When we first rode the FLO 30, we noted all the things that FLO did right on the 30s – the wide tire bed, how well they soak up poor pavement and lend confidence in tight corners, even the diet they went on from the FLO 60s and the stellar price, considering everything they provide. We’ve said all of that, and mean it as much now as then, so what we want to talk about, looking back on our time with them, is not what we noticed, but what we did not notice when riding them. And that, above all, is what has really stuck with us.
The first thing to realize about riding wide, stiff wheels is that you don’t always notice when you roll over something that you likely ought not to. Little divots, minor refuse blown into the lane by the wind, even a small oil slick, the wider contact patch from the FLO 30 simply does not care. It doesn’t fuss, it has a startling lack of opinion about the fact that conditions on many of our rides together have, frankly, sucked. Part of this is due to the ability to run lower pressures in a wide wheelset, further increasing the size of the contact patch all while dramatically reducing the chance of puncture should something unpleasant come between rubber and road. Part of this is that the sidewall doesn’t bulge out on these wheels, but meets the brake track incredibly smoothly. However you like it, the lack of drama by these wheels is better than almost anything else we’ve ridden.
As a direct consequence of the above, cornering no longer feels like a controlled slip of your back wheel on dive-in. The wider patch of rubber the 30 affords an almost unnerving lack of sliding sensation, and can (and has) inspired some faster entries than would be advisable on skinny wheels – and makes cornering in the wet not quite so hairy any more. For anyone wondering if a wide wheel set is for them, the answer is yes, and the set you should buy is the FLO 30.
Finally, the lack of weight as compared to most deep-section aero sets is, bluntly put, a joy. Mash the pedal, watch the bike jump, and hit the top of that hill, bridge, or whatever the course designer has decided to punish you with. At 1585g, the 30s handled it beautifully for us, and we were always pleasantly surprised to find that little extra bit left in the tank after the climb was done.
But the really noteworthy absence is the price: At $498, it is difficult to make an argument against having the FLO 30 in your garage. Own a set of 404 FireCrests? For 60g more, your training and daily wheel could have very similar handling dynamics, along with an aluminum brake track. For $400 less than that same set of 404 FC, you can complete your wheel garage with a set of 30s, a FLO 60 Front, FLO 90 rear and a race-day FLO DISC and have a wheel set for every occasion ($1995 to be specific). The long and short of it is that the FLO 30 completes the lineup and brings forward, on its own and as a whole, a value proposition that is incredibly difficult to beat. They really are that good.
Someone brought up to us that the Zipp 101 is an apt comparison to the 30, and we happen to agree. The FLO 30 is 55g heavier, about as much as a pair of carbon bottle cages, but the entire wheel set is available for over $100 LESS than just the front 101; the total price of the 30s ($494) comes out to be $831 less than the 101s ($1325). Both are 30mm toroidal wheels of aluminum construction, and both feature incredible development time in CFD and the tunnel. For our money, we’d rather have the 30s… And a FLO DISC for our troubles.