Ogden, UT, USA - Nearly two years after Enve Composites entered into a long term technical collaboration with Aerodynamicist Simon Smart, and hundreds of hours of research and development later, the UCI-approved Smart Enve System 6.7 tubulars are now shipping to distributors and dealers around the globe.
The Smart Enve System was developed at the Drag2Zero facility at the Mercedes GP Petronas wind tunnel and on the road with the following metrics in mind: speed, stability, strength, stiffness and weight. "It was critical that the new aero wheel line be built upon the same values as our existing wheels. We wanted to take the characteristics we became known for . . . strength, durability, light weight and stiffness; and introduce them to the aerodynamic arena," stated Enve Composites founder Jason Schiers.
"The Smart Enve System optimizes the interface between the frame surfaces and the wheels, creating an integrated system", said Smart. "Because the front and rear wheels interact differently with the air and the rest of the bicycle, it made sense to design them as front and rear specific wheels. The rim shapes are optimized to ensure predictable airflow attachment at higher yaw angles thus reducing drag and improving ride performance." The front wheel is 26mm wide and 60mm deep, while the rear wheel is 24mm wide and 70mm deep.
The Smart Enve System maximizes stability and rideability in the broadest range of wind conditions possible. Traditionally, wheel testing in the wind tunnel is done in a steady state where the wheel is held at a constant angle for a period of time. In the real world wind, gusts, gaps between hedgerows, cars and buildings will cause instantaneous changes in wind angle.
To optimize wheel stability it was clear that an in-depth application of transient (unsteady) aerodynamics was necessary. Smart explained, "It's only in recent years that Formula One has started to look at transient aerodynamics. Early in my career as a trackside engineer we discovered that the race car was not producing the down force that it did in the wind tunnel. This led to an extensive correlation study to understand the differences between steady state wind tunnel data and transient real world aerodynamics. The information gathered then has been directly applied to the Smart Enve System rims to make them the most rideable wheels available." The team's research in the wind tunnel showed that the wheels with poor stability had a non-linear steering torque response curve. The Smart Enve System wheels have a linear response curve resulting in more predictable handling. Ultimately, more stability means more confidence and less energy expended trying to maintain your desired course of travel.
From a structural standpoint, the Enve engineers were faced with the challenge of creating the strongest, stiffest and lightest aero rims possible. According to Enve lead Engineer Kevin Nelson, "The Smart Enve System rims retain all the design features that have helped establish Enve rims as the most reliable rims on the market." Those features include patented molded in spoke and valve stem holes and continuous fiber construction. The new Smart Enve System rims also feature a new braking surface that vastly improves wet weather braking performance, is highly heat resistant, and improves overall stopping power.