Simon Smart, an ex Formula One aerodynamicist with fifteen years of engineering experience at the highest level of motor sport, earned global recognition for his design and development of the Giant Trinity and Scott Plasma 3 TT frames in the wind tunnel - both manufacturers realizing overnight success in the ProTour with wins in team and individual time trials. Smart’s business is based on the same site as the Mercedes GP - Petronas team headquarters and wind tunnel in Brackley, Northamptonshire in the United Kingdom.
Smart is renowned as one of the most successful time trial frame designers in the world with no less than six bikes in the top ten at the 2010 Tour de France individual time trial in Bordeaux alone. Smart also co-developed the Scott Foil aero road frame as ridden by the 2010 HTC-Columbia team, and his distinctive designs have influenced a number of time trial/triathlon bicycles on the market today.
ENVE Composites, located in Ogden, UT, designs and hand builds carbon wheel and component systems for mountain and road bikes. ENVE is a company made up of passionate cyclists and engineers who have created a unique brand based around simple, functional design and commitment to excellence. ENVE employees have innovated and designed some of the world’s most respected products in the bicycle industry.
Based in Utah, all ENVE wheels are designed, engineered and manufactured in America. ENVE is known for designing and making some of the strongest, lightest, most durable wheels on the market as validated by riders including UnitedHealthcare who put thousands of test miles on the wheels.
THE SMART/ENVE PARTNERSHIP AND DEVLEOPMENT PROGRAM
Between the carbon manufacturing expertise of ENVE and the aero capabilities of SMART, both companies realized that there was potential for synergy, and the partnership was born in January 2010. The forging of this partnership was shortly followed by an extensive and on-going development program, and the official announcement of the ENVE/Smart partnership at Eurobike in September 2010.
The team decided that the ultimate wheelset needed to possess the following characteristics:
- Superior strength to weight ratio
- Outstanding durability
- Excellent aerodynamic stability for its intended application
- Minimal drag when fitted to the bike
To gain a solid starting point, the team ran initial benchmark tests and CFD analysis of popular aero wheels with a complete bicycle and rider mannequin to best replicate “real world” conditions. Following these rounds of testing, the team defined a test protocol and developed the appropriate hardware that not only measures axial drag, but other important aerodynamic variables. This specific testing equipment is used exclusively by ENVE at the Drag2Zero facility at the Mercedes F1 wind tunnel and is “Patent Pending.”
In order to test rim geometry and shape more efficiently and accurately, the team pioneered a new rapid prototyping technique allowing for hundreds of rim iterations to be tunnel tested for real world performance variables in the time it would normally take to run just a few. Overall, the team spent 100+ hours at the wind tunnel, produced over 100 prototype wheel sets, ran 1000 test runs and reviewed 10,000 data points.