We Go Racing with FFWD FR6 FCC Wheels
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May 11, 2015 – Sometimes what you don’t feel when riding a set of wheels is the best measurement of performance and ride quality. Over a long race weekend in California, that included just about any terrain you can throw at a wheel – TT, Crit, Road Race – the FFWD F6R FCC 60mm wheels we tested disappeared, letting us get down to the business of racing.
In some ways, the TT was the most appropriate place to test these 60mm deep aero wheels but it can be hard to get a feel for a wheel set when you are in the pain cave of a TT. The course was hilly, but we never even felt like we were dragging a 60mm full carbon clincher. Out of the saddle they didn’t make a single sound and we ripped the corners without a thought. They performed so well perfectly, because we didn’t have to react or worry about what the wheel set was doing.
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The Road Race
The front side of the course had rollers and very poor road conditions, but the wheels just ate them up. On the front side momentum was everything, because you needed to hold speed for positioning into the cross/head wind climb that was just ahead. On the soft climb is where the attacks went and where we put in our biggest efforts. The F6R FCC accelerated so well on the climb and dealt with the cross/head wind as if it were not even there. Impressive for a 1625gram, 60mm deep wheel.
There were several 90-degree corners on the course and setup was critical, especially during the final lap as the finish line came just 50 meters after a right-hand 90-degree corner. We went so fast into that corner we actually gapped a teammate, because his wheelses was skipping through it. In fact, after the race spectators commented that they thought we were going to overshoot the corner we came in so fast.
The F6R FCC have such an amazing ability to deal with extreme cornering loads that you may find yourself winning when you were supposed to be leading out. These wheels are lightning fast. At speed they are so stable and smooth that you can really let it hang out with complete confidence in. We never noticed the wind grabbing the wheel and takingus off line. They just ignored the wind whether it was head or cross. These are the stiffest 60mm wheels we have tested. In fact, We’re embarrassed to say that we cannot get them to slap or make noise, even with efforts in excess of 1500watts. Either we need to get back to the gym for heavy squats or FFWD has made an incredible wheel set.We rode the same wheels on all three days, set up with Continental GP 4000.
We’re not a huge fans of the graphics that dominate the wheels, they take over the entire bike and all you see is FFWD, but there are other graphic options available. Of course, the same thing can be said about flashy white ENVE or ZIPP logos. The gloss clear coat grew on us and in some ways made the wheels look faster, a nice antidote to all the matte black out there. The braking was solid in the dry, on par with the top carbon clinchers, in the wet… we’ll it’s California, so we don’t know yet.
The FFWD F6R FCC we tested came equipped with FFWD branded DT Swiss hubs and retail for $2265. The rims can also be had with DT Swiss 240 and 180 hubs, which increases the price, but lowers the weight. FFWD calls the rim profile, DARC, and its ‘dual arc’ shape is designed to minimize cross wind interference and maximize aerodynamics. They feature a 20/24 spoke count and are hand built in the Netherlands. FFWD includes brake pads, rim tape, QR’s and a wheels bags, which is a nice bonus at this price point.
Unless you are a diminutive climber, the FFWD’s deserve serious consideration. The price is more than competitive and the wheels excel no only in conditions ideal for deep rims, their inherent stiffness helps them thrive in situations where their weight would imply otherwise.