DEVELOPING THE MOST AERODYNAMIC DISC WHEELSET IN THE WORLD
We've been up to something...
At Hunt Bike Wheels, we've always believed in the importance of aerodynamic optimisation, and the tangible benefits this provides to real-world riders. We've also always been obsessed with pushing the boundaries of existing standards and norms. This is evidenced by our specifications and component choices, and was compounded further when we invested in our new senior wheel engineer, Luisa Grappone.
With an MSc in Aerospace Engineering, Luisa has a wealth of experience in the bicycle industry and composite design. Her previous experience includes wind-tunnel testing with World Tour teams such as BMC, Movistar, and the Garmin Cervelo Test Team, as part of her roles at Campagnolo & 3T. With many years spent analysing aerodynamic data, carbon layup techniques, and lots of wind-tunnel testing, Luisa has quietly become a world leading expert in wheel aerodynamics.
It is widely known that disc-brake aerodynamic testing hasn't received anywhere near the same amount of attention that rim-brake wheels have, owing to their only-recent rise in popularity and acceptance in racing. Many leading disc-brake wheelsets still possess the same profiles as their rim-brake counterparts. This presents a great opportunity to develop world-leading disc-brake wheels, by unleashing the restraints on rim profiling usually imposed by rim brakes.
We've been talking a lot about the subject, specifically the methods used to perform wind-tunnel testing and the consequent results yielded. There are many interesting points of discussion, with one of the key points surrounding tyre choice and its importance. The tyre is of great significance in shaping airflow around the wheels, and the fact that changing tyres can actually completely reshuffle the order of the most aerodynamic wheels available today. Discussing this with Luisa, she said:
"The tyre pattern, the width and shape in fact have great impact on aerodynamic drag and even using 2 different tyres of the same brand model can change the wind tunnel test results when differences in rim shape are small. This is why, during the design phase, our focus was not just on the rim shape but also on the global system of the tyre plus rim. We designed our prototype considering a particular tyre model and our aim was to obtain the best aero rim shape around that particular tyre, but we will soon test a wide range of tyre models from different manufacturers and compare the wind tunnel tests results with our selected reference tyre."
With this in mind, we've looked to the industry-leading Schwalbe Pro One Tubeless-Ready tyre as the ultimate option for riders wanting to go fast & tubeless. We are drawing on the expertise and assistance of their engineers, and designing a wheelset optimised for this tyre in 28c width, to offer the ultimate aerodynamic package for the modern rider. And so, we'll be in Southern Germany at GST Gesellschaft für Strömungsmeßtechnik mbH (more commonly known as the Airbus Wind Tunnel as used by Canyon) from the start of next week, commencing the first round of wind tunnel testing for this project. We will be testing using Canyon's top-end aerodynamic frames, as the frames represent some of the benchmarks in aerodynamic disc-brake performance. We plan to spend many months perfecting the development of the wheelset based on wind-tunnel data, and further aim to release the wheels in Autumn/Winter 2018.
So here's the thing... We want to do something unheard of in the industry, and lift the veil on the testing itself - taking you along for the journey with us. We want to take you behind the scenes and offer all of you the chance to see real, live, wind-tunnel testing as it happens! As well as this, hopefully we can answer some questions you may have on what we're doing there and what we aim to achieve.
We'll be broadcasting live on our social media platforms at the following times on Tuesday 9th January: