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.
14 thoughts on “FLO Cycling G700 Wheel Set: At The Finish”
Very interesting study, GT! I agree, I think we will be seeing more “aero-optimized” wheel and tire combinations in gravel, as we have been with road. It goes along right after the wide rim shift we have been living the past several years. It would seem to me that the Atomik wheels would be the closest comparable to the Gulo set that MG reviewed?
@DT – Thanks for the comments. Yes, I agree that the Gulo Composites wheels and the Atomik/Berd wheels are most alike. The difference being about 200 grams in weight and about 1000+ dollars in price.
Agreed, @Guitar Ted… The benefits of the Gulo and Atomik/Berd wheels are probably the most similarly aligned. It’d be interesting to test them head to head, so hopefully at some point we’ll be able to do just that.
Thanks for reading @DT!
Looking forward to receiving my G650 set in November. Complete rear wheel and bare rim to lace to a dynamo front hub.
How would you say that the Spinnery GX wheels would compare to these?
@Steve Stilwell – Spinergy GX wheels probably are more analog to the Atomik/Berd Ultimate wheels we have on test than they are these. They also have an aluminum rim, which makes them a bit more unlike the Atomik/Berd’s or these wheels. The Spinergy’s are good wheels, but not quite comparable to either of the other two mentioned. The Spinergy GX wheels definitely are not as stiff laterally- in regards to the lateral oscillation, that I can say for sure,
The new carbon rimmed Spinergy’s may have more akin to these wheels than the aluminum GX’s do.
How loud is the rear hub?
@Daniel – The free hub is average in loudness, I would say. Nothing obnoxious, but you’ll know it’s there when you coast. For sure, the hollow rim amplifies the ratcheting somewhat, but I don’t think it is anything crazy loud, say like a Hope hub. On quieter roads, paved roads, or anytime sound can be reflected back to you, (as when you pass through a tunnel, let’s say), you’ll be hearing it for sure. Out on the gravel it isn’t a big deal for me.
Great review as always GT! I’m interested in picking up a set of 650b wheels and I was wondering your thoughts about the G700 wheelset in regards to climbs. It is substantially heavier (250-450gr) than a lot of other wheels at or below its price point. I’m a mini clydesdale (200lbs; 6’5″) and here in the Bay Area, we’ve got a lot of steep pitches, so while I’m sure that the G700 (or G650) works well on flat or rolling hills where speed can be maintained, I’m wondering your thoughts about how it performs in more vertical cases given it’s heavier overall weight? Thanks for the great reviews and keep up the great work!
@Jason – Thank you for your comments about our reviews. We appreciate it!
On the G700’s, I never felt like those wheels were holding me back due to weight. Yes- lighter (and MUCH more expensive wheels- generally speaking) can have a snappier feel and seem to aid in climbing, but…..light weight isn’t all it is cracked up to be. There have been studies done in the past, (Mavic mostly come to mind for me) that showed that the lightest wheels can lose momentum in a cyclist’s ‘dead spot’ in their cadence, and therefore the rider has to re-accelerate the wheel, losing speed and loosing more energy than necessary.
While you can take that for what it is worth, or not, I will say what matters in the end is what you believe. For me, the aero and comfort factors of the G700 wheels far outweigh any concerns I have about the G700’s weight. YMMV.
Thanks GT! I’ve never been a weight weenie since I haven’t shaved all the weight off my body that I should to be faster, but it caught my eye that they were dramatically heavier. Especially for some endurance events, the aero and comfort would probably end up being a much greater benefit than the weight penalty. I’m really leaning towards the G650’s based on your comments, just need to get the funds saved. Thanks again!