FLO Cycling unveils all-new Carbon Clinchers
article & images by Nick Salazar
Mar 1, 2016
FLO Cycling is a name that's relatively new to the industry, but has made some very big waves in its five years on the market. The first batch of FLO wheels, released in 2011, offered top-shelf aerodynamics at entry-level prices. The chief drawback was a higher weight, and a relatively unknown brand. Well, today FLO is introducing an entirely new lineup of wheels. They're keeping their pricing structure very low, while introducing some new amazing wheels in both carbon clincher and their former alloy clincher formats. Moreover, the new wheels have been designed with what can only be described as an absolutely cutting-edge design process that involved iterative algorithmic shape generation and testing. That is, a computer was given certain design parameters, and automatically generated and cycled through hundreds of different shapes, testing each one in CFD to arrive on the fastest shape consistent with FLO's real-world yaw statistic. We'll get to that in a bit, but suffice it to say I have every faith that these will be some of the fastest hoops on the market, bar none.
In the past five years, FLO has done everything right in establishing itself as a reliable brand. Any objections to their track record should be gone. And with the new carbon clinchers, the weight penalty is gone. What's left is a set of amazingly-fast, brilliantly-designed wheels at an unbeatable price. The bottom line is that I'm amazed by what FLO has been able to accomplish here, and these wheels get my strongest possible recommendation. To be clear, I have no financial interest in FLO Cycling, nor any other incentive to write a favorable review. It's just that Jon and Chris Thornham have done fantastic work over the years, and with the new hoops they've really hit it out of the park. Let's take a closer look.
The Dream Team
I was fortunate to review a whole collection of the new wheels, including a FLO 45 front, 60 front, 60 rear, 90 rear, and Disc. This dream team of five wheels clocks in at the price of one pair of wheels from a competitor, and covers virtually every imaginable training and racing situation.
The FLO Disc is based off of the design of the FLO 90, with the remainder of the wheel (the spoke fairing) optimized independently. This results in some strange-looking shapes, but an undeniably fast wheel.
FLO makes their own hubs, compatible with 10 and 11-speed cassettes. These are user serviceable, even on the disc, and are all laced with Sapim CX-ray spokes (except the discs, which get Sapim Laser spokes).
Design + Development
An exemplary and innovative design process led FLO on an incredible journey resulting in the wheels you see in this review. All images in this section courtesy FLO Cycling.