More on Active Spokes
In my post on Active Spokes below I mentioned that my son, Dirk, was the lab rat for the field tests that were done to see what the effect of the device was in the real world (roll down tests were also done). Dirk completed two runs within a workout once or twice each week on a standard, rolling, 4.3-mile course in Boulder, CO. He would warm-up riding to the start position and then ride the course holding about 330 watts. At the completion of the first run he'd go home--a short distance from the course--and change to another wheel. In one run he would use the Active Spoke technology and in the other he would use the same type of wheel only without the Active Spoke. On some runs the Active Spoke wheel would be run first and on other it would be second. There is a weather station next to the course. Dr. Joe Voelkel from the Rochester Institute of Technology who set up the protocol and monitored the testing, checked the online wind reports from that station in order to better understand the external variables affecting the results. This testing went on throughout the summer of 2007.
The accompanying chart is from one of those tests. In run #1 the standard wheel (without Active Spoke) was used. The Active Spoke wheel was used in run #2. There were 24 minutes between the runs. These two runs are highlighted in black. Notice that in run #1 he averaged 334w and his time for the run was 9 minutes, 35 seconds. In run #2 with the Active Spoke he averaged 327w but was 48 seconds faster (8% improvement).
To check what he was seeing in the tests Dirk did one of the Wednesday night, 10-mile time trials (same course) with the Active Spoke and posted his fastest time ever, the fifth fastest of the summer's series results. He used a road bike with clip ons and had a 53 big chain ring (the other fast rides were done on aero bikes with 56s). At age 37 he is far from being one of the youngest guys in the Boulder race. He is thoroughly convinced of the benefits. (Go here to see the results from that race.)
Here's what he had to say about the race: 'When I crested a hill and started to accelerate, the weights transferred to the rim aiding the acceleration. I would actually feel the weights hit the rim and in some cases it meant I could shift to a bigger gear. It literally is like a small turbo booster.'
This field study will continue as soon as the weather in Boulder breaks. For more details go to http://www.active-spoke.com/.