English Cycles Unveils Trick Aero Hubs, Custom Wheelsets

Rob English Cycles aero hubs with custom built ENVE Smart System 67 aero wheels for time trial and triathlon

Rob English, founder of English Cycles, has been working on his aero hubs for quite some time. Now, finally, they’re through the first production run and available separately or as complete wheelsets with Enve’s 6.7 Smart System aero rims.

In a nutshell, here’s the scoop directly from English:

“This is a concept I have been working on for a couple of years – I have been racing on a prototype front hub for the last two seasons. I was able to partner with C4 in California to produce a production version. With a deep front rim, a narrower flange spacing can be used without compromising the lateral stiffness – the bracing angle remains similar to a shallow rim and regular width hub. The wheel then has less frontal area, and the spokes are further from the fork to reduce interference in the airflow. I haven’t been able to test any of this theory in the windtunnel, but subjectively the wheels feel fast.”

More pics, plus a closeup look at one of his super-trick custom Di2 triathlon bikes, after the break…

Rob English Cycles aero hubs with custom built ENVE Smart System 67 aero wheels for time trial and triathlon

The front hubs use tear drop shaped aero flanges over the axle with a narrow set hub shell. The hub has carbon fiber bearing covers with adjustable preload. It weighs a claimed 120g and retails for $225. The rear hub is fairly straightforward with direct pull non-drive side spoke holes and traditional J-bend spoke flange toward the cassette. It’s available with either SRAM/Shimano or Campagnolo freehub bodies for $450. Claimed weight is 182g.

Rob English Cycles aero hubs with custom built ENVE Smart System 67 aero wheels for time trial and triathlon

English will build wheels to go with his custom bike with just about any hub, but he’s offering a custom build using ENVE’s recently introduced Smart System 6.7 rims. The front is a 60mm deep full carbon rim and the rear is 70mm deep, hence the 6.7 naming scheme. Wheelset price is $2,600 and includes his 44g ti/carbon skewers. English says these rims offer the aero benefits and deep enough profile to work with his hubs for a very fast set of wheels that’ll still perform well in crosswinds. That’s his way of saying they’re good for road racing, too. Of course, you could always build them with the deeper 8.9 rim pairing, which ENVE says is their flat out fastest set for TT/Triathlon.

Rob English Cycles aero hubs with custom built ENVE Smart System 67 aero wheels for time trial and triathlon

The wheelset as shown weighs in at a claimed 1435g, not bad for a deep aero set. Spokes are available in custom powdercoated colors, too, as shown on this sweet bike:

Rob English Cycles custom triathlon bike with stealth hidden Di2 electronic shifting and icarus lights USB Di2 battery

Remember that slick custom Di2 road bike with with virtually no wires or cables showing? This is the triathlon version of it with a bit of a different take on hiding the electronic system. Roll on over to Triathlonrumor.com for the full run down on this bike.

Comments

Steve M - 11/20/11 - 7:25pm

C’mon? serious? I think we have confused the words “aerodynamic” with “teardrop”. If you really wanted to do this why not make the caps in a wing profile to provide “lift”. Sorry, this smacks of jumping the shark.

JoeKing - 11/20/11 - 8:38pm

Why not just narrow the fork spacing to 75-80mm?

emp? - 11/20/11 - 9:08pm

bahahahahahabahahaha

Bill - 11/20/11 - 10:35pm

Uhm, my Easton EC90TT’s have had this gimmicky hub design for three years. More aero? Maybe, more flexy, and a terrible idea for anything but going in a straight line? Definitely.

Sevo - 11/20/11 - 10:54pm

And no 15mm thru axel option? Yawn…..

Rob - 11/20/11 - 10:55pm

Well I considered building a 74mm fork when I built my TT bike, but ultimately decided that it was much easier to be able to use any wheel and fit on standard bike racks. There is also some evidence to suggest that keeping a decent gap between the fork and rotating wheel is a good thing. The end caps are a NACA low drag profile. Next week I will be setting up a deflection test to measure the lateral stiffness of the front wheel compared to conventional hubs. The Enve rims are very stiff and I can’t tell that the hub is narrow when riding, but it will be nice to have some actual data for this.
thanks, Rob.

uglyyeti - 11/21/11 - 2:02pm

Why would one want to powdercoat spokes?

Jordan - 11/21/11 - 5:04pm

“custom bike with just about any hub” you mean any rim?

greg - 11/22/11 - 11:35pm

silly hub designs like that fail to realize that unless you are riding dead straight, with no side wind, the rim wont shield the spokes from squat, most of the spoke is too far from the rim to be shielded anyway, and what’s the frontal area of a spoke? they are 0.9mm across. best way to be more aero is to widen the flange as much as possible to increase lateral stiffness, then you can get away with fewer spokes, which would reduce drag (slightly).

Post a comment:

Comment sections can be a beautiful source of knowledge, conversation and comedy. They can also get pretty ugly, which is why we've updated our Comments Policy. If your comment isn't showing up or suddenly disappears, you might want to check it out.