FLO Cycling G700 Wheel Set: Getting Rolling – by Guitar Ted
Several years ago it occurred to me that being out in the open, on gravel roads, for long periods of time meant that aerodynamics were probably of importance to gravel cyclists. I even was thinking about tighter fitting clothing, eliminating those ‘flappy’ jackets and rain pants some would wear in inclement weather. When I shared my thoughts back then the feedback I got was lukewarm at best. Many said that for gravel travel, aero didn’t matter.
Well, Jon Thornham of FLO Cycling has heard that, and more, and he set out to not only disprove the naysayers, but to use intense research and development techniques to produce a wheel set for gravel riders that were not only aerodynamic and energy saving, but that also had other beneficial elements to them as well.
Jon contacted us here at Riding Gravel, asked if we wanted to take a look at these new wheels, and after looking briefly at the FLO Cycling website, it was apparent that something very interesting was going on here. So, we said ‘Yes!‘ and here we are with a set of the G700 wheels to test and review.
What It Is: The Flo Cycling G700 is the 700c diameter gravel wheel set developed by FLO Cycling over a period of about three years. FLO Cycling took it upon themselves to develop testing procedures, both in a lab setting and in ‘the real world’, gathering thousands of data points and then crunching all those numbers in computers to develop rim shapes that reflected what riders were actually dealing with out on the gravel and back roads. These test results and rim shapes were then taken to the wind tunnel to prove FLO Cycling’s theories. Test results also showed up some very interesting new things to consider about riding on gravel, and these new findings were also incorporated into FLO Cycling’s new G700 wheels. (A 650B variant, dubbed the G650, is also available)
FLO Cycling has crammed so much into these wheels as far as technology and research and development that it would be nigh unto impossible for me to list all of what is going on here in a way that lends justice to these wheels. So, I would urge you to check out FLO Cycling’s excellent website for the deeper details. Following is a brief overview of what these wheels offer the rider.
- FLO G700 is optimized for tire sizes 32mm-48mm
- The G700 wheel is optimized for the lowest drag coefficient numbers.
- The internal rim width is optimized to give tires in the recommended range a shorter contact patch for a given tire which lowers rolling resistance when coupled with use of proper (lower) air pressures.
- Due to the nature of carbon fiber, FLO Cycling could use the deep section of the rim to act like a leaf spring over rougher roads. The rim bed and sidewalls use a stiffer carbon layup for the obvious reasons of tire mounting and retention. So, the G700 also reduces vibrations to a degree through clever wheel design.
Now for a brief overview of the technical aspects of these wheels- The G700 wheels are a 24 spoke F/R laced 2X to the 54.9mm deep section rims and FLO Cycling “Vortex 3” branded hubs using traditional “J” bend spokes for ease of replacement should they need to be replaced. The spokes are Sapim CX-Ray and the hubs use Japanese 6900 EZO bearings. These hubs use a Center Lock brake rotor interface and the rear hub has 15° engagement. The axle standard is 12mm through axle front/rear.
The internal rim width is 25mm while the widest section externally is 33mm. FLO Cycling uses a hook bead on these rims so you can use tubed tires, but they are tubeless tire compatible. Claimed weights for the FLO Cycling G700 is 869gm F/1013gm R. The free hub options include Campy, XDR Driver, SRAM 10/11, and Shimano 10/11 speed types. Customers can also customize the look of the G700 with a choice of several wheel decal options.
FLO Cycling is consumer direct and the G700 wheels are available now from their website at a price of $1488.00 USD for F/R pair. FLO Cycling also does charitable work and gives money from each purchase made to Bike For A Kid and One Wheel- One Tree causes.
First Impressions: The wheels came packaged in a totally recyclable carton and included tubeless valve stems and some very interesting rim tape. I asked Jon Thornham about this unusual tape and he informed me that it was something they designed and had made for their wheels. I will say that it probably is the best tubeless tape I have ever used. I’ll get onto that in a minute. I weighed these wheels on my digital scale and came up with 820gms F/ 970gms R. Lighter than claimed.
So, the wheels we received have the black-on-black treatment and they looked really good. The carbon construction looks to be first class and everything about these wheels exudes quality. I checked the G700’s on my truing stand and they were dead-nuts straight and round as could be. As I alluded to earlier, the tubeless rim tape was some of the best I’ve tried, laying down perfectly, having ‘juuuust‘ the right amount of stretch, and adhering to the rim and itself as you would expect. The blue anodized valves installed easily and the Teravail Rutland 700c X 42mm tires went on and inflated without any issues with my poor old Bontrager Charger floor pump. In fact, the tires seated silently too, without the jump inducing ‘pop’ you usually hear when setting up tubeless tires. This may only be an isolated experience, admittedly.
I mounted some Center Lock rotors, (160mm F/R), and an 11 speed wide range cassette for my Shimano GRX 1X drive train, and mounted these up to the Noble Bikes GX5 gravel bike. They look pretty good on there, I think. Nice looking wheels and they compliment the carbon frame well. But, do they do what FLO Cycling claims? Ah! That’s the trick to show here, isn’t it?
So Far…. After a two plus hour ride in heavy cross winds and a bit of head wind and tail wind for good measure, I can say that- Yes- there is something to having a good aerodynamic wheel on gravel. In fact, I believe it makes a really big difference already. No matter how fast I was going, I could tell these wheels were helping. But there is a lot more going on here. Stay tuned for the “Checkpoint” post where I will detail out my thoughts further on the claims FLO Cycling makes and whether or not they manifest in testing for me. Stay tuned……
Bonus: Look for a special Riding Gravel Radio Ranch podcast featuring FLO Cycling’s Jon Thornham soon. Jon goes deep on the technical aspects of the G700, testing procedures, and why riders should care about aerodynamics and something called an “Impedance Breakpoint”.
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.