In the never ending effort to make us all faster on the road, we’ve seen a wide variety of rim shapes and features. Everything from rubber fairings between rim and tire and trip lines to various bulging rounded shapes and finned inner edges or wave forms. Now, FFWD is adding another pattern to the mix, and it’s called DARC.

The new DARC rim profile, which stands for Double Arc, when combined with a tire mounted to it, creates a slight hourglass shape. They say 70% of your ride is usually between 0º and 10º yaw (angle of crosswind). This wave rim profile helps attach the air and then send it straight back, limiting how much it drops into the spoke area and adding drag.

2019 FFWD F-series DARC aero carbon fiber road bike wheels with indented profile to minimize drag

They’ll be offered in rim and disc brake versions. The rim brake models will use a radially laced front with a 2:1 spoke ratio on the rear (24 spokes, 16/8 2x cross drive side, 8 radial on the non-drive side). For disc wheels, they’ll use the same 2:1 ratio front and rear, but with the 8-spoke side getting 2x crossed spokes, too.

2019 FFWD F-series DARC aero carbon fiber road bike wheels with indented profile to minimize drag

All are using DT Swiss hubs, and you’ll have a choice of 240s or 350s, rim or disc brake, on all models. Rim brake versions add carbon nanotubes to increase the strength of the braking surface. They’re tubeless ready, and will come in 30, 40, 60 and 80mm depths, with weights ranging from 1390g to 1,845g. All depths measure 19mm internally, and disc brake models add about 30g compared to their rim brake counterparts thanks to the bigger hub bodies required.

2019 FFWD F-series DARC aero carbon fiber road bike wheels with indented profile to minimize drag

The new wheels bring about several cosmetic changes, too. The UD carbon is more modern looking and will better match current road bikes, with new and more muted graphics that use UV-stable decals so they won’t fade or discolor over time.

2019 FFWD F-series DARC aero carbon fiber road bike wheels with indented profile to minimize drag

Joining them is the FFWD Falcon Project, a two-spoke, full carbon fiber wheel aimed at the TT and triathlon rider looking to have the absolute best aerodynamics without the tradeoffs associated with full discs. Check out that wheel’s full tech story here. Prices for the DARC wheels range from €1,498 to €2,098, available later this year.

FFWDwheels.com

5 COMMENTS

  1. At the rim depth shown, very little of the actual vehicle drag is contributed by the spokes, being instead concentrated within just a few cm of the top of the wheel. So this rim profile is essentially pointless. Sorry. If lower vehicle drag is actually a concern, then the uppermost part of the wheel — alone — must be minimally shielded, as taught by new US 9,878,745, and several other related patents.

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