FLO Cycling G700 Wheel Set: At The Finish – by Guitar Ted
The FLO Cycling G700 wheel set has been ridden for a few months now which means it is time to wrap this review up. Previously I have posted the introduction and the “Checkpoint” update to this review. If you missed those, please check those links out for all the information you may have missed. Now in this post I will reveal the findings of my A/B testing of this wheel set with two others.
Ride Performance: The FLO Cycling G700 wheels have unique characteristics compared to many wheel sets you may be familiar with. In my first A/B test, I chose to pair the G700 with a mostly ‘standard’ wheel. I wanted to look at a wheel set that had very basic features common to most wheel sets found on many gravel bikes in the market place. So, an aluminum rim, steel “J” bend spokes, and typical hubs would fit that bill. I ended up using the Shimano GRX wheel set which MG and I reviewed, along with the rest of the GRX group set, here. The only thing the GRX wheel set had that wasn’t ticking the correct box was its straight pull spokes, but otherwise, that wheel is pretty representative of a basic, box-stock gravel wheel set.
The FLO Cycling G700 wheels compared favorably in the aero category, obviously, but I found a rather surprising thing in doing this particular test. That was that the GRX wheels had a massive amount of vibration. Not just in the vertical plane, which transmits to your hands and saddle, but in a lateral, oscillatory type of vibration. Watching the leading edge of my front wheel, I could easily see that the GRX wheel was ‘wobbling’ in a sort of side to side way. The FLO Cycling G700 wheels did not exhibit much, if any of this sort of unwanted motion. The result? The bike felt more stable, easier to handle on rough, looser gravel, and in the end caused me to expend less energy correcting for lateral inputs, like the bike had with the Shimano wheel set. This result was of great impact. The FLO Cycling G700 could make riding easier not just from an aero standpoint, but from its damping of vibrations and from its inherent stability on loose gravel.
So, what about pairing up this FLO Cycling G700 with a more robust design? Okay, fair enough. Picking on something more ‘its own size‘, so to speak, I paired the G700’s with the new Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheel set, also on test, which has a claimed vibration benefit. Let’s see about that, shall we?
But first, in the coast down test where I measured roll out, the GRX wheels were hanging in there, but not as well as the G700’s. Tires make a big difference here, but since I didn’t have any opportunity to have all tires be similar, I just mention this as an aside. The tires were the Teravail Rutlands on the G700 vs the Hutchinson Touaregs on the GRX wheels. Interestingly, in my next A/B wheel test, the same Touaregs were devastated by the G700s in this test, the only difference being the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels used. It would appear then, on the surface of it, that the G700 does, in fact, have an aerodynamic and a rolling resistance benefit.
Now what about the Atomik/Berd Ultimate’s claims about vibration reduction versus the FLO Cycling G700? Well, it seems to my hands and rear end that the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels are ‘turning down’ the intensity of vibrations by a very noticeable amount, but they do not tune them out. The Atomik/Berd’s shock absorbing ride qualities are also very noticeable, and in my opinion, on par with the FLO Cycling G700’s. However; since the FLO Cycling G700’s do more ‘tuning out‘ of vibrations, they take the win here in terms of ride feel.
Both sets of wheel were excellent in terms of lateral stability, so either are worlds better than your box-stock wheels on a gravel bike in terms of handling. However; the Atomik/Berd wheels were actually more of a handful in crosswinds than the G700’s were, which surprised me. Keep in mind- same bike, same short course, and the wheels were ridden in the same portions of the roadway in the same body positions in each sector. I tried to eliminate as many variables as possible. I realize this wasn’t a completely ‘controlled test’, but it was the best I could do with what resources we have at Riding Gravel. Take the results with that advisory.
Some readers questioned how a wider tire, like the Teravail Rutland 700 X 42’s could be aero since FLO Cycling worked with a 37mm tire to optimize the aero dynamics of the wheel profile. So, when the WTB SG2 Byways came in, I mounted those on the G700’s. These tires are measuring out at 39mm now, so that’s closer to the ‘optimum’ FLO Cycling worked with. Also, the Byways have less tread blocks, (basically no tread blocks), like the Rutlands have.
My experience with the hundreds of miles on the Byway/G700 combination would influence me to say that if there is a better aero benefit, it is so subtle as to be nearly undetectable. The tire has less rolling resistance than the Rutland, a smaller casing, and those two things combined made a very noticeable difference. In my opinion, any aero benefits, which are definitely there with the G700’s, is better than having none of those benefits. Also, by the very nature of having the deep rim profile, and with FLO Cycling’s use of that to enhance rider comfort, the aero thing is icing on the cake.
At The Finish: So, at the end of the test period, I was feeling rather reluctant to let FLO Cycling know I was finished. That should tell you something. I think one other thing I noted every time I bolted the G700 wheels to the bike was that these wheels showed the true nature of the bike’s ride feel. The extraneous ‘noise’ from other wheel’s inputs were gone, and handling quirks from other wheels were now missing, so that only the things the frame and fork were doing were left behind. This made me appreciate the Noble GX5 bike even more, actually. To further that opinion, even the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels, with their notable vibration reducing qualities do a similar thing.
So, let the ‘aero-wars’ rage on the forums, I don’t care a lick about the minutiae involved in those discussions. The FLO Cycling G700’s are worth every penny from a rider comfort standpoint and a bike handling standpoint alone. These wheels will make your bike’s true nature come to the fore. (Good or bad, by the way.) The FLO Cycling G700’s will definitely not be allowing much of the vibrations and smaller impacts of the gravel roads to reach you, the rider. They also will not cause undue lateral oscillations, which are manifested in poor handling and worse, fatigue to a rider. Aero? That benefit is definitely there, and you should experience it as a gravel rider. But the FLO G700 wheels have a lot more to offer the gravel rider than just an aero benefit, and to my way of thinking, those benefits are actually more important than the aero benefits.
For more information on the FLO Cycling G700 wheels see FLO Cycling’s webpage on these wheels here.
NOTE: Riding Gravel received the G700 wheel set from FLO Cycling for test and review at no charge. We were not paid, nor bribed for this review and we always strive to give our honest thoughts and views throughout.