FLO 30 – Final Thoughts

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.

Photo May 25, 7 45 16 AM

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.

Photo May 25, 7 45 23 AM

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.

IMG_20130329_115549

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.

2013-03-30 16.46.08

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.

[Addendum]

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.

31 responses to “FLO 30 – Final Thoughts

    • The Michelin Pro 4 Service Course tires are 23.3 mm wide and I run about 90-100 psi in them due to the wider bed giving them a larger contact patch to begin with, so I can drop my normal 110-115 psi down and not worry about the tire folding in on itself.

    • We were comparing a single set of Firecrests to the “complete” set of FLO wheels. A set of 404 FCs runs about $2,400 while the 5 wheels from Flo come out to $1,995 which is where we got our $400 number from.. However if we were to just compare a set of 404s to a set of 30s it would be much closer to a $2,000 difference.

    • We would suggest the 30’s. When it comes to road bikes you are most likely looking for the wheels that can help you accelerate and climb. The lighter weight 30s are going to have a distinct advantage here over the 60s.

      • I’m racing mostly Olympic and Half IM tris. Most are flat to rolling with a hill here and there. I’m light (133lbs) if that matters. At these prices, I’m willing to buy about anything. They are quite the bargain vis a vis 303s, etc. Thanks!

      • We would probably go with the FLO60s in that case. They are a bit heavier but you will see a larger aero advantage, and considering you are riding flat courses, the aero advantage should overcome any issues with weight.

    • Similar to our comments above, can you be more specific on exactly what you are looking for, what conditions you typically race in, and price points? Our answer to money not being an issue for a rider in Colorado may be different to a $1500 max in Florida.

    • Hi Richard,

      We cannot say 100% certainty since we cannot see exactly how your brakes are currently set up. However the barrel adjuster on your brakes allows for fitting narrow and wide wheels without making any real changes to how the brakes are set up. We know of others riding wider wheels on the Madone and have not had to do major adjustments to get them to fit.

  1. 2 Questions (btw GREAT review guys):

    1) For a rookie triathlete who trains primarily in rolling hills where weight is more of an issue than acceleration (no idea what race conditions could potentially be), would you recommend the 60’s or the 30’s? I’m 175 lbs riding a madone 3.1 with aero clip ons.

    2) As a follow up, unfortunately for me, money is an object so would the aero advantage of the 60’s over the 30’s in primarily Olympic or shorter distances (with one half ironman in the pipeline at the end of next season) be worth the extra $400.00? I also try to keep in mind I’d rather save up and buy better rather than feel wanting a year or two down the road.

    3) Would there be an advantage to running a 30 front and 60 rear (not sure if this is something that is done but it would be closer to economically feasible)?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. Hi Paul,

    Thanks for reading AeroGeeks. Unfortunately we dont have an easy answer for you. Instead we have a couple questions to help us provide a better answer.

    First what are rolling hills to you? Do you have to get out of the saddle every time?

    Second, have you already spent money on a quality bike fit? A great fit can cost a not so insignificant sum and have every bit the difference that a good wheel set can.

    Finally, what are your true long term plans? Is a more tri specific bike in your future? Would there be benefit to waiting on the bike first and spend money there before the wheels?

    Let us know and we can go from there.

  3. Just wanted to mention that Flo now has some 30’s in stock. That’s right “in stock” not pre-order. I ordered 2 sets yesterday. Absolutely thrilled!

  4. Pingback: 6-1-2014 WiR | AeroGeeks·

    • The FLO hubs are not what we would describe as ‘quiet’ hubs, but they certainly aren’t noisy, either. They make an audible click when freewheeling, which is by design. If you’re after silent hubs, these aren’t it. We would put them on par with Reynolds hubs in terms of loudness.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *