For several years Simon Cordaillat has been one of the FFWD ambassadors and lives in the capital of France, Paris. Like many bike enthusiasts, Simon started cycling on the BMX as a child. His hunger to adrenaline led to a switch to MTB (both XC and downhill), and he also took a little taste to the “fixed gear” category.
Since 2016, the first gravel bike brought Simon exactly the ultimate experience: fun and speed! His gravel bikes are of course equipped with FFWD wheels and in his own words Simon discribes:
“My bikes have been equipped with FFWD wheels since 2019 and it definitely gave me the upgrade I needed. FFWD's carbon wheels are faster and stronger, and it feels like I can automatically push myself beyond my own limits every time. The confidence and speed the FFWD wheels give to me is exactly what I need to enjoy the way I ride my bike.”
Just like gravelbikes, also gravelwheels are steadily on the rise. Most wheel brands and manufacturers now have one or several models of wheelsets in the collection that are specifically developed for graveling.
FFWD's DRIFT is one of the models that outclass the competition. Not only the sleek and robust looks of the DRIFT catch the eye, but also in terms of technical specifications, this set of gravel wheels can easily compete with the top of the market.
The DRIFT in details
The DRIFT uses a rim that's only available in 700c (28 inch) which makes it a real all-rounder, and suitable for all models of gravel bikes. The 36mm high carbon rim provides the ideal combination of optimal handling on varying terrain, aerodynamics and comfort.
Thanks to the extra wide rim, 24mm on the inside, you can mount tires up to 60mm. Perhaps unnecessary to mention, but of course the DRIFT rims are tubeless ready!
On the scale, the DRIFT shows a total weight of only 1515 grams! An amazingly low weight, especially compared to competing models, and definitely one of the features that makes the DRIFT outstanding.
My introduction to the DRIFT
When I as an ambassador and test driver of FFWD was asked to test their new model gravel wheels “the DRIFT”, there wasn't a second of doubt. After a year of enjoying my gravel bike with the F3D FCC with DT350 hubs, I couldn't wait to take the next step and test these new gravel specific wheels.
The bigger internal width of the rim, makes it compatible for wider tires and is optimized for riding with lower tire pressures. And of course the revolutionary DT ratchet system in the rear hub, which together ensure that the DRIFT is a technical champion that takes gravel riding to the next level.
The wheels were nicely delivered in a protective FFWD wheel bag, and the tubeless rim tapes and valves were already pre-assembled. All I had to do was mount the tires and cassette and my bike was ready for action!
My DRIFT setup
To make my new DRIFT works best, I combined them to some other great materials. The setup of my TREK Checkpoint:
- Bike: TREK Checkpoint
- Groupset: SRAM Force AXS
- Wheels: FFWD DRIFT (with DT 240s hubs)
- Tyres: Hutchinson Touareg 40mm (gum sidewalls)
My very first ride ever with the DRIFT wheels, and the first testride was immediately a challenging one: the Samedi Gravel at Spotzle, which was two training sessions, and a Gravel Camp by Hutchinson during the Vélo Vert Festival in Vercors (France).
My first experience with the DRIFT
The first pro that I want to mention right away is that the DRIFT wheels feels great on asphalt. You can really feel so good that you are riding with a pair of superlight wheels, about 1500 grams. And even with 40mm wide tires with a pressure of 1.9 bar, they roll realy smoothly and lightly.
Just when you leave the asphalt, and change the surface for gravel and mud, it really starts getting interesting. The DRIFT's versatility in off-road conditions is truly amazing! Thanks to the DRIFT I have achieved three KOMs and several top-10 placings on Strava in a short time on gravel, downhill and singletrack. I achieved results like this before!
Downhill and especially in the fast descents with a lot of loose surfaces and rocks you feel how reactive the DRIFT wheels are. I have never experienced it this balanced feeling before. Due to the stiffness of the wheels and the low weight, such little power is needed to get you up to speed every time. Shifting is super fast and smooth thanks to the DT ratchet system, and the low weight also makes you feel like a true climber when you ride uphill.
My conclusion about the DRIFT
You probably already noticed, my enthusiasm for the FFWD DRIFT wheels probably already shows that I can only say: GREAT! For me, the most important advantages are:
- The FFWD DRIFT rolls great on every surface
- A perfect combination between strenght, speed en reactivity
- Thanks to the low weight, they feel like climbing wheels
- Maximum versatility for almost every setup
- High-end technical specifications
- Great looks!
When I take a look at the gravel wheels in this segment of competing brands, I can really only find models at a higher price level. The FFWD DRIFT starts at € 1499 if you opt for the FFWD hubs, add € 300 and you get the DRIFT with DT240 hubs like I tested. For a great upgrade of your gravel bike and if you prefer a specific set of high-end carbon gravel wheels, the DRIFT is the best option in my opinion.
Without a doubt the FFWD DRIFT could be your number one weapon to become the Strava KOM on all off-road segments in your area. Thanks to the speed and optimal handling that you achieve with the DRIFT, you will push your limits outside the paved sections. And not to forget: I am sure the DRIFT is made for many, many years of cycling pleasure!