bar found on many sport shield sunglasses," said Eric Carlson, vice president of product and design. "Athletes can now experience truly unlimited field of view."

The glasses have an adjustable-fit nose bridge, and with the reduction of the frame, the area that typically holds most of the mass of sunglasses is reduced as well, Kleiner said. "You have a cyclist who's trying to shave grams off of their bike, their jersey, water, helmet, glasses," he said. "Everything is trying to be lighter and stronger and more efficient."

To the drawing board
The path from idea to product—and maybe to podium—can be lengthy. "It's a very tricky product to design," Kleiner said.

It starts with a designer taking pen to paper, creating a drawing of the sunglass. That idea is passed to an internal modeler who, using a putty-like substance, turns the design into a 3-D piece. The model is then converted into an AutoCAD file—a software application for computer-aided design—being tweaked all the while.

"Throughout that process we involve our athletes," Kleiner said. Feedback might be that the lens is too high, the temple length is too long or the glasses don't fit into a helmet. "So all these little aspects of how the product gets used in real life are brought into the design process, the testing process, before we come out with a final version," he said.

From aluminum ski poles to mountain bike gold
In 1958, when Ed Scott invented the world's first tapered aluminum ski pole right here in Sun Valley, he couldn't have envisioned that more than 50 years later the company he founded would be sending athletes to Olympic podiums on wheels instead of skis.
But in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, a Scott-designed mountain bike helped Switzerland's Nino Schurter win a bronze medal, and this year Scott has a shot at increasing the USA's medal tally. Triathlete Sarah Groff will take her custom-built Scott FOIL Premium road bike to the 2012 Summer Olympics, where she'll represent America.

The FOIL is the brainchild of a dedicated group of engineers called Scott Aero Science. The team—Cyril Beaulieu, Simon Smart, Herman Pacal and Lars Teutenberg—were tasked with creating the most aerodynamic bikes possible. They came up with F01 aero technology to create unique, bicycle-specific tube shapes that maximize aerodynamic efficiency at lower speeds. The shape results in the drag from the bike and rider being reduced, providing more speed at less energy expense. "The bike is the perfect balance between handling, stiffness and weight," said Teutenberg, technical team manager.

To prove their initial theories, the team used CFdesign software (a flow and heat-transfer simulation software used with AutoCAD), to test their concepts virtually before stressing them physically in a wind tunnel. The FOIL exceeded all their expectations.
"Our F01 tube technology offers aero advantages at a wide range of wind angles, so it's truly an all-rounder and a game-changer when used in triathlon," said Adrian Montgomery, marketing director of Scott's U.S. bike division.

Because the engineers were also able to increase frame strength and compliance while lowering the overall weight compared to other aero road frames, the bike makes the perfect fit for a short-distance triathlon, like that of the Olympic distance.
Montgomery called Groff's riding to her Olympic berth last summer on a FOIL "a fabulous example of how aero road can present an advantage for short distance triathlons."

"I love the way the bike handles," Groff said. "It feels like a Ferrari—it's very responsive and slippery. It gives me extra confidence knowing I am on one of the fastest bikes available, aerodynamically speaking."
Like millions of people worldwide, Kleiner and Montgomery will tune in to the games this summer, but they will be watching certain Olympians with piqued interest. "We're excited for our athletes," Kleiner said.

The Olympic Games begin July 27 and run through August 12.