Based in The Netherlands, FFWD Fast Forward is a young high-end brand, specializing in high speed wheels. Carbon only. Period. FFWD’s goal is to deliver fast, lightweight and durable wheels to the Road, Cyclocross, Track & Triathlon markets. Their primary focus is on outstanding craftsmanship, quality and design.
In a search for high speed wheels that are carbon, lightweight and durable for road races and triathlons including sprint distance speed to ironman distance comfort and speed I found FFWD.
So after some research on high speed wheels that are carbon, lightweight and durable, I found FFWD. I contacted Rik Van Putten. We had an informal interview on his high speed wheels which is as follows:
Greg Moriates: When and why did you get involved with wheel building.
Rik Van Putten: It started in 2006 with disc wheels which were intended for OEM use who could put their names on them. Soon after the brand and logo of FFWD Wheels has been established and other models with laced wheels were added.
Greg Moriates: In a time when you can have wheels made outside your facility, why did you chose to hand make your wheels?
Rik Van Putten: Our wheel builders take the time for each wheel and only one person works on a specific wheel which gives them the control of the quality. By building them at our facility in The Netherlands we see all wheels and have the best quality control. Besides that the building technique includes putting heavy load on the rim and spokes several times by hand to stretch the spokes and have the nipples set into the carbon rim. (shown in our movie on the website) Doing this by hand is much more effective compared to a machine and therefore the wheels remain true for a long time, not needing any service.
Greg Moriates: Talk to me about DARC. What is it and what are the benefits.
Rik Van Putten: DARC stands for Double Arc. It’s the shape of the rim and influences the airflow on the rim. Simply said it compresses the air where needed to cause the air to leave the rim quicker. The biggest advantage is less drag.
Greg Moriates: It is great that technology is leading more toward real numbers and not just weight. How do you find that aerodynamics is better than weight?
Rik Van Putten: As Aerodynamics is important we have looked at this and came with our DARC profile, but at the same time we realize that in real life the conditions are not limited to a few yaw angles where the wheels perform best. At FFWD Wheels our focus lies in delivering strong and durable wheels, keeping in mind that weight is an important factor.
Greg Moriates: What is the ECOM Process?
Rik Van Putten: ECOM is a process where the carbon layers of the rim are ‘equally compressed’ during the construction. This process causes a smooth inner side of the rim without any voids. This technology makes the rims stronger.
Greg Moriates: What type of carbon do you use and what was your decision on using this type of carbon?
Rik Van Putten: All FFWD Wheels are build with different types of carbon to create durable rims. With a base of UD carbon and top layers of 3k carbon the rims are made to be stiff, strong but most of all durable. It’s not the case to make the stiffest wheel, but to find the best mix for a comfortable, strong wheel yet still stiff.
Greg Moriates: How should an athlete choose the type and depth of wheels for racing and training?
Rik Van Putten: FFWD Wheels has a broad range of carbon wheels for many disciplines. Finding the right set of wheels is depending very much on the conditions and type of terrain. There is no set answer to this as it is very personal. We are working on a tool for our website to make this process easier, but are always happy to help out by e-mail or on the phone!
Greg Moriates: So, can you help settle the age old debate. Tubular performance over Clincher performance?
Rik Van Putten: For races, tubular definitely has the best performance. Not only because of the tires, but also since the wheels are significantly lighter over clincher wheels. At the amateur level we see many riders racing on clincher wheels simply because they don’t want the hassle with tubulars.
If you are searching for high speed wheels that are carbon, lightweight and durable for road races, triathlons including sprint distance speed to ironman distance comfort and speed and in between consider FFWD.
For more information visit FFWD at http://www.ffwdwheels.com/
or GCM Endurance at http://gcmendurance.com/
I am proud to be riding FFWD wheels throughout the 2012 season and beyond.