Monday, September 21, 2009

Aero Wheels

Recently, some good reading on the subject of aerodynamic wheels came up. I didn't really understand aerodynamic wheels until I read this post and this post by sprinterdellacasa a while back.

A few months ago, NYVelocity posted an equipment review of rental deep carbon wheels from Revolution Wheels. Using Zipps as a familiar point of reference, NYVelocity concluded, "These wheels are maybe 95% as good as Zipps, for 42% of the price. Unless you're lighting cigars with twenty dollar bills these babies are hard to beat."

A few months later, Zipp's lead engineer gave a very open interview to NYVelocity in response. It offers some interesting insight into Zipp's R&D as well as the industry's copycat process. Plus you get to learn some juicy details about ceramic bearings.

Now, another response comes from Steve Hed, who apparently wants to clarify some of the Zipp-v-Hed issues brought up in the interview with Zipp's engineer. Hed picks apart some of the claims and illustrates a chicken-or-the-egg rivalry going on between the two companies: The fact is that since Zipp acquired our patent (sometime in the late 90s) their wheels have changed shape to more closely mirror the wheels we started selling 18 years ago. We have continually improved them since then, but the underlying aero shapes are still similar. As Zipp's wheel shapes have changed to more closely resemble ours, it only follows that their wind tunnel data is more like ours too.

It's a good read for the nerds who enjoy not only technical data but industry sparring as well.


  1. I like Steve Hed's comments. He always comes across as sounding competent, astute, fluent. Good things.

  2. Personally, I race a pair of old Cosmic Carbones which I love. Best rolling wheel, I've ever had. Won't give them up until they fall apart, especially given the cost of a new pair. On that note, anyone have any experience with these guys: