Facts and features from within the company!
FFWD revolves around speed. On the race course, in the laboratory, on the factory floor — our athletes, engineers, and craftsmen are always striving to go faster, inspired by the unceasing cycles of performance and innovation that are the company’s beating heart. Every year, FFWD gains momentum. As 2016 comes to a close and the festive season gets underway, we’ve paused for a few moments to relive some of our greatest achievements of the past 12 months.
Sam Appleton Wins Ironman 70.3 Buenos Aires
After a 1.9-kilometre swim, 90 kilometres on the bike, and a half-marathon, the Ironman 70.3 in Buenos Aires came down to the final few hundred metres. Sam Appleton had lead from the gun, emerging from the warm waters of the Puerto Canoas first, before being joined by a six-man group on the bike, which quickly blew to bits. The young Aussie powered through the technical course’s roundabouts with ease, building up a substantial lead with two others. By the time they arrived on to the run, it was clear that the three of them would decide the podium. Appleton bided his time — following, following. All of a sudden, at the 18-km mark, one faded away, and there were just two of them left. He knew it would come down to a sprint. With 400 metres to go, he surged, but his opponent countered and came back around. The two of them were neck and neck, all out, approaching the final corner. “I’m not really sure what happened next,” Appleton later said, “but I just got a wave of adrenaline and just went for it about 100 metres from the line. I got the gap but I didn’t dare slow down or look back.” He won the race by a handful of seconds.
Creating wheels that are fast in a wind tunnel is one thing. Using a wind tunnel to create wheels that are fast on a race course is another thing altogether. When we do our testing, we don’t set out to generate a set of numbers so that we can make impressive-sounding claims. We set out to understand how our wheels will perform in the real world — in cross winds, on cobblestones, on wet descents and scorching climbs. When it comes to aerodynamics, our proprietary DARC™ ‘Double Arc’ rim design is based on the realisation that the effective winds a rider experiences on the road tend to fall within a lower yaw-angle* range than the 10-20° cited and adopted by many of our competitors. Typically, a cyclist experiences winds that fall within a yaw-angle range of 0-10° more than 70% of the time, regardless of where he is riding. Under these real-world conditions, FFWD’s F6R-series and F9R-series wheels with DARC™ profiles offer the best aerodynamic advantage over the competition.
*The yaw angle is the calculated real wind angle, when the speed of the actual wind (effective wind) and the wind speed produced by the rider (apparent wind) are taken into consideration.
Pieter Weening Wins Stage 6 of the Tour de Suisse
Could there be a more glorious way for a team to earn its first World Tour victory? On a cold, rainy afternoon in the mountains of Switzerland, Pieter Weening rode his breakaway companions off his wheel at the base of the final climb of the sixth stage of the Tour de Suisse, launching himself into a long, solo attack, with his Roompot team’s first World Tour win awaiting at the finish line if he could hold off his chasers’ charge. He’d been away with 15 men from the start. His young teammate Antwan Tolhoek had already secured the King of the Mountains jersey. He heard over the radio that his competitors were fading behind him. If Weening could hold his tempo, the win would be his. He turned an enormous gear, sitting, standing, hurling his lanky body over his machine. The motorbike’s headlight shone on him in the darkness. It took courage, toughness, will power, but he managed to hold on. He won. As he wove up through the steep finishing chute, lined on both sides by little red-and-white waving flags, the tall Dutchman lifted both arms in the air. Roompot had triumphed for the first time in the World Tour.
Five golds, two silvers, one bronze — what more can we say? We couldn’t be more proud of our para-athletes. Tristan Bangma and Teun Mulder overcame their great British rivals to win the tandem kilo on the track. Timo Fransen and Vincent ter Schure earned gold in the tandem road race, as well as silver in the time trial and the four-kilometre pursuit. Daniel Abraham Gebru won gold in the C 4-5 road race. And Alyda Norbruis took home three medals — gold in both the time trial and the 500 metres and bronze in the three-kilometre pursuit. What a haul!
Introduction of Our OUTLAW MTB Range
Go anywhere. Go further. Go faster. When we set out to design a range of mountain-bike wheels, we brought all of the experience we’ve accrued over the past ten years of building superior carbon wheels for road, track, cyclocross, and triathlon to the task. As avid riders ourselves, we know that our wheels have to hold up in the most demanding conditions, that you have to be able to put your complete faith in them when you’re on your limit. So, for two years, we tested all sorts of configurations, giving a huge range of prototypes to a core group of mountain bikers to put through their paces on all manner of terrain. Our new Outlaw mountain-bike wheel sets are the result of that exacting process. With one rim design for cross-country and one for all-mountain, both sets are tubeless-ready and share the same carbon layup and an asymmetric spoke setup, which offers optimal stiffness and superb handling.
Yuliya Yelistratova Dominates
2016 was a banner year for Yuliya Yelistratova. The Ukranian triathlete won three European Cups, claimed two World Cup podiums, and earned a start in her third Olympic Games, to name but a few of her highlights. Most impressive was her consistency. For the third year in a row, she topped the ITU’s European Series Ranking, laying claim to the title of best female racer on the European circuit. Week in and week out, she was there, doing battle with the best, as she has done since 2004, when she made her elite debut at the age of 15. She has many more good years ahead of her.
Why Be Normal? Wins the Red Hook Crit Women’s Overall Team Ranking
Going fast is the only norm these ladies conform to. After knocking out top results in Brooklyn, London, Barcelona, and Milan, Why Be Normal? topped the 2016 women’s team standings in the Red Hook Crit Championship Series — the most badass set of fixed-gear races there is. Keira McVitty was in the running for the women’s title until the very end, but had to settle for a heart-breaking fourth. She was tied on points for the final spot on the podium, but finished just behind her rival in the final race, which lost her the tie breaker. Right through the year, the bond between the ladies on the team held firm. In three of the four races, they had two or more riders in the top ten.