Cross-Wind Spokes and Self-Truing WheelsJan Heine
April 1, 2022. Today Rene Herse Cycles announced a new wheel system with spokes that adjust on the move. This allows orienting bladed spokes in response to crosswinds, and it also makes it possible to true wobbly wheels without stopping. It’s another example of the company’s ‘thinking outside the box’ approach to innovation that really improves the riding experience of all cyclists.
“Traditional aero wheels are designed to head straight into the wind. If you are a world-class time trailist who rides at 50 km/h, that works well. But most gravel and adventure riders don’t ride at the same speed as Tour de France time trialists,” explained Jan Heine. “At gravel speeds, crosswinds can result in the airflow coming at a significant angle. Under those conditions, bladed spokes perform worse than round spokes, increasing the overall drag of bike and rider by up to 3%.”
The solution is simple: Rotate the bladed spokes automatically so they are always oriented correctly in relation to the crosswind. Heine continued: “Nanotechnology makes it possible to integrate tiny motors into the spoke nipples that turn the spokes while the bike is moving.” The new Rene Herse bike computer integrates a sophisticated electronic wind vane that measures the wind direction and calculates the optimum spoke angle.
“There is more to this technology,” explained Heine: “Once you can turn the spoke nipples on the move, you can also true the wheels without stopping.” Dial indicators inside the fork blades and chainstays detect when the wheel develops a wobble. The system’s electronic brain calculates which spokes need to be adjusted. The spoke nipples automatically turn and true the wheel, while the rider keeps pedaling. “This makes the new technology useful not only for racers, but for all riders, especially commuters who encounter potholes and debris on their urban rides,” enthused Heine.
The new technology has been tested over thousands of miles under the cover of darkness to keep it secret until its unveiling today. Wheelsets and the associated wind-measuring computer will be available later this year, with rims for disc and rim brakes in diameters of 20″, 26″, 27.5″ (650B) and 29″ (700C).