1- The genesis of the concept
Daniel NAGEOTTE, designer Softwheel pawns, explains that, by professional deformation, it has always tried to improve his bike without breaking the bank or the equation of many cyclists. Meanwhile, Daniel falls on a review cycles evoking a cyclist seeking to reduce vibration of the wheels using stickers on the rim. Original! He started thinking about this problem that can taint the performance but also the comfort on long distances.
He retains the idea of the rubber damper inserted into the sieve tennis rackets, real shock absorber to gradually develop existing pawns in elastomer. Laboratory tests have validated the sensations and other empirical tests and refine the current drawing in order to propose specific fixtures.
2- What looks like the pawn?
This is a rubber part fitted on the basis of the radius at the hub. Placed mounting on each of the spokes, they will be in direct contact with the defects of the roadways to alleviate discomfort.
It must be emphasized that today’s carbon frames are legion. Carbon is nervous and therefore not easily filter the asperities of the tarmac. Some brands offer sophisticated constructions mélant fibers of different densities or shocks (such as Pinarello K-8) with a price to get the same effect.
With these flexible inserts 0,2gr / piece, we return to a childlike simplicity only when we have a bike shop capable of radiating his favorite wheels. Daniel NAGEOTTE also offers these assemblies whose own hoops ZTR I’ve tried.
3- First laps
The wheels are lightweight, only weighing a little hubs ZTR rims but I already know well to be on my bike 29 “are light and rigid. The craft shelving wonders. It happens to me, although I am not very heavy, distorted some wheels and hear regularly touch my brake pads when I raise dancer. at the coast divided into sessions that I regularly chained during the month of July, I never had this type of mishap.
The sensations are peculiar because it feels degraded floor but everything seems surrounded by cotton tender. In the end, one feels relaxed in the upper limbs and neck. This cozy side so do not want to say that the wheel assembly is “soft” but as pawns in elastomer filter vibration. I notice that my times are not worse on my favorite mounted that are passes Saisies and Aravis, and advancing the preparation, one might say that all the lights are green!
An important point is the braking quality: This is a black dot to the rim! The aluminum hoop is not very effective with skates (BBB as SWISSTOP). One has the impression that the pads slide gentiement without generating a loss of speed. Yet it stops because the pawns seem stabilize the wheels and keep the gum in the ground safely.
4- In race
So I tested the wheels equipped with ZTR Softwheel pawns on the Triathlon Alpe d’Huez. The test “short distance” is a real hill climb between Lake Vaujany and the station via the famous 21 bends. The lightness of the assembly and a cassette 28 teeth have allowed me to face the floor soaked with ease. Equipped with a power sensor, I could observe the standard value on my time to climb; only the cold and rain have been right of me entering the final kilometer.
Weight of all the tested wheels: 1530 grams
Price tested mounting: 899 euros
A little skeptical at first, I am totally convinced by these “little black stuff” on the shelves. The comfort is there, the choice of components (rims, hubs and spokes) are judicious. We are in the presence of a real wheel for performance with comfort, something rather ambivalent. Yet these are commercial arguments often used by brands to not scare cyclists. Note that it is a French innovation, produced in large series average and it seems to me to highlight the craftsmanship and innovative side of the Softwheel brand.