Ogden, UT, USA - Utah based ENVE Composites, formally Edge Composites, announces their year-long development partnership with top UK aerodynamicist Simon Smart of Smart Aero Technology.
Smart, an ex Formula One aerodynamicist with fifteen years of engineering experience at the highest level of motor sport, earned global recognition from his design and development of the Giant Trinity and Scott Plasma 3 TT frames in the wind tunnel - both manufacturers realizing overnight success in the ProTour with wins in team and individual time trials. Smart Aero Technology is based at the Mercedes GP - Petronas team headquarters and wind tunnel in Brackley, Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom.
Now renowned as the most successful time trial frame designer in the world with no less than six bikes in the top ten at this year's Tour de France individual time trial in Bordeaux alone, Smart also co-developed the new Scott F01 aero road frame as ridden by HTC-Columbia team members and his distinctive designs have influenced a number of time trial/triathlon bicycles on the market today.
When asked about the timing of the partnership, ENVE Founder, Jason Schiers said "We had already established our reputation as a manufacturer of wheels with the highest strength to weight ratio in the industry and we were really looking for that aerodynamic edge to make them truly superb. Strength and integrity are woven into our foundation and something we've always been extremely proud of - the fact that we already have the world's number one mountain bike team in Syndicate and other world-class individuals like Brian Lopes actively going after our products solely based on their strength, stiffness and durability is testament alone to that. Simon's expertise in aerodynamics specific to cycling is the perfect compliment, so as a company with a passion for innovation and leadership; we just had to get this done."
Brett Satterthwaite, fluid dynamics engineer and co-owner of ENVE agreed. "We were obviously impressed with Simon's knowledge and experience that he brought from his days in Formula One, but his resume in the cycling industry is also impeccable. His experience in frame development and rider testing has given him a solid comprehension of the range of wheels currently on the market which has in turn allowed him to really drill down on areas for improvement. The development of the Drag2Zero test protocol for optimizing aerodynamic rider position and equipment setup is something else that makes him so unique in this industry and this is exactly the kind of insight and understanding of an athlete's requirements that makes him such a great partner."
Taking the fundamentals of the Drag2Zero design protocol, Smart has developed a world leading test facility, incorporating proprietary hardware and software specifically for ENVE/Smart Aero Technology wheel development at the Mercedes Benz wind tunnel. A novel rapid prototyping technique together with iterative testing has been implemented to ensure a high level of testing fidelity with reduced the lead times between tests in order to evolve a new range of aero products. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis has also been used to provide and enhance development direction throughout the course of the program, enabling numerous prototype wheels to be manufactured for use in the field between wind tunnel tests to evaluate performance properties such as aero stability, stiffness, weight and drag through a range of riding conditions and speeds.
The upcoming range of ENVE/Smart Aero Technology wheels will be the culmination of over a 1,000 test runs and hundreds of hours at the Mercedes wind tunnel throughout 2010. All prototypes have been individually tested by pro riders and have already been used on the road in various races throughout Europe and the USA.
Satterthwaite added "The new testing methodology will revolutionize wheel aerodynamic and field testing; ultimately setting a new industry standard. We're incredibly excited to be spearheading such aerodynamic, technological and manufacturing advances with Simon because at the end of the day, this partnership beyond any doubt defines what true teamwork is all about in making the absolute best product available to the consumer."
Of the collaboration Smart commented, "I became fascinated in wheel aerodynamics when I started developing the Giant Trinity three years ago. Our product development work with leading manufacturers and teams, and one to one experience with over 150 riders at Drag2Zero has given me a unique and invaluable insight into wheel aerodynamics and market requirements. With this wealth of knowledge and the Mercedes GP wind tunnel at our disposal, our natural progression was to develop a range of wheels. We recognized that wheel manufacture is a very specialized field and therefore we needed to find a partner who could develop and produce wheels with the highest quality and mechanical performance - ENVE obviously tick all of those boxes. Our development program has already exceeded expectations and the development wheels currently being ridden by professionals in the field show a great synergy between the combined composite and aerodynamics skills of our two businesses."