FLO Gravel Wheel Design Journey Part 8 - Selecting A Computer and Our First On-Road Tests

In 2015, we built a computer that mounted on the front of a bicycle. We developed an algorithm to design wheels using CFD from the computer measurements. With modifications to our computer, we could have something to collect data to calculate rolling resistance.


A New Computer, Working with Red Is Faster

While researching how to make modifications to our computer, we found Red is Faster, a company in the UK that was working on a more sophisticated version of what we had built. After a few phone meetings, we ended up getting a prototype unit for testing.


Making It Work - Measuring Rolling Resistance

With this prototype, we had the three pieces needed to measure rolling resistance.

  1. The Chung Method
  2. Elevation Data
  3. New Computer

We conducted our first test to determine if we could detect a noticeable difference between rolling resistance using two different psi readings, 80 psi and 120 psi.


Collecting the data was easy. However, the amount of time post processing took was unexpected. We spent about eight hours processing for four files which was not ideal for future testing.

We did clean and process the data and were able to see a small but noticeable difference in rolling resistance between the two pressures. Success!

Measuring Rolling Resistance on Different Rim Widths

Testing different rim widths and their effect on rolling resistance was next. We started testing with two different rim widths.

Again, the processing time and a couple data collection issues made this process extremely challenging. We determined that another system was needed for future testing. But with help from our friend and mathematician, Ryan Cooper, we were able to conclude that a wider rim was slightly faster than a narrower rim.


Red Is Faster

Our decision to move to another system for future testing has nothing to do with lack of quality for the product Red Is Faster. I think Red is Faster is a great product but it did not fit our overall need for what we were testing. We understand that asking the developer to custom make a product for us did not make sense and we opted for another option that was better suited for the mass data we needed to collect and process. All the best to Red Is Faster.

Next week in Part 9 of our FLO Gravel Wheel Design Journey, learn about how I ended up on a plane to Calgary to find the technology we are currently using.

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