We announced the development of our gravel wheels last week.  As we have done with the development of previous products, we asked for your suggestions.  We know that your suggestions will ultimately make a better product and we appreciate all of the feedback we have received so far.  We wanted to take a minute and highlight some of the specifications we’ll be designing around.  We’ve also worked with the kind folks over at 3T America and have a 3T Exploro frame on route.  We will be using the 3T Exploro during the design process.  The fact that it’s an aero gravel bike that accepts 650b and 700c wheels makes it perfect for the project.  

3T Exploro Frame


Wheel Size
We originally thought that we would focus on a 700c size wheel only.  However, there have been many requests for a 650b sized wheel so we have decided to add that to the list.  To be clear, we will design each wheel independently to optimize the design for each wheel size.  

Wheel Shape
Our goal is to design a wheel that is optimized for both aerodynamics and rolling resistance.  We have been studying rolling resistance lately and will be discussing our research in depth throughout the design process.  

We will be collecting wind data and modifying our optimization algorithm to design the wheel.  The algorithm will include a depth range for the rim.  During the optimization process, the depth of the rim will be selected.   

Rim Material
We will be building the rim for the wheels out of carbon fiber.  In our opinion, it is the material of choice for this project.  A faired wheel leaves openings in the fairing and will not work for gravel riding.  For this reason, the wheel will be a carbon clincher.

Hubs
We have had many suggestions to offer convertible hubs and we think it is a great idea.  We will work on providing hubs that are compatible with both quick release and thru-axle skewers.  We will also work on having options for standard cassettes and XD cassettes.

Brakes
The wheel will use disc brakes.  We are looking at center lock and 6 bolt options.  

Build Options
While the exact build specifications are unknown at this point (ie. number of spokes), we will likely offer a few options for both front and rear wheels.  We are also considering selling rims individually.  

While this certainly isn’t an exhaustive list, it does serve as a bit of an outline.  We recognize that we won’t be able to build everyone’s perfect wheel, but we are very happy with the suggestions we have received so far, and feel that the end result will already be much better.

Thank you again for your suggestions, and we welcome more of them below.

Have a great day,

Chris 

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14 Comments

  1. How about optimizing the 650B wheels for 45-50mm tires and the 700c wheels for 35-40mm tires? Tubeless, of course. That seems to be the sweet spot for each size.
    Personally, I'd actually like a 700c disc brake wheelset optimized for aerodynamics and rolling resistance when using 28-32mm tubeless tires, but that's just me.

  2. You will obviously learn something about working with Discs on this project.

    If you had to guess, how long do you think it will be before you offer your street wheels set up for disc brakes?

    There could be both aero and weight benefits of the rim itself that might offset gains required in the way the spokes are laced up.

    Don

  3. Jon/Chris, I am looking at buying a new set of wheels for my Felt F3X cross bike. I run Mavic Allroad Pro wheels for all around use, but want a lighter set of wheels for exclusive road use.
    The Mavics I will use for cross races, the (Flo) would be used for road training and maybe gravel riding. I also will use them for riding the dirt roads along the Las Vegas wash here near Lake Las Vegas.
    If you need anyone to help test, I am all in. I will pay for the wheels, not looking for freebies. Just like what you guys do and want to support you.

  4. I agree with optimising at different widths for 650b and 700c. However, it seems to me that Flo's branding is currently focused around value for money aerodynamics, and the choice of an Exploro to use as a test mule suggests Flo is continuing to think along these lines.

    With that background in mind (as an the owner of a tribike with Flo wheels and an Open UP with two wheelsets) I would suggest the following:

    A. 650b wheels optimised for a tire like the WTB Horizon or WTB Byway

    B. 700c wheels optimised for a tire around the 35mm Schwalbe G One or (alternatively the 40mm WTB Nano).

    These are gravel wheels and should be designed for gravel tires. Flo already (OK, in October) has a set of disc-optimized wheels coming for road use with our Conti 25mm and others like it – we can even use them for the narrower G-One tires.

  5. I bought a set of Flo-45 28 hole hoops and had my LBS lace them to Onyx Racing Hubs ISO Disc.

    Running WTB Nano 40 tires tubeless, they are great!

    Let me know how and I will happily send a picture!

  6. Chris, I think you'll find dramatic differences in the aerodynamic performance of a 40mm Nano vs. a 38 or even 35mm G-One. The Nano is the GP4000 of CX/gravel tires.

    -SD

  7. Ok, here's a question on the tougher side. Any chance you'll offer an option for those who have the first generation Diverge? These bikes were 135mm x 12mm thru axle at the rear. Hubs were SCS and the bikes came stock with SCS derailleur hangers

    It's actually pretty difficult to find aftermarket wheels for these bikes.

  8. Richard Albertson,

    At the current time, we do not know all hub specs that we will offer, but we will definitely look into this option. Thanks for letting us know about it.

    Take care,

    Chris

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