Performance wheels - more complex than expected?
Fast cycling, whether on flat tarmac or rough gravel, is the ultimate interplay between man and technology and places the highest demands on both man and material. The wheels in particular are more than just the link between the bike and the road: they are the functional centrepiece of every bike ride, combining performance, safety and riding enjoyment. In our "Leeze Wheel 1x1" series, we delve deep into the world of performance wheels and shed light on why wheels are more than just carbon curves.
The core requirements: What a performance wheel really needs to do
A performance wheel is more than the sum of its parts; it is a complex interplay of precision, engineering skill and a great deal of development expertise. At Leeze, we have identified four essential core requirements that a competitive performance wheel must fulfil for us:
Aerodynamics: Fast wheels are aerodynamically optimised wheels. We maximise speed with carefully designed rim profiles that drastically reduce air resistance.
Rigidity: High wheel rigidity is essential to optimise power transmission and ensure dynamic, reactive riding behaviour.
Robustness: Our wheels are built for the demands of racing and should function reliably in every situation - even on the fastest downhill runs and the roughest surfaces.
Lightweight: Reducing the overall weight is crucial for fast acceleration and efficient climbing. Every gram counts here.
Application scenarios and their requirements
Depending on the application scenario, we prioritise the four core requirements differently. The following five scenarios clearly illustrate which of the basic requirements take centre stage in the development of a suitable wheelsets:
Time trial and triathlon: In these disciplines, where every second counts, we rely on extremely aerodynamic wheels - high rim profiles over 70mm and disc wheels with uncompromising aerodynamics. Agility and weight are optimised, but not the main focus of development. Our CC78 Disc EVO WASO delivers maximum performance here.
Mountainous terrain: Every gram counts on climbs. Our wheels with low rim profiles (<30mm) combine lightness with torsional rigidity. Nevertheless, we are aware that aerodynamics also play an important role on this terrain. The CC25 Allroad EVO WSTO sets new weight standards here with just 1240 grams.
Flat tracks with a low profile: Aerodynamics take centre stage here. Aerodynamic rim profiles with rim heights of 50-60mm are preferred in order to aerodynamically optimise air flows on the wheel. At the same time, carbon wheels retain their agility and lightness. This is where our bestseller CC50 Disc BASIC and the CC58 Disc EVO WASO come into their own.
Allroad and Gran Fondos: For these versatile events, our wheels offer a balanced combination of weight, aerodynamics and comfort. At the same time, we attach great importance to maximum robustness in order to be able to ride long Gran Fondos on different surfaces with a secure feeling. The CH40 Allroad BASIC is the perfect choice for any terrain.
The complexity behind performance wheels
The development and optimisation of performance wheels is a complex process that requires specialised knowledge and precision. This makes the development and optimisation of wheels extremely complex and more cost-intensive compared to other components on road bikes. There are four cost drivers in particular in the development, optimisation and production of our wheels, which we would like to present transparently:
Materials: We have developed our carbon fibre rims in numerous FEM analyses to achieve extreme rigidity with optimised weight. This enabled us to precisely determine and test the required fibre count, fibre volume content and fibre orientation of all Leeze carbon wheels.
Manufacturing process: Our manufacturing techniques are precise and complex in order to fulfil the high standards of quality and performance. We leave little room for manufacturing tolerances in our wheels to reliably fulfil maximum performance. Rennrad Magazine has already taken a look behind the scenes of our development and production.
Test procedure: Every Leeze wheel undergoes rigorous testing to guarantee its performance and longevity. At the same time, we promise optimum service and lifetime crash replacement for all Leeze wheels purchased from us
It's clear: investing in a Leeze Performance wheel is an investment in the highest quality, performance and service to deliver an exceptional riding experience
Now that it is clear which high and sometimes very different requirements our performance wheels have to fulfil, we will take a closer look at the wheel itself in Part 2/3: Wheel components and additional components. We show which key components make up performance wheels and which additional components are required to turn the wheel into a fully functional wheel system.