FFWD has today launched the RYOT55 wheelset, which is claimed to be “the fastest road wheel out there”.
Sitting alongside the previously announced RYOT44 wheelset, the new RYOT55 is built around a new 55mm deep and 31mm wide carbon rim, based on FFWD’s LAW (Laminar Airflow Wing) Tech.
FFWD claims the wheelset is an average of 5 watts more aerodynamically efficient than its own F6D wheelset (which is 60mm deep with a 27mm wide rim and 19mm internal width), and between 1.5 and 2.7 watts more aerodynamically efficient than key competitors like the Zipp 404 Firecrest Tubeless and Roval CL50.
With an internal width of 21mm, a 25mm tyre – which is said to be the optimum tyre size for this wheelset in terms of aerodynamics – should increase in size to an effective width of over 28mm when inflated, according to FFWD.
Real world conditions and a pinch of salt
The LAW tech rim profile is said to have been developed in response to the desire to optimise wheel aerodynamics around wider tyres, which are currently on-trend, and “real world wind conditions”.
This means the RYOT55 wheels are optimised for 0 to 10 degrees of yaw, which, according to FFWD, is what cyclists experience the majority of the time while riding.
The reason behind much of this is, according to aero-experts like Josh Poertner of Silca (previously technical director at Zipp), the rim needs to be at least 105 per cent of the width of the tyre in order to effectively recapture and control the airflow off the tyre.
All of this bodes well for FFWD’s latest wheels, though it’s worth noting the wheels have only been tested against wheels from Fulcrum, Roval and Zipp. The competitor models tested by FFWD have, in some cases, also been superseded by newer models from those brands as well.
The quoted wattage savings were also recorded at a wind speed of 48.6kph. Though testing at such high speeds is somewhat standard practice within the industry, the absolute wattage savings at slower speeds are likely to be lower due to the non-linear relationship between speed and aerodynamic drag.
As usual, then, we’ll take the claim that these are the “fastest” road wheels on the market with a pinch of salt, but applaud FFWD for releasing details of its design process, testing and results.
Built to last
FFWD notes the RYOT55 wheelset is, at a claimed 1,620g, not the lightest aero wheelset on the market.
However, it says that speccing more robust parts such as brass nipples front and rear, as well as slightly heavier DT Swiss Aerocomp spokes on the rear wheel, should improve the wheelset’s longevity.
Likewise, the DT Swiss 240 EXP hubs might not be the lightest road hubs on the market, but they offer relatively easy maintenance and are generally regarded as a reliable, high-performing option.
As we’ve commented before, bicycle weight just doesn’t really matter that much when it comes to performance, so (outside of hill climb season) we’ll happily trade 150g or so of weight for a wheelset that’s robust enough to withstand daily abuse.
FFWD RYOT33 wheelset
FFWD is also introducing a lighter, shallower version of the wheelset. Dubbed the RYOT33, it features 33mm deep, 31mm wide rims front and rear.
It shares the same 21mm internal rim width as the deeper RYOT55 wheelset, as well as the same hubs and construction. Total claimed weight is 1,465g.
FFWD says this wheelset is more suitable for those who prefer the handling characteristics of a shallower wheel, or want something lighter for climbing.
No specific aero claims are made for the RYOT33 wheelset, but FFWD says that the rim nevertheless uses the LAW tech rim profile. As with the deeper RYOT55 and RYOT44 wheelsets, this is designed to maintain a smooth tyre and rim interface and maximise aerodynamic efficiency.
FFWD RYOT wheels pricing and availability
Both the RYOT55 and RYOT33 wheelsets will be available from mid-November, and will cost £1,624.95 / €1,799 / $1,799 and £1,449.95 / €1,599 / $1,399 respectively.