So the good folks at Wind Blox sent me over two packs of their Wind Blox Pro to try. I was keen to try them, as anyone knows on those long descents the wind whooshing in your ears often blocks out the sound of cars and other traffic coming up behind you. This can be especially disconcerting when it’s another cyclist who thinks he or she can descend like Vincenzo Nabali and swoops past you at 55mph when you’re doing your best to rail the apex of the corner doing 40+! Trust me it’s happened!
I received two packs of the Pro Version; one in Black and one in Silver. There are two versions; Pro which is 10cm long the Classic which is 6cm long. Length is driven by how long the strap is on the side of your face. Fitting them was easy enough. Velcro closures with the newer less scratchy small looped Velcro allows you to wrap them around the straps on your helmet. I had to lower the little plastic clasp that joins the straps that come from in front of and behind your ears. Some other wiggling was needed to get my sunglasses to sit comfortably. They felt noticeable against my skin when I thought about them, but other than that were pretty easily forgotten about. They were also pretty missable when you look at them, they sit close on your cheek underneath the strap so other than the small bulge and the text on the outside you would never know they where there. This makes them signifcantly less noticable than their competitors and don’t draw any real attention.
With them installed I took to the roads. It seemed best to head out on some hilly rides to maximize the potential for wind noise. I used the last couple of rides from the Santa Monica Challenge and for my Birthday ride.
These rides ranged in duration from 2:30 to just under 7:00 and had up to 7500’ of gain (and descent), plenty of wind in the ears.
The temperatures on the rides maxed out at in the mid 80s. I mention this as at this kind of temperature and when you’re sweating anything rubbing on your skin feels at best annoying and at worst will chafe!
I am unable to quantify the actual reduction and so I have to use qualitative interpretation. I think my expectation was a bit high as I was expecting there to be the “eye of the storm” with all the noise being reduced. Wind Blox claim up to a 80.2% reduction in wind noise. This combined with the impact of the “Hawthorne effect”; that is the behavior of something changes in response to it being observed may have skewed my interpretation. So while I do listen for traffic coming from behind I am more focused on the road ahead and while wearing these I was focussed on listening.
So with that all said the bottom line was that during the descents there was a decrease the overall whooshing air noise, this in turn makes them safer and that’s a good thing.
The reduction in noise make these an easy solution to a problem that all cyclists face. They are simple to fit and work. Simple and effective is always a good combination but something that so many products miss the mark on. Add to that they cost less than $20 and it’s almost a no brainer!
Although it’s a bit early these are the perfect stocker stuffing for the upcoming Holidays!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received Wind-Blox Pro for free from Wind-Blox Pro in consideration for a gear review.