FLO Cycling – How to Pick Wheels for a Time Trialist


With so many options available, it’s no wonder questions about wheel selection are common at FLO.  Picking the right wheels depends on a number of factors and one of the biggest factors is what you intend to use the wheels for.  Today, we will focus on how to pick wheels for a time trial event.    
I find breaking the selection process down, to look at each wheel separately, makes things easier.  Let’s start with the front wheel and then make our way to the rear wheel.
 
Picking your Front Wheel as a Time Trialist
When picking a front wheel for most cycling disciplines, many athletes are focussed on find the fastest option.  When competing in a time trial, finding the fastest front wheel is very important.

The best way to increase your overall speed is to reduce your CdA, thereby increasing your aerodynamic efficiency.  If you are interested in learning more about CdA, the intro of this article discusses it.  

In sports like triathlon, we want the rider to be able to stay in the aero position as long as possible to make them faster.  Owing to the fact that the front wheel has a steering axis, high winds, and in particular cross winds, can make handling the bike a challenge with a deep front wheel. In a lot of cases, we recommend a front FLO 60 for triathletes because it’s easier to handle than the front FLO 90 in windy conditions. The easier to handle front FLO 60  allows the athlete to stay in the aero position more easily, making them faster overall.

Time trial wheel selection is a bit different.  The nature of the race is to get yourself as aero as possible and it assumes you can handle the bike at high speed with ease.  That’s not to say you can but that is the ultimate goal.  Since our front FLO 90 is the fastest front wheel we make, during a time trial, we often recommend the front FLO 90.  That being said you should only pick the deepest front wheel that you can handle.  If a front FLO 90 is too much for you, be smart, play it safe, and size down to the front FLO 60 or front FLO 30.  As you improve your bike handling skills and your confidence goes up, you can add a deeper wheel to the front.  

 

Picking your Rear Wheel as a Time Trialist
The fastest wheel from A to B is the FLO DISC.  If you are a time trialist, the FLO DISC is the wheel for you.  The rear wheel on a bike does not having a steering axis like the front wheel does.  Since the wheel is fixed in the frame, we are not worried about cross winds like we are with the front wheel.  Having a deeper rear wheel in relation to your front wheel, moves your center of pressure towards the rear end of your bike.  This shift in the center of pressure increases your stability in windy conditions and is the reason you’ll almost never see a rider using a deeper front wheel than rear wheel.

The next best rear wheel option for a time trialist is the rear FLO 90.  If you are looking for a more versatile wheel that can be used for more than just time trialing, the rear FLO 90 is a great option.  Wheelbuilder.com makes a wheel cover, that converts your FLO 90 into disc wheel.  This means that for your TT race, you can add the cover, and when you are not racing, you can remove it and use the rear FLO 90.  

 

 
If you have any questions about wheel selection please feel free to contact us in the link at the top of the page.  
 
Take care,
 
Jon