4 folks from Zipp traveled to Mooresville, NC just before the holidays to test a bunch of wheels and tires in the A2 Wind Tunnel and we were allowed to stop by. Head of Zipp Advanced Development Michael Hall, Zipp Test Engineer John Fearncombe, Zipp Master Wheelbuilder Nic James and David Ripley from the Zipp marketing team made up this 4 man delegation and they spent a whole day in the tunnel, after flying in the night before. By the time they arrived at the A2 Wind Tunnel with a big load of wheel bags, some of the tires who had just been exposed to rolling resistance tests were virtually already eliminated. But there was plenty more testing to do with new widths and dimple patterns, and both wheels and tires were tested against products from competitors and the current Zipp lineup.
It is not often that we encounter objects without an athlete in the tunnel.
Master Wheelbuilder Nic James gets a wheel ready for the wind tunnel.
Dave Ripley goes over some of the data with Michael Hall, the man in charge of the test.
All wheels get checked in before they enter the wind tunnel, and the Zipp team worked like a well oiled machine.
One of the test wheels is doing its job in the tunnel at a variety of jaw angles.
David Salazar of A2 is in the tunnel to swap out wheels.
Dave Ripley looks on as the next wheel is mounted.
Meanwhile in the front room Michael Hall is watching the numbers closely - fueled by quite a bit of coffee.
Test Engineer John Fearncombe also was busy and even at this later stage of the day had most of his lunch still parked on his desk.
Another wheel is ready to go in.
Here are some of the wheel bags the crew came with.
Tires were lined up on the floor and clearly labeled to allow for an error free tire swap.
Nic James truly had his hands full all day, and he is the one who also builds the wheels for all sponsored athletes and teams.
And this wheel is waiting for the countdown and the test run.
All images © Herbert Krabel / slowtwitch.com