The H3 Plus
We were the pioneers in discovering that wider tyres are faster. The World’s peloton of cyclists are now benefitting from the lower rolling resistance and increased comfort that wider tyres offer naturally through their “morphed” tyre-to-road “footprint” and increased air volume. Wheels, as a result, have to change to accommodate and work in tandem with the use of a wider tyre. Naturally, being the “wheel pioneers” most of our range is based around the use of wider tyres since we pushed the envelope way back in 2007.
The latest wheel to receive our “widening” treatment is the H3. Now, it’s not as though the original H3 has all of sudden become slow. The reason that we have chosen to evolve this champion is because its design brief, now over 20 years old, was based around the then ubiquitous 19-20mm tyre width. As previously mentioned, today’s cyclists are reaping the benefits of wider tyres so we wanted to combine this with the proven marquee performance of our H3.
A wider tyre base = less rolling resistance
The H3 Plus keeps all of the design traits of the original H3 but tweaks and maximises its design to work seamlessly with 22-25mm width clincher/tubeless tyres, the choice of tyre width for front wheels in today’s time trials and triathlons. The wider shape of the tyre bed, with an internal measurement of 21mm, works perfectly in tandem with wider tyres, spreading the tyre base, which, in turn, alters the tyre-to-road "footprint" and greatly reduces all important rolling resistance.
Wider Tyres = An Aero Redesign
During this re-design we also took the chance to investigate the full H3 wheel shape and profile and how it would interact with a wider tyre from an aerodynamic perspective. Following extensive wind tunnel and real ride testing we discovered that having a wider tyre moved the goals posts slightly from an aerodynamic viewpoint. We found that the wider tyre changed the initial airflow pattern quite substantially. This meant that we had to alter the profile of the rim section to accommodate and work in harmonious nature with a wider tyre. The resulting profile was more “bulbous” and “blunter nosed” in shape as well as being slightly deeper. Maximum rim width is now up to 26.5mm as opposed to the original H3’s 19mm while rim depth is now 60mm. We discovered that this new profile retained more or less all of the straight line speed at lower yaw angles but, the additional, positive spin off was that side winds seemed to flow around this shape in superior fashion, reducing trailing edge low air pressure voids. This, in turn, increased speed at mid to high yaw angles, the angles that are most often encountered by the racer.
Naturally the wider, more portly rim section meant that the “3 spokes” also had to be redesigned. These also became “fatter” and “blunter” in profile with resulting higher wind angle speed being improved on even further. This result was experienced all the while maintaining super high levels of low yaw performance.
The H3 Plus has been a real eye opener in wheel design for us. We have taken an already super quick performer in the H3 and adapted it for the times. In doing so we have made a wheel that is the new standard in aero performance. It is supremely rapid when used in conjunction with the faster, more comfortable breed of wider tyres. Will this new wheel be the standard still in another 20 years time? We shall see, but we certainly wouldn’t bet against it.
H3 Plus Details
THE wheel for clock beating solo efforts, our H3 Plus is carbon construction with aluminium braking surface and tyre bed that is suitable for clincher/tubeless tyres. The bulbous and blunt aero rim section, “3 spokes” and hub junction all flow in to one another with stunningly smooth lines and results in an organic structure. The new rim section profile and resulting altered “3-spoke” shape have been designed to work in unison with wider 22-25mm clincher or tubeless tyres. This new shape not only reduces rolling resistance by spreading the tyre profile and altering the tyre-to-road "footprint but also smooths the tyre-to-rim interface so that air can flow neatly across this junction before remaining attached down the full, wider rim profile. Air then separates from the “blunt” trailing edge in a neat, unadulterated fashion, no matter the wind angle.
The use of 3k carbon is not only incredibly easy on the eye but also adds massive levels of lateral stiffness while also keeping weight to a minimum. The carbon, utilized fully in the rim and “3-spokes” flows neatly in to our “Sonic H3” hub. This hub, fully integrated in to the wheels one piece structure features ultra hi-grade ABEC 5 stainless bearings that offer unrivaled rolling performance. The rear hub is fully compatible with gear systems from Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo ensuring that every rider is catered for. Easy maintenance is then catered for as full serviceability is possible with the use on of two 5mm allen keys.
This wheel is ultra strong and is the stiffest that we make. The carbon construction allows for massive levels of lateral stiffness as well as high peak vertical loads. Consequently it is rated for riders of up to 115kg in weight.
The complete package is finished off neatly with our own titanium quick release skewer and HED valve extenders.