It’s been a month since Devon’s first ride on the FLO 60s. And since that time, both Devon and Mike have had the opportunity to put quite a few miles on this wheelset. Overall, both of them couldn’t be happier. While this might spoil the rest of the review, we’ll say right now that this is an absolutely terrific wheelset (even before you take into account that you can get the entire set for under a grand, $898 to be exact).
Flo Cycling’s belief is that you should be able to buy a great aero wheelset without selling your first born. To do this, the guys at Flo crafted a wheel with an aluminum brake track (no, this is not always a bad thing) and attached carbon fiber toroidal fairing around it. And as a side note, Flo uses hubs that spin far better than the price of these wheels should even deem possible.
To design the fairing, they made use of Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) modeling to avoid the cost and complexity of using a wind tunnel. Using CFD allows a company to create a design, test it, and then refine and retest in hours instead of days. Additionally, CFD allowed Flo to simulate an infinite number of wind speeds and yaw angles to create the shape they felt was best suited for their customers—at a cost far below what its competitors spent (a savings passed on the customer).
The end result is one heck of a wheel.
In many ways, riding this wheelset is extremely reminiscent of riding a set of 404 FireCrests. They are extremely fast (Mike set a new PR on his 20 mile TT route) and exceptionally stable (laughing in the face of cross winds). The wide width of these wheels lends to an incredible road feel, as well as providing stability and less rolling resistance. Riders will know the wind is there but will not have to fight it to stay in control. Instead, you can get into a deep TT tuck and punish your legs through the miles.
These are the type of wheels that genuinely make a rider faster—and for just $898—have truly earned the name “free speed.” To put that price in perspective, for the retail cost of a single set of 404 FCs ($2,725) you can get a Flo 60 Front, Flo 60 Rear, Flo 90 Front, Flo 90 Rear, and a Flo Disc (total: $2,395) and still have money left over to buy Continental GP4000s for the whole lineup.
When riding these wheels you’ll also experience a benefit you may have missed with other carbon wheelsets—sudden deceleration (A.K.A. braking power). While the majority of the transition area has moved toward full-carbon wheels, it’s easy to forget that braking on an aluminum track will outperform carbon. The Flos did not disappoint. They stop like you have a grappling hook attached to your seat stays. This is something that we had sincerely missed when we were tucked deep into our aero bars and needed to panic stop. The 60s brought it all back. Additionally, with an aluminum brake track you need not worry about warping or power loss due to heat buildup.
We also need to mention the strength of these wheels. There is an unmistakable feeling of solidity throughout the Flo 60. These aren’t your typical super wheels, which fly down the tarmac but snap when your “I’ll-have-the-foot-long chili-dog” buddy looks in their direction. Instead, the Flos are your dependable workhorse with speed to spare. The wheelset we were given to review was the standard non-Clydesdale version, and Mike’s 200-pound frame (the upper boundary of Flos standard wheels) caused no issues with the wheelset. Here at AG we love quality and dependability in a product, and these wheels match that description perfectly.
The (Slight) Cons
The one downside to the 60s is the weight. The wheelset measured in at 2049g, including rim tape. Unfortunately, lightweight wheels these are not. However, we can honestly say that this was not a problem for the vast majority of riding during our test period. However, Devon did notice in his early rides that climbing may be an issue with this wheelset. To that end, Mike performed our standard climbing test on his final day of testing.
If you have ever ventured down to sunny South Florida you’ll notice that one of the geological features missing here is hills. In fact we have only two kinds of hills—highway overpasses and converted garbage dumps. Strangely, the AG staff prefers to do our hill workouts on the latter. Our local converted garbage dump is absolutely perfect for interval hill workouts. There is a 1/4 mile flat run-up to the hill where you simulate coming out of a U-turn and instantaneously accelerate up to race pace. This is followed by a hard 135-degree turn (where you lose most of your speed) back to a short ¼-mile climb at a max grade of 9%. (Note: If any of our local readers would like to join us on one of these workouts we’d love to have the company).
Since this course emphasizes climbing ability as well as 5-20mph acceleration, this was a test designed to reward lighter wheels and to find fault with heavier wheels. So how did they 60s do? They were a little troublesome to get to speed coming out of the U-turn, but once they were going, they wanted to just keep going harder and harder. And thanks to the strong braking surface, you could wait until the very last moment to brake for the 135-degree turn. Unfortunately that did mean that you hit that hill with almost zero forward momentum and had to haul the wheels up the hill (yes, you can feel that weight). But would that stop us from buying the wheels? Absolutely not. Again, this was a test meant to simulate worst-case scenarios for a wheelset, and as Devon said in his first-look article, climbing wheels these are not.
The only other complaint that Mike had about these wheels was something that Devon actually found appealing. Devon described the wheel noise as “the bike sounding as if it’s powered by dilithium crystals at 30mph.” Mike simply recalled it as a whistle. After one hundred miles or so you tend to get used to it, but it does catch you by surprise the first time you hear it.
I am sure anyone that has made it this far into the review will recognize that we were smitten with this wheelset. We recognize that as far as wheelsets go, it wasn’t perfect, but it was very close. On top of that, when you consider just what an amazing bargain you’re getting, it’s extremely hard to find a reason not to pick up a set. As Devon said in his first article, affordable aero is about being fast without a second mortgage. And in just about every way the Flo 60s are the epitome of that credo.
[Editor’s Note: In future wheel reviews you will start seeing a score along with the review covering areas such as Acceleration, Braking, Climbing, Cruising, Stability, Cornering and Price. These individual scores will be used to calculate a total score, as well as an “affordable aero” score. However, to give proper reference, we did not feel it was fair to release the scores for the Flos until we could release five wheel scores at the same time. Look for an article toward the beginning of April covering the AeroGeek scoring system for wheels, as well as scores for the Flos, Mad Fibers, and other wheels we have been testing.]