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AERO series wheels VS FL series Wheels

We at ICAN are very proud of our carbon fiber aero road bike wheels. We felt our FL series carbon fiber wheels were a pinnacle of aero wheel design. For 2019 we have taken that design and pushed the engineering to bring you a lighter wheelset with all the same great qualities. For 2019 we bring you our Aero series of carbon fiber road bike wheels.

Our best selling product

For 2018 our FL aero road bike wheelset was our best selling product. So we have been busy asking the people who bought them for their feedback. We took their feedback and gave it to our engineers and asked them to make the FL series even better. Which was a hard ask but we felt they could deliver.

The one thing our customers wanted, which is the same for pretty much every road bike product. They wanted the wheelset to be lighter.

Making the Aero lighter than the FL wheelset

Thanks to customer feedback about the stability of the FL series, many felt that it was like cornering on rails and instinctively trusted their wheels through the most technical of courses. We also had a significant amount of feedback about how easy the FL series was to set up tubeless. Putting this feedback to good use meant we knew that we had to keep the same rim shape as it was working well in the real world. In the end, we also added a new rim to the series that doesn’t exist in the FL series. 

Knowing then that we had to keep the same shape, we don’t want to upset you the customers. Meant we would have to look at ways to change the carbon fiber layup and structure of the rim. To do so is not as easy as you would think, it involves much complex work and computer modeling. Our FL series was taking the use of Toray T700 to its limits, so we needed to find a solution.

We went back to the Japanese firm Toray and looked through their carbon fiber cloths. We looked through their entire range. Working through the different properties of each of their carbon fiber cloth offerings. Analyzing in detail how they would change the feeling of the wheel. Our engineers knew they had to keep our proven handling and stiffness. It was not easy but nothing worthwhile ever is.

Eventually, they came to a conclusion. The best way to lower weight and keep the qualities of the FL series of wheels was to use a mix of Toray T700 and T800 carbon fiber cloth. The internal layup is different, but the external look and qualities have all been maintained. The new Aero rim was born. 

The new Aero rim has all the qualities of the FL series, but now they were lighter. They were just as stiff, just as aero, and just as strong but we had managed to shave around a 100 grams per wheelset.  Just check our handy little chart below.     

  Aero Fast&Light  
  Front(g) Rear(g) Total(g) Front(g) Rear(g) Total(g)
35C 534.85  715.70  1250.55      
40C 559.85  733.85  1293.7 619.00  784.00  1403
50C 591.90  764.50  1356.4 653.00  825.00  1478
55C 604.00  777.00  1381 669.00  839.00  1508
86C 740.00  900.00  1640 795.00   973.00 1768
Below you will see an image of the FL and Aero rims together. They look so similar that the differences are almost imperceptible. The simple way to see the difference is the serial numbers. The serial number on the Aero rim finishes SL.   

SL stands for super light. Which is one of the simplest and truest descriptions that can be given to our new Aero wheels.


 Improved brake track heat resistance

One of the areas on carbon wheels that many people worry about is there brake track. On the FL series of wheels, we were already leading the way by having a brake track that could deal with up to 240° of heat. (Update: FL series already can be capable of withstanding temperatures 300 degrees Celsius 2019/02/01) We always want to better our carbon fibre wheels heat resistance, never being ones to rest on our laurels. 

ican fl 40


Figure 2 Our FL rim brake track surface

Our engineers may have been feeling the strain from lightening the wheel and now we were pushing technology and bicycle engineering further. We want you to know that our wheel rims can withstand temperatures that other wheels don’t like. For our new Aero series we have managed to take resistance up to 300°. Now you will not need to worry about those long Alpine descents, you will be free to ride down as safely as you want to.

Aero 50 icancycling wheelset

Figure 3 The new ICAN Aero braking track

The new lighter R01 road bike hubset

Our engineers then felt that if they were going to the job of making the rim better than they better also look at the hubs we fitted to the rim. Hubs can sometimes be missed out when looking at the beauty of a well-crafted carbon fiber rim. For our original R01 hub as found on the FL series, was an OEM part that we had crafted in Taiwan.

Our engineers took the FL series precision sealed bearing R01 hub to pieces and started to work out how to better it. They machined off any excess weight, which was hard to find on an already ultra-light hubset, and they even managed to remove two spokes from the front hub. The removal of excess spokes took the front hub down to 18 spokes, and the rear hub has 24 spokes still, to help with the extra drivetrain forces.

front wheelset hub

Figure 4The new R01 is a work of ultralight art and precision.

The new Aero series R01 hub is one of the finest precision sealed bearing hubs available on the market right now. You will not be wasting any energy getting this hub up to speed — something it will do with ease, helping to power you out of corners and up inclines.

Sapim spokes

Our FL wheelsets are constructed using Sapim CX-Ray spokes. We sent our engineers out to see if they could find a better spoke set. They found that most other lightweight spokes flexed too much. We could not find any that were as light as the Sapim CX-Ray spokes, and that would not flex.

As we wanted our new Aero wheels to set a benchmark for road bike wheel stiffness. We decided to stick with Sapim CX-Ray spokes that we run on our FL wheels.

That is not the end of the Aero series project though, and later in the year, you can expect to see our AERO wheelsets in disc brake guise. There will also be a choice of DT Swiss 240S or 350S hubs coming if you fancy a different hubset from our R01 hubs.

 Our Aero series of road bike wheels got super light, maybe going superlight should be your New Year’s resolution?

  • Apr 26, 2021
  • Category: Articles
  • Comments: 5