April 22, 2014

FLO Cycling - The Warehouse


Cash is King when starting a business.  On paper it seems very logical that one would get a warehouse when starting a business like ours.  It is logical but it's not always practical.  Much of what we do at FLO is done in the comfort of our own homes.  Until recently our warehouse has been no exception.  Even our new warehouse is a work in progress.  Here is a little history of the warehouse journey while we've started FLO.

The Garage

Yes, I know it's kind of cliche to talk about the garage start-up.  Often it's used even when a company did not start in their garage.  The truth for FLO is that we did start in a garage.  Chris and I were living together at the time and we had a one car garage that was the workshop for our first prototypes.  We learned to build wheels, bond fairings, solve the problem of drilling spoke holes in carbon by hand, and countless other things.  After several months we had our first prototype that we completed by working many late nights after our day jobs ended.  I'll never forget these days.  Ambitious and totally naive about what we were getting into.  I wouldn't change a thing.  

Lining up a fairing to drill spokes holes for the first FLO 60.
Early prototype jigs.
First prototypes before we figured out the spoke hole locations.  The holes were huge!
The first FLO wheel ever built.  Chris still had his work clothes on. 

The Spare Bedroom, Kitchen and Living Room

By the time our first production run of wheels arrived, Chris had moved out.  I was living in a 1,200 sqft two bedroom condo that was on the second floor.  It was the obvious choice for our warehouse, lol.  Needless to say, every room became useful space and we both got a good workout carrying 400 boxes up and down the stairs.  We learned more in these early shipping days then we had ever imagined.  We struggled to process 80 wheels in one day.  We now can process over 300 on a good day.  Henry Ford was onto something.

Command Central, sticker table and all.

The living room.
The dining room and kitchen.

The spare bedroom.

The House

After our first couple of containers, Chris moved into a house.  Fortunately for us there were 15 ft ceilings and there was a unusually large room.  We converted this room into our warehouse and order processing area.  During processing and shipping days the rest of the house was taken over as we sorted and organized the orders.  We were pretty comfortable here and we learned how to become efficient.  We used this space for about 15 months and it gave us the opportunity to keep more cash in the bank.  Here are a number of shots of our "the house warehouse" with wheels stacked by type.







The new command central.

Orders processed and ready for UPS pick up

The New Warehouse... Well Sort Of

At the end of last year, Chris was moving out of the house he was renting and we were too big for my 1,200 sqft condo.  We officially needed to rent space.  The question was where.  We have a good friend in town that owns a building.  The basement of the building had a 5,000 sqft space that needed a floor poured and heat/AC.  The heat was not big deal but the AC was a serious issue for two Canadians living in the Las Vegas heat.  We took a look at the space and it was perfect.  We agreed to have a floor poured and we would move in.  Well, last minute it was decided the floor would not be poured.  The space is in a medical office building, and the space will likely be used for a surgical center.  Surgical centers need pipes in floors, which is why we had to hold off on the floor.  With no time to spare and Order 10 wheels on their way from LA we made the decision to move in.  We used what we had and built a temporary space to process wheels.  For now it's perfect.  It's rough around the edges but it's perfect.  Soon enough we will move into a new place, but to be honest I wouldn't have it any other way.  


The new warehouse before we moved in.  Not too bad!

Wheels after we unloaded a container.  Sorted but type and build.

Setting up the new order processing area.  Construction scraps rock!

Set up and ready to go.

We added lights for late night processing.

Wheels processed and ready to be picked up by UPS.

I've always been amazed by businesses that start day one in a brick and mortar location.  There is a lot to be said for people who are willing to take that risk.  Maybe we are a product of the internet age but ironically for us, we felt right at home starting our business this way. 

Take care,


Jon

March 16, 2014

FLO Cycling - Order 11 Starts March 20, 2014


It's official!  Order 11 will begin Thursday, March 20th at 10:00am PDT.  We are also excited to let everyone know that we will be selling FLO 30 rims by themselves so you can build your own wheel if you like.  Each rim will cost $80 USD.  For full details on the FLO 30 Rim please see our blog post here.

Every wheel purchased within the first hour will receive a FREE 26 oz FLO Cycling Specialized Purist Water Bottle (see picture below).  Please read the details below for "General Information" and FAQ about Order 11.  We can't thank you enough for your support and patience.   

General Information
  • Order 11 begins March 20, 2014 at 10:00am PDT.  Access the store here.  You will need a store account to checkout.  We recommend creating your account here before the order starts to save time.
  • On March 20, 2014 the "Store" page will feature a countdown timer.  When it hits 00:00:00:00 refresh your page to begin shopping.
  • 600 wheels will be available during Order 11.  
  • We will have FLO 30s, 60s, 90s, DISCS and FLO 30 rims available during Order 11.  There will be over 100 FLO DISCS available during Order 11.  11 Speed compatibility news will be released as soon as we complete testing.  If all goes according to plan that should be early next week before Order 11 starts.
  • FLO 60s, 90s and DISCS are estimated to ship the first by April 1st and the FLO 30's and FLO 30 rims are estimated to ship by April 18th.  
  • There are currently 1,171 people signed up for Order 11.    
  • All sales are on a first-come-first-serve basis.  We are working hard to eventually have stock.  For more information, please read this blog article.
  • Orders tend to sell out quickly.  All 2013 and 2014 Orders have sold out in less then one hour and popular wheels can go in under 5 minutes.  We suggest being online at 9:55am PDT if you are interested in buying wheels.  Please know there is no pressure to buy, we just want to be honest.
  • Order 12 is scheduled to take place in early May 2014 and is estimated to have approximately 600 wheels.
  • You are not guaranteed a wheel when adding it to the cart.  You must check out to confirm your order.  
Questions About Order 11

Q1.  How and where do I place my order?

A1.  The store opens at 10:00am PDT.  On the morning of the order, the store page will have a count down timer on it.  When the count down timer hits 00:00:00:00, refresh your page to access the store and begin shopping!

Note*  You will need to create an account to shop in our online store.  We highly recommend creating an account before next Thursday to save time during Order 11.  You can create your account here.  

Q2.  Do we have live up to date inventory on our site?

A2.  That’s sort of a yes and no question.  When you select the product you will see how many are available under the “Bearings or Bearing/Build” pull down menus (The “Sticker Color” pull down does not show how many wheels are in stock.).  If there is one left and you add it to your cart it does not mean you have secured the wheel.  You must make it all the way through the cart before the wheel is yours.  If someone else has bought the wheel in that amount of time, you will receive an out of stock warning when you hit the confirm order button.

Q3.  My page is really slow what should I do.  (We hope this doesn’t happen!)

A3.  We have done all we can to beef up the server to prevent crashing.  That said there are no guarantees.  When you click to add a wheel to your cart it may take a second or two to load.  Please do NOT hit the "Add to Cart" button multiple times.  If you do you will add more then one wheel to your shopping cart.  If there are any technical difficulties during the sale, please be patient, we will be working to correct them as soon as humanly possible.  If you page is slow after hitting “confirm order” PLEASE DO NOT HIT REFRESH or your card may be charged twice.  If you do hit refresh by mistake and are double charged, please let us know and we will be sure to refund your second order.

Q4.  What Water Bottle is going to be available?

A4.  A FREE 26oz FLO Cycling Specialized Purist Water Bottle will be given for each wheel purchased during the first hour of Order 11.   



Q5.  When will the wheels ship to me?

A5.  FLO 60s, 90s and DISCS are estimated to ship the first by April 1st and the FLO 30's and FLO 30 rims are estimated to ship by April 18th.

Q6.  How much are ceramic bearings?

A6.  Ceramic wheels are an additional $100 per wheel.  Ceramic bearings support our Bike for a Kid Program and have excellent durability.  Learn more about our Bike for a Kid Program.

Q7.  Do you offer Shimano 11 speed hub bodies?

A7.  All of our wheels except the FLO DISC now ship with 11 speed hub bodies.  We are currently testing the FLO DISCS for 11 speed compatibility and hope to have a final answer just before Order 11 starts.  We are waiting on the container to show up so testing can begin.  If they are acceptable, 11 speed hub bodies will be available for a $30 upgrade fee on the FLO DISC.  We will update everyone as soon as we know more.

Q8.  What payment methods do you accept?

A8.  We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover.  We do not accept PayPal.

We hope that this answers your questions about the upcoming pre-order.  If we have left anything out please let us know.

Thanks again for your patience and support.

Take care,

Jon and Chris

March 11, 2014

FLO Cycling - The FLO 30 Rim is Here!


We are happy to announce that we will start shipping FLO 30 rims by themselves.  There are a number of people who want to build the FLO 30's with their own spokes and hubs and we understand.  Sales will start during Order 11 on March 20, 2014 and will be on a first-come first-serve basis.  Check out the details below.



Rim Drilling Options:  20, 24, 28, 32 (32 will not be available during Order 11)
Rim Weight:  570g +/- 20g
Rim ERD:  586
Rim Type:  Aluminum Clincher
Rim Depth:  30mm
Max Rim Width:  26.92mm
Brake Track Width:  Angled, starts at 24.0mm and ends at 25.82mm
Rim Fit Issues:  There are no known fit issues with the FLO 30's
Rim Price:  $80/rim




Road Cycling and Cyclocross Use
When building a wheel make sure you take the wheels to a qualified builder who can build a set of wheels that will support your weight and be safe for you to ride.  The FLO 30 Rim can be used for cyclocross but you must ensure the rims are built properly for cyclocross use.  

Sticker Colors
Everyone has a favorite color.  Just like the rest of our FLO wheels, you will be able to pick from 18 color options.  

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Take care,

Jon

March 5, 2014

FLO Cycling - Aero vs. Weight - Follow Up


We wrote a blog article at the end of January titled "The Great Debate - Aero vs. Weight".  To write the article, we partnered with Ryan Cooper - the brains behind Best Bike Split - to simulate the effects of wheel aerodynamics vs. weight on some very popular bike courses.  The goal was to determine what saved you more time, aerodynamics or weight.  With the exception of climbing the Alpe d'Huez, a "heavy" aerodynamic wheel set was faster than an extremely lightweight but "non-aero" wheel set on every course.  I'll add by a considerable amount.

After posting that article we had some questions asked that I wanted to try and answer.  Here they are:

1.  What would happen if you reduced the weight of the 90/DISC combo?
2.  How would the FLO 30 do on the extreme courses?

Since I have explained the testing protocol in the previous article, I will not repeat it here.  If you have any questions about how we got the results, please read the first article "The Great Debate - Aero vs. Weight".


Disclaimer: The "Light FLO 90/DISC" listed below is purely hypothetical.  The "Light FLO 90/DISC" has the exact same aerodynamic properties of our standard FLO 90/DISC.  This means you cannot simply compare our FLO 90/DISC to any lighter deep front/disc wheelset and expect to get the same results listed below.  If the wheelset you are comparing is not as aerodynamic as our FLO 90/DISC, then the time savings will be decreased.  Please keep this in mind when reading the article and do not assume that "deep and light" equals the same results as the "Light FLO 90/DISC".

Let's review the courses, the updated wheelsets, and the rider details.  


The Ironman Courses
We selected a course that was flat, one that had rolling hills, and one that had a long steady climb.  Weight becomes more important on hilly courses so we wanted to include hilly courses to give weight the biggest advantage possible.  Here are the Ironman Courses we selected.  

The Flat Course - Ironman Florida
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 991 feet

The Rolling Course - Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 4804 feet

The Long Climb Course - Ironman Lake Placid
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 4612 feet

The Extreme Courses
Because we so firmly believe that aerodynamics are more important, we also selected two courses known for being some of the hilliest courses you will find.  Here they are.  

SavageMan 70
Distance: 55.7 miles
Total Gain: 6717 feet

Alpe d'Huez
Distance: 8.2 miles
Total Gain: 3514 feet
Average Grade: 8.1%


The Wheel Sets

The Aero Wheels
FLO 30/30: 1624 grams
FLO 90/DISC: 2259 grams
Light FLO 90/DISC: 1670 grams (based on a realistic potential weight)

The "Un-Aero" Wheels
We created 2 hypothetical non-aero wheel sets that varied only in weight.  The aerodynamic properties given to this wheel were that of a common training wheel like a Mavic Open Pro.  

Light Training Wheel: 1100 grams
Heavy Training Wheel: 2259 grams

The Rider
We simulated a rider that we felt resembled a good majority of male age group athletes.  This allowed us to keep things realistic and useful for our largest group of readers.  Here is the athlete profile.  

Rider Weight - 170lbs
Rider FTP - 250 watts
Bike 1 - Cervelo P2
Bike 2 - Cervelo S5 (used only on the Alpe d'Huez simulation)

We will assume that this rider will ride all of the courses at 75% of his FTP with the exception of the Alpe d'Huez.  On the Alpe d'Huez the rider will exert a 100% FTP effort.


The Results

The Ironman Courses

A baseline time has been set for each Ironman course below.  The time for the "Heavy" Training wheel to complete the course was used as the baseline time.  We then compared all other wheel sets to the baseline, to see whether improving aerodynamics or decreasing weight had a bigger influence on the time saved.   

Ironman Florida
Ironman Florida Bike Course Elevation

Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 21 min 44 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 21 min 42 sec
Time Saved = 2 sec


Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics

FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams): Time on Course : 5 hr 12 min 55 sec
Time Saved = 529 sec = 8 min 49 sec


Time Saved by Improving Aerodynamics and Weight

Light FLO 90/DISC (1670 grams): Time on Course : 5 hr 12 min 39 sec
Time Saved = 545 sec = 9 min 5 sec





Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Ironman Coeur d'Alene Bike Course Elevation

Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 6 hr 01 min 36 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 59 min 54 sec
Time Saved = 102 sec = 1 min 42 sec


Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics

FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 55 min 46 sec
Time Saved = 350 sec = 5 min 50 sec


Time Saved by Improving Aerodynamics and Weight

Light FLO 90/DISC (1670 grams): Time on Course : 5 hr 54 min 57 sec
Time Saved = 399 sec = 6 min 39 sec




Ironman Lake Placid
Ironman Lake Placid Bike Course Elevation

Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 6 hr 00 min 11 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 58 min 39 sec
Time Saved = 92 sec = 1 min 32 sec


Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics

FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 51 min 45 sec
Time Saved = 506 sec = 8 min 26 sec


Time Saved by Improving Aerodynamics and Weight

Light FLO 90/DISC (1670 grams): Time on Course : 5 hr 51 min 00 sec
Time Saved = 551 sec = 9 min 11 sec




The Extreme Courses
As I mentioned above, we added the FLO 30/30 wheelset to the test run to see how it faired on some of hilliest courses in the world.  Take a look below to see how it compared to the 


SavageMan

This is one of the hilliest Half Ironman courses in the world.  If you were to turn this course into an full Ironman, you would net 13,434 feet of climbing.  That is nearly 3 times hillier than Ironman Lake Placid!

SavageMan 70 Bike Course Elevation

The "Un-Aero" Wheels
Light Training Wheels (1100 grams) : 3 hr 20 min 43 sec

The Aero Wheels
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : 3 hr 19 min 39 sec

The FLO 30s
FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : 3 hr 19 min 42 sec


The FLO 90/DISC wheelset is still the winner but by only 3 seconds over the FLO 30/30 wheelset.  We feel those are pretty impressive results for a 30mm wheel.


Alpe d'Huez

In the last article you learned that the Alpe d'Huez was the breaking point for weight vs. aerodynamics.  That said, it took the Alpe d'Huez to make that happen.  For those of you who don't know, the Alpe d'Huez is one of the toughest climbs in the world.  It rises 3514 feet in only 8.2 miles.  We wanted to see what happened when we ran the FLO 30 up the climb.  Would the FLO 30s reduction in weight and added aero benefits allow it to beat the 1100 gram wheelset?  


Note: To give you an idea of just how big the climb is, I superimposed the climb over top of the full Ironman Coeur d'Alene course.  Remember, this climb takes place in only 8.2 miles and it absolutely dwarfs the IMCDA climbs.  Can you imagine climbing this!

The Alpe d'Huez Superimposed on top of IMCDA


The "Un-Aero" Wheels
Light Training Wheels (1100 grams) : 1 hr 09 min 46 sec

The Aero Wheels
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : 1 hr 10 min 09 sec

The FLO 30s
FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : 1 hr 9 min 44 sec


It turns out the FLO 30/30 wheelset is indeed the new winner.  It's only a 2 second win, but we'll take it ;)

While it is clear that aerodynamics is still much more important that weight in almost every race situation, we have seen that decreasing the weight in addition to improving the aerodynamics can help you squeeze out the last bit of speed.  The obvious question is, why are FLO wheels not lighter?  I can't lie, that's a great question.  Here's the honest answer.

To begin, our goal was to produce high quality, aerodynamic and affordable race wheels.  We focussed heavily on aerodynamics and quality.  By quality I'm referring to high quality components - hubs, bearings, spokes and rims - ride performance, stiffness, better braking with aluminum rims etc.  In our opinion if you give up quality then it doesn't matter how aero or how light your wheels are, people won't ride them.  Aerodynamics were a close second because - as the last two articles have proven - it saves you exponentially more time in most typical race conditions than weight.  We wanted to focus on what was most beneficial to our customers, and we did.

So how do we move forward.  We could have made the first generation of FLO wheels lighter but that would have come at a big cost.  Especially in 2010.  Since 2010 materials and manufacturing have changed and so has our ability to spend R&D money as a company.  Barring any tragedies, there will be another generation of FLO wheels and we will certainly focus on weight.  Quality and aerodynamics will still be our priorities, but we will look at weight when we redesign.

I can tell you that there are no immediate plans for a new wheel design.  Jon and I have been working very hard on our latest product which has taken considerable time and resources.  Once this new product - which can't yet be named - is on the market, our second generation of wheels will likely be our next mission.

I hope you have enjoyed this follow up article.  Please leave your comments and question below.  



Take care,

Chris

January 28, 2014

FLO Cycling - The Great Debate - Aero vs. Weight *Edited


What will save you more time?  Improving the aerodynamics, or decreasing the weight of your wheel set?  Jon and I have probably been asked this question hundreds if not thousands of times since starting FLO.  When designing FLO wheels we focussed primarily on aerodynamics.  We did that because in almost every situation possible, aerodynamics have a far greater impact on time saved than weight.  However, I don't just want to claim that.  In true FLO Cycling fashion, I want to do my best to prove that fact.  To do that, I asked a VERY smart friend to help me out.  

Help from a Friend
Ryan Cooper is an math Ph. D.  He does the kind of math that makes even engineering math look easy.  His area of study focuses on optimization mathematics and he has used that skill to develop a very cool web application called "Best Bike Split".  Best Bike Split has the ability to take in a ton of data like the rider's FTP, weight, their bike set up including wheels, tires and position, and then predict a bike split for a particular course.  This software is surprisingly accurate.  I've seen Ryan predict IM and HIM bikes splits within a minute several times.  He's right almost all of the time.  If you'd like to learn more about Best Bike Split, be sure to check out our Interview with Ryan where he details how the software works.  

The Study
The goal was to determine what saves you more time when selecting your cycling wheels, aerodynamics, or weight.  To do that, Ryan and I created a list of potential race day wheel set ups.  The wheel set ups ranged from lightweight and non-aero, to not lightweight and very aero.  

We then ran a virtual rider through some of the most popular Ironman courses and some "extreme" courses using each of the wheel set ups.  When all of the test runs were completed, we compared the times.

The Ironman Courses
The first three courses that we selected where some of the better known Ironman Courses.  We selected a course that was flat, one that had rolling hills, and one that had a long steady climb.  Weight becomes more important on hilly courses so we wanted to include hilly courses to give weight the biggest advantage possible.  Here are the Ironman Courses we selected.  

The Flat Course - Ironman Florida
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 991 feet

The Rolling Course - Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 4804 feet

The Long Climb Course - Ironman Lake Placid
Distance: 112 miles
Total Gain: 4612 feet

The Extreme Courses
Because we so firmly believe that aerodynamics are more important, we also selected two courses known for being some of the hilliest courses you will find.  Here they are.  

SavageMan 70
Distance: 55.7 miles
Total Gain: 6717 feet

Alpe d'Huez
Distance: 8.2 miles
Total Gain: 3514 feet
Average Grade: 8.1%

The Wheel Sets

The Aero Wheels
FLO 30/30: 1624 grams
FLO 60/90: 2074 grams
FLO 90/DISC: 2259 grams

The "Un-Aero" Wheels
We created 2 hypothetical non-aero wheel sets that varied only in weight.  The aerodynamic properties given to this wheel were that of a common training wheel like a Mavic Open Pro.  

Light Training Wheel: 1100 grams
Heavy Training Wheel: 2259 grams

The Rider
We simulated a rider that we felt resembled a good majority of male age group athletes.  This allowed us to keep things realistic and useful for our largest group of readers.  Here is the athlete profile.  

Rider Weight - 170lbs
Rider FTP - 250 watts
Bike 1 - Cervelo P2
Bike 2 - Cervelo S5 (used only on the Alpe d'Huez simulation)

We will assume that this rider will ride all of the courses at 75% of his FTP with the exception of the Alpe d'Huez.  On the Alpe d'Huez the rider will exert a 100% FTP effort.

The Results

The Ironman Courses
A baseline time has been set for each Ironman course below.  The time for the "Heavy" Training wheel to complete the course was used as the baseline time.  We then compared all other wheel sets to the baseline, to see whether improving aerodynamics or decreasing weight had a bigger influence on the time saved.   

Ironman Florida
Ironman Florida Bike Course Elevation
Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 21 min 44 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 21 min 42 sec
Time Saved = 2 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams): Time on Course : 5 hr 12 min 55 sec
Time Saved = 529 sec = 8 min 49 sec


Other FLO Wheels

FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 15 min 28 sec
Time Saved = 376 sec = 6 min 16 sec

FLO 60/90 (2074 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 14 min 10 sec
Time Saved = 454 sec = 7 min 34 sec




Ironman Coeur d'Alene
Ironman Coeur d'Alene Bike Course Elevation
Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 6 hr 01 min 36 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 59 min 54 sec
Time Saved = 102 sec = 1 min 42 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 55 min 46 sec
Time Saved = 350 sec = 5 min 50 sec


Other FLO Wheels

FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 56 min 48 sec
Time Saved = 288 sec = 4 min 48 sec

FLO 60/90 (2074 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 56 min 11 sec
Time Saved = 325 sec = 5 min 25 sec



Ironman Lake Placid
Ironman Lake Placid Bike Course Elevation
Baseline Time
Training Wheel (Heavy Version 2259 grams) : Time on Course : 6 hr 00 min 11 sec

Time Saved by Improving Only Weight
Training Wheel (Light Version 1100 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 58 min 39 sec
Time Saved = 92 sec = 1 min 32 sec


Time Saved by Improving Only Aerodynamics

FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 51 min 45 sec
Time Saved = 506 sec = 8 min 26 sec

Other FLO Wheels

FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 53 min 35 sec
Time Saved = 396 sec = 6 min 36 sec

FLO 60/90 (2074 grams) : Time on Course : 5 hr 52 min 26 sec

Time Saved = 465sec = 7 min 45 sec



The Extreme Courses
For the extreme courses we ran fewer trial runs.  We ran the 1100 gram Light Training Wheel set and the FLO 90/DISC.  Our goal was to see if weight could beat  aerodynamics.

EDIT: I had a few readers asking for additional FLO 30 data.  I have added the FLO 30 data to the Alpe d'Huez climb.  They actually win!


SavageMan

This is one of the hilliest Half Ironman courses in the world.  If you were to turn this course into an full Ironman, you would net 13,434 feet of climbing.  That is nearly 3 times hillier than Ironman Lake Placid!  What wheels do you think won?

SavageMan 70 Bike Course Elevation

The "Un-Aero" Wheels
Light Training Wheels (1100 grams) : 3 hr 20 min 43 sec

The Aero Wheels
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : 3 hr 19 min 39 sec


That's right.  Aero wins again.  Even with an additional 1159 grams (2.55 lbs) of wheels on one of the hilliest courses in the world, aerodynamics will save you 64 seconds.



Alpe d'Huez

So there has to be a breaking point right?  Weight has to win somewhere.  It turns out it does, but you need one of the most extreme climbs in the world to make it happen.  The Alpe d'Huez is one of the toughest climbs in pro cycling.  To give you an idea of just how big the climb is, I superimposed the climb over top of the full Ironman Coeur d'Alene course.  Remember, this climb takes place in only 8.2 miles and it absolutely dwarfs the IMCDA climbs.  Can you imagine climbing this!

The Alpe d'Huez Superimposed on top of IMCDA


The "Un-Aero" Wheels
Light Training Wheels (1100 grams) : 1:09:46

The Aero Wheels
FLO 90/DISC (2259 grams) : 1:10:09

EDITED: The FLO 30s were added after a reader asked to see it.  They actually win by 2 seconds!

FLO 30/30 (1624 grams) : 1:09:44


Even on arguably the toughest climb in the world, aerodynamics only lose 23 seconds to weight.

For the triathletes out there, I think this blog article pretty confidently tells you that, when selecting wheels,  you should focus on aerodynamics first.  I guess in less of course you are racing up the Alpe d'Huez to T2.  Road cyclists, racing TTs, crits and stage races - apart from mountain stages - are also going to save more time 99.9% of the time by choosing aerodynamics over weight.  I don't mean to say that weight has no importance at all, because it does.  I'm just simply stating that aerodynamics helps you save significantly more time then weight.

I hope this blog article has given you enough knowledge to make better decisions come race day.  Partnering with Ryan to create these course simulations was really a lot of fun.  I'd love to hear your questions and comments below.

Take care,

Chris