ENVE announces the Smart system
Deep section aero wheels have a major problem, they are difficult to handle in cross winds. Most cyclists and triathletes deal with this problem by either not using their wheels on a windy day or try and tough it out and hope the wind doesn’t cause them to swerve too much or even cause a crash.
Enve addresses this problem with their new wheels
Carbon fiber wheel and component makers ENVE Composites has been busy over the last year. The company is well known for its amazing light carbon fiber wheels and components, especially in the cyclocross and road racing circuit. Their wheels have always been top quality and are backed by sound composites engineering. There is one problem. The aerodyamics of their wheels just didn’t stack up to the other big aero wheel companies like Zipp, Hed, and Bontranger. At least until now.
They partnered with Formula 1 aerodynamic engineering firm
Enve partnered with Simon Smart, an ex Formula One aerodynamicist that has worked on many high profile TT bike designs. Engineers at Enve worked closely together over the last year developing new aero- wheel test protocols and creating over 100 prototype wheels. The result is a wheel system rather than 2 individual wheels.
Wind tunnel testing
Wind tunnel testing is a bit like riding on an indoor trainer. It’s not exactly real world conditions but it does give you a pretty good idea of how you will perform outside on the road. The wheels perform similarly to all the others in most conditions but they really shine in cross winds. Not only do they create less drag in cross winds, they also are more stable. The designers put a lot of thought into the stiffness and stability of the wheels, something that is lacking in many high end aero wheels currently on the market.
Enve still has a long road
They are still a small company and are in an already saturated market. Zipp and Hed have most of the aero wheel market. Just go to an Ironman triathlon and look at the bikes in the racks. There are very few Enve wheels in the sea of Zipp’s and HED’s. If I was one of those companies I would step up and take notice because these guys are serious and have really done their homework on this project. If they stick to the road they have been on so far we are going to see many more great high performance cycling products on the market.
What do you think of the concept of these wheels? Have you ever had cross winds scare you? Leave a comment.