- by Christopher Jones
- Published: 2 September 2014
If you are an Australian Cycling Forum member or regular visitor to BNA, you will probably know that we have keenly followed Swiss Side on their new aerodynamic wheelset, the Hadron, from concept through to production. The brand even got involved answering technical questions from forum members and ten lucky people in the BNA community qualified as VIP testers and now have their own Hadron wheelset.
To coincide with Eurobike (which becomes the center of the bike world for the last week in August each year), Swiss Side rented a wind tunnel and invited international cycling media to test the performance of the Hadrons against their own wheels. Although the wind tunnel results haven’t been questioned, seeing the wind tunnel testing first-hand is a unique opportunity and substantiates the Swiss Side message that their aerodynamic racing wheel is comparable the top Zipps, Mavics and Dura Ace in performance, but cost less than half the price.
Representing Bicycles Network Australia at Eurobike and at the Swiss Side Wind Tunnel testing were Alexander Weishaupt and Marty Renwick. Alexander has been sharing his daily highlights, trends and show stoppers from Demo Day, Eurobike Day 1, Eurobike Day 2 and Eurobike Day 3. Day 4 was wind tunnel day.
The Swiss Side team with comparison and prototype racing wheelsets for wind tunnel testing
Alexander noted that the wind tunnel testing facility, GST (Gesellschaft für Strömungsmesstechnik mbH) in Immenstaad, was already using 50% of its capacity for bicycle related aerodynamic testing. As his first introduction to Hadron wheels in the flesh, Alexander noted that combining the aluminium brake track with carbon fiber for the aerodynamic attributes meant lower R&D and manufacturing cost minimising concerns (compared to a full carbon wheelset) when braking in the wet, overall braking performance, and heat deformation.
Martin Renwick and Alexander Weishaupt for BNA discuss the setup with Jean-Paul Ballard
Tire selection also influences aerodynamic performance, Continental GP4000S are top performers
After the wind tunnel testing concluded, I asked Swiss Side Technical Director (and co-founder), Jean-Paul Ballard about their motivation for the test as well as their impressions and conclusions from the wind tunnel testing with international cycling media.
“In the past year we have already published all the details and performance data of the Hadron 625 wheel set in the most transparent way possible. However we understand the importance to the market to have independent endorsement and confirmation of this performance,” said Ballard. “Therefore the market’s leading media groups were invited each to their own 1 hour wind tunnel test session where they could test any wheel of their choice against the Hadron 625.”
The media groups included: Triathlon Magazine, Road Cycling UK, Tour Magazine, Roadbike Magazine, Bicycle Network Australia, Bike Radar & Cycling Plus. The guests were able to observe the live aerodynamic performance data (namely drag and side force) for themselves and all the raw data was provided for the guest to take away at the end of the session. The Hadron 625 performance proved once again to be at the very top of the leaderboard amongst the big brand models including: Zipp 808 Firecrest, Zipp 404 Firecrest, Durace C75, Mavic CXR60 and others, but very importantly, the Hadron 625 costs less than half the price! “
A live wind tunnel test
BNA will be taking a close look at the test data, but Jean-Paul Ballard is confident. “Every single guest was totally convinced by the performance of the Hadron 625 and also by the Swiss Side brand concept. Numerous groups commented that they too believed that it must have been possible to produce a top level performance aero wheel set for low cost and they have been waiting for someone to finally do this…”
Bicycles Network Australia was the first to review the Swiss Side Hadron Wheelset and the performance and price point make these wheels hard overlook. With each passing year, Swiss Side becomes more established and for everyday cyclists, a more reliable brand… and there is more to come.
The Swiss Side team also took the opportunity to start wind tunnel testing prototypes including a disc brake version of the Hadron 625, as well as a shallower and a deeper version of the Hadrons, meaning that 2015 is destined to be a big year.
Checkout the current Swiss Side lineup, including the new Hadron wheelset: www.swissside.com