The cauldron of sports competition is increasingly the place to look for great design. Here, design can make a huge difference in performance. The Kestrel Airfoil Pro bicycle, for example, has a revolutionary new shape that acts as a sail, pushing the rider faster and faster. The Tribord FLP 500 fins from France have oval holes in them, cutting water resistance and making swimming easier. Nike Inc.'s (NKE ) new Slingshot irons make it a lot easier for average golfers (who don't consistently break 100) to hit straighter and higher. And BMW's R1200 GS motorcycle not only looks hot but is also designed for more stability and better handling. In sports, functionality and flair do mix well.
AIRFOIL PRO, FROM KESTREL BICYCLES
The rear end of the triathlon bike functions as a sail in a crosswind, propelling the rider. The new design generated savings in manufacturing. $3,699.
TRIBORD FLP 500 FIN
Designer: Décathlon, France
An open window in the blade of the fin gives swimmers a more powerful kick with less effort. A comfortable foot pocket permits longer diving. Great colors. $31.
BMW R1200 GS MOTORCYCLE
Designer: BMW Design Team, Germany
The front "beak," an oil cooler, makes this dual-purpose bike look tough. BMW shed weight and boosted the horsepower to make touring a breeze. Yet off-road riding is still fun. $15,100.
Designer: Astro Studios; Nike
Designed to make it easier for average golfers to launch the ball at a higher angle while shooting straighter. Think oversize tennis racket. $599 per set.