Elbow sliders: Rev’it describe the history of their development…
Toward the end of the 1970s, Kenny Roberts Sr. was spotted on a 500cc world championship grid sporting duct tape wrapped around the knees of his suit. This was not because his suit was torn; the layers of tape were there to reduce the friction between his suit and the track when he touched and dragged his knee on the tarmac during the race… This home-made solution was the predecessor of an invention that has become standard in professional racing and in our racing collection; the knee slider.
Today, motorcycle racing has reached a new chapter in the continuous evolution of technology and subsequent riding style of professional racers: elbow dragging. Just as when riders started dragging their knees on the asphalt, dragging elbows also called for a solution to prevent suit damage and wear. Hence, the birth of the elbow slider, and we’re more than happy to fill you in on how our version of the slider came to life.
There’s a lot more to developing an elbow slider than meets the eye. First, it’s important to have the precise elbow area protected by the slider, and to not use more material than necessary (remember, minimal weight and aerodynamics are crucial in professional racing). This is why the first step in our development was fitting the suit of our hero Álvaro Bautista with a removable -and movable- slider to find the optimal slider position.
While for us as a motorcycle clothing manufacturer, MotoGP serves as a laboratory for new developments, this of course cannot hinder a rider in achieving good results. Álvaro proved in Le Mans that this development task does not stand in his way to reaching the podium (note the repositionable sliders).
2. The Slider
Our research on the positionable slider clearly revealed two things: the ideal position of the slider, and the surface that actually touches the asphalt when the elbow drags. The latter is important to know to create a slider that is as slim and as aerodynamic as possible. The result was a subtle yet effective elbow slider that is higher-tech than its appearance might reveal.
A special non-sparking metal allegation is shaped by our 3D printer as the actual slider. Starting from the 2014 Dutch TT, Álvaro was the first to use the slider and he demonstrated immediately that its position and shape suited his riding style perfectly.
3. Continuous development
The ongoing development of MotoGP bikes and everything to do with racing at the highest level -not to mention tires- asks for continuous adaption to the riding style of the men piloting the machines. Our elbow slider serves as a nice example of this need to adapt: while the position of the slider proved perfect for 2014, halfway through the 2015 season, the demand for an adjustment was clear. This was evident from the wear pattern of the sliders mid-season.
Not only did the position need to change, the size of the slider also had to change as both our MotoGP heroes Álvaro Bautista and Danilo Petrucci showed a similar wear pattern on their suits that went beyond the current slider’s surface. In addition, our new-for-2015 hero Alex Rins was adapting to the Moto2 class rapidly, asking more of his elbow slider than the surface allowed at that point.
4. The Status Quo
With our riders’ input, our elbow slider evolved into its current shape and size. Its position on the suit allows our heroes to exceed an inclination of over 60 degrees while still only touching the tarmac with the elbow slider, preventing wear and tear to the rest of the suit.
The smooth surface of the slider prevents it from catching on to the asphalt, allowing our riders to use their elbow as a reference point with even more precision than before. As a result, this helps to further develop their riding style and explore their limits. It makes you wonder what will be the next challenge in racing suits of the highest level, but whatever it may be, we know one thing for sure: As soon as our riders are ready, we will be too!
Thanks to Rev’it Europe for the information. The original can be seen here.