Wind and different wheels

FLO Product Support, FAQ, Cycling, Triathlon, Etc.

Wind and different wheels

Postby stevemurf1 » March 8th, 2012, 8:34 am

First of all I think what the "Flo Bros" are doing is awesome. Obviously not just trying to make a buck but really trying to create a company to help the triathlon world (and I hope they do make a few bucks).
Anyways, I have never ridden deep wheels or disks. I am very light (5'9" about 135lbs). I ordered a set of 60/60's and will be ordering a disk cover as well. So for those that are light and have experience with disks/covers my questions is - will I be able to use the cover the majority of the time or will I get blown all over the road?
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby livetotri » March 8th, 2012, 10:51 am

Disks on the back increase stability. It's the 60 on the front you should be nervous about.

But it's no 90 ;)
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby Chris Thornham » March 8th, 2012, 6:44 pm

stevemurf1 wrote:First of all I think what the "Flo Bros" are doing is awesome. Obviously not just trying to make a buck but really trying to create a company to help the triathlon world (and I hope they do make a few bucks).
Anyways, I have never ridden deep wheels or disks. I am very light (5'9" about 135lbs). I ordered a set of 60/60's and will be ordering a disk cover as well. So for those that are light and have experience with disks/covers my questions is - will I be able to use the cover the majority of the time or will I get blown all over the road?


First of all thanks for the compliments! We appreciate those ;)

To answer your question the rear FLO 60 with a wheel cover shouldn't be that much of an issue. As livetotri mentioned, a disc on the back can increase stability. Crosswinds do not effect a rear wheel like they do a front wheel because there is no steering axis on a rear wheel. Basically, when a front wheel is hit by a cross wind it cause your handlebars to spin, which as you can imagine isn't the most pleasant experience.

Fortunately, the newer shaped wheels on the market (including FLO wheels) aren't as effected by cross winds as older style wheels, so I'm very confident your FLO 60/60 combo will be perfect for you. I think there is a good reason why modern shape wheels are less effected by crosswinds. Let me try to explain. Here is a picture to start...

Image

First of all, this is a birds eye view of a cross section of cycling wheels. Take a look at the FLO/Modern shape wheel. Our fairing shapes are much wider bulbous when compared to the older V-Notch/Old style of aero wheels. When a cycling wheel is hit by wind, it comes in contact with two leading edges. First you have the tire on the front of the wheel, and second you have the inside diameter of your rim or carbon fiber on the back of the wheel. The inside diameter of a FLO/Modern shape is so round and bulbous that is very closely resembles the blunt nose of a tire. When the wind hits a FLO/Modern wheel it effects the front half of the wheel in nearly the same way it effects the back half of the wheel. This is because the shape the wind is coming in contact with is almost the same both front and back. This "even" force on the front and back of the wheel almost eliminates any torque about your steering axis.

On the contrary, when a V-Notch/Old style wheel is hit by wind, the wind sees a completely different shape on the front of the wheel and the back half of the wheel. This means the forces on the front of the wheel are completely different than the forces on the back half of the wheel... and... as you can guess, this introduces a torque around your steering axis. This torque is what causes your handlebars to quickly jerk when you get hit by a cross wind.

When you get hit with a side wind on a FLO/Modern wheel the feeling is much different from when you get hit with a cross wind on a V-Notch/Old wheel. It's much more of a even/gentle push than a violent jerk.

To be brutally honest, we didn't study this concept much while we were designing our wheels. It wasn't until I started riding our prototypes that I realized something was significantly different. Since then I've spent a lot of time trying to figure out why and the description above where my head is with the concept at this point. The improved handling was something that was unexpected...but... we are happy it worked out that way!

Let me know if you have any additional questions,
Chris Thornham
FLO Cycling: http://www.flocycling.com
FLO Blog: http://bit.ly/b3Zlpq | Twitter: http://bit.ly/bOQ08x | Facebook: http://bit.ly/d8KDhI
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby stevemurf1 » March 9th, 2012, 7:59 pm

Not to argue but why would they not allow disks for all races then. High wind courses such as Kona do not allow disks.
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby Chris Thornham » March 11th, 2012, 11:54 am

stevemurf1 wrote:Not to argue but why would they not allow disks for all races then. High wind courses such as Kona do not allow disks.


I've never ridden Kona but from what I hear the winds there are incredibly strong. On top of that they are not consistent. There are very strong gusts and the winds are constantly changing directions. I think in those conditions a disc may be more challenging to handle.

Also, you have to consider that while perhaps 2/3rds of the competitors are very experienced athletes who have arrived via qualification, the other 1/3rd are more than likely inexperienced and have arrived via the lottery system. The less experienced group would more than likely have a lot more trouble riding a disc.

In the end, I think because of the unique/extreme wind conditions, discs are not allowed at Kona.

Who knows... maybe tradition plays a role too.

I know that's not a scientific answer but it's my best guess ;)

Take care,
Chris Thornham
FLO Cycling: http://www.flocycling.com
FLO Blog: http://bit.ly/b3Zlpq | Twitter: http://bit.ly/bOQ08x | Facebook: http://bit.ly/d8KDhI
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby stevemurf1 » March 14th, 2012, 7:15 am

Thanks Chris, this answers alot for me. I always figured because of my weight, a disk would cause me too many problems. I can't wait to use my flo 60's with a cover and see how it goes.
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Re: Wind and different wheels

Postby Chris Thornham » March 15th, 2012, 4:56 pm

You are very welcome! I'm glad I could help.

All the best,
Chris Thornham
FLO Cycling: http://www.flocycling.com
FLO Blog: http://bit.ly/b3Zlpq | Twitter: http://bit.ly/bOQ08x | Facebook: http://bit.ly/d8KDhI
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