So far the refreshed road bike has ridden really well, but I've really been looking forward to getting new aerodynamic wheels. If this is the first you're hearing of this road bike refresh project, make sure to check out:
Here's a reminder of how the bike looked at the completion of part 3, and how it's looked while being ridden the last few weeks.
From the beginning, I'd planned on fitting a set of Flo Cycling's 60mm aero wheels to the bike. I've been riding their 90mm front and Disc rear wheels on my triathlon bike for about 6 months, and I love them. They are fast, look good, offer great braking in all conditions (thanks to an aluminum brake track), cost less than half of comparably performing wheels, and come from a company with outstanding customer service. I had multiple questions about my first set and had answers from the owners/founders of the company within 24 hours. Usually less. So I'm happy to try and get another set for my road bike.
The tricky thing about getting Flo wheels is I'm not the only one with such high opinions of them. The triathlon community (and increasingly, the road cycling community) has been clamoring for these wheels since they debuted 3 years ago. For a number of reasons (with which I agree; many do not and are quite outspoken about it), Flo have decided to keep their production order sizes to around 700 wheels every 45-60 days; as a result, the wheels sell out within 5 minutes of online ordering being enabled. This means you need to plan ahead, get on the ordering mail list, and be ready at 10am Pacific Time when the order is opened. Both times I've attempted an order, I've been able to get what I wanted, but my online order has been completed within 1 minute of the order window opening.
I ordered my Flo 60's during Order 18 at the beginning of February. There were some shipping delays because of the extra-snowy conditions, but they finally arrived.
I paired them with Continental GP4000 SII 23mm tires (recommended by Flo as the most aerodynamic tire pairing, wind-tunnel tested) and off-the-shelf Bontrager butyl tubes from my local bike shop (thanks, Bike Barn, for stocking 80mm valve length tubes!). I ordered an extra 11-28T 11-spd Ultegra 6800 rear cassette so I can keep the old DT Swiss Axis 2.0 wheels ready for trainer/emergency use.
After having a terribly difficult time mounting the GP4000 SII tires on my other wheels, I thought to try warming these ones before attempting to mount. I just set them in front of the space heater I had running to warm my garage. Pro tip: make sure to properly vent the space in which you're heating rubber; I can't imagine the fumes are good for you.
The rims have pretty sharp edges around the spoke mounting holes, which don't mix well with inflated tubes; hence, rim tape.
Rim tape isn't actually tape at all; it's a barely stretchable circle of rubbery material designed to protect the inflated tube from sharp edges. Installation entails stretching it around the circumference of the rim, seated so that it covers all the spoke holes.
It's not complicated to install, just make sure you have the hole in the rim tape aligned with the hole in the rim through which the inflation valve stem on the tube is placed. Like so:
Once you have the rim tape in place, make sure you don't have any twists or folds in it, like below. These will cause problems.
Because there is a non-removable carbon fairing as part of the rim, a standard 42mm valve-length tube won't work on its own. The valve won't reach past the fairing, and it will be impossible to inflate the tire. One way to get around this is to use valve extensions, like the ones recommended by Flo from Silca. I won't go into detail about valve extenders/extensions, but if you're interested, this 5 minute video (from Flo Cycling) does a nice job explaining the different types and how they're used:
While these extenders are unavoidable with a 90mm deep wheel, they can be avoided on a 60mm deep wheel by using the 80mm valve-length tubes I mentioned before. It's a simpler, less error-prone way to go, so that's what I chose to do with my wheel set. You can see that the 80mm length works nicely with the 60mm wheels; there's plenty of valve exposed to easily inflate the tires.
The moderate heating I applied to the Continental tire made it noticeably easier to get it over the rim. First is to get one bead of the tire on the rim...
...then put a little bit of air in the tube,...
...insert the valve through the hole in the rim, work the tube underneath the tire onto the rim, then get the second bead of the tire onto the rim. I was so preoccupied with wrestling the tire onto the rim, I forgot to take a photo. It's not too bad getting the first 80% on, but I used a tire lever to get the last little bit over the rim. There are numerous videos available to show different techniques of getting a tire onto a rim, so I won't belabor the point.
The last thing to do before inflating, and this is important, is to work your way around the rim, checking that the tube is fully inside the housing of the tire. If the tube is pinched or sticking at all underneath the tire edge/bead, it will go flat as soon as you inflate it. This is called a pinch flat and it is horribly demoralizing, so make sure the tube is fully seated inside the tire.
One of the reasons the Flo wheels are so aerodynamically sound is the wide rim. It allows for the proper tire to sit very nicely on the rim, providing a nice smooth transition for passing air, as seen below on the fully installed and inflated tire.
Almost ready for the swap!
For the rear, I needed to install a new cassette.
This is a close-up of the Flo rear hub. They use their own design. I got the EZO Stainless Steel bearing version, instead of the ceramic. I didn't want to pay the extra $100 (per wheel) for, from what I'm able to ascertain, miniscule gains and higher maintenance requirements. This is the Shimano/SRAM compatible cassette mount. The picture shows the silver spacer needed to mount a 10-speed cassette. I use 11-speed, so I removed that before installing my cassette.
Try not to drop the cassette when removing from the package. You'll end up with spacers and gears everywhere. Like this:
The largest 3 gears are one piece.
Paying careful attention, stack the spacers and gears properly, then tighten and torque the cassette using a Park Tool Cassette Lockring adapter (the black hex shaped item below).
The rear tire mounting process was identical to the front, so I won't repeat it.
|Complete Front Wheel||1,266||Flo 60 wheel, rim tape, tube, tire, skewer|
|Complete Rear Wheel||1,660||Flo 60 wheel, rim tape, tube, tire, skewer, cassette|
|Front Wheel||866||Flo 60 front, wheel only|
|Rear Wheel||1,053||Flo 60 rear, wheel only, with 11-spd hub|
|Rim Tape||20||weight for (1) piece of tape, Flo Cycling|
|Tubes||109||weight for (1) tube, Bontrager Butyl, 80mm valve stem length|
|Skewer||52||weight for (1) skewer, from Flo Cycling|
|Tire||211||weight for (1) tire, Continental GP4000 SII, 700 x 23|
|Rear Cassette||256||Shimano Ultegra CS-6800, 11-spd, 11-28T|
|Old Complete Front Wheel||1,265||DT Swiss Axis 2.0 Wheel, Specialized Turbo 23mm tire|
|Old Complete Rear Wheel||1,839||DT Swiss Axis 2.0 Wheel, Specialized Turbo 23mm tire, Shimano 105 11-spd cassette|
So the new front wheel is actually 1g heavier, but will have the massive aero benefits of the wide, 60mm design. The new rear wheel gives me the aero benefit, plus a 179g weight savings- sweet!
Here's everything all mounted up! I love the look and hope to enjoy increased performance!