The South Africa-based brand, Zagon Composites, is set to launch its range of carbon wheelsets on these shores, boasting an innovation approach to aerodynamics called Trailing Airflow Optimization.
Zagon Composites was founded by Marcel Genis in 2015 after he completed his master’s degree in mechanical engineering under the leadership of Prof Attie Jonker, renowned founder of Jonker Sailplanes, the world’s foremost manufacturer of high-performance sail planes.
As a post-grad engineering student, Genis focused on the structural design of composite materials and the optimization of airflow across airfoils. In addition to Genis’ academic background, he is also an Ironman triathlete who competed at international level, giving him significant insights into what competitive cyclists expect from carbon wheels.
“There are better methods to design carbon wheels to improve the aerodynamic characteristics thereof and for the bicycle as an integrated system significantly. To achieve this, he purposely decided to follow a different engineering design approach for his carbon bicycle wheels which became known as the Trailing Airflow Optimization design approach. With this approach the primary focus is to use the latter section of the front wheel to redirect airflow away from the bicycle to reduce the resulting drag forces on the bicycle and cyclists. A latent benefit from this design approach is that it allowed the engineering team the opportunity to rethink and redesign the airfoil’s parabolic shape at the rim’s spoke bed to improve the re-attachment of airflow to the latter section of the carbon wheel from various angles of oncoming crosswinds,” explains Genis.
According to Dr Bouwer, who is responsible for strategic innovation and growth at Zagon Composites, “there are several reasons for the aggressive move to serve customers in the North Americas market; (1) with the release of the 2nd generation wheelsets the company will not only focus on triathletes but also road cyclists as well where the US provides the critical mass for the highly competitive road cyclist market segment, (2) to meet the aggressive production growth target of more than 3,000 wheelsets annually, establishing partnerships as a supplier for US bicycle OEMs will be a critical component for their B2B growth strategy and finally (3) to grow beyond an annual revenue target of US$10 million, Zagon will carefully select opportunities to increase brand recognition with the large US and Canadian consumer base to grow B2C online e-commerce sales through the Zagon website or other digital marketplace partners.”
Zagon Composites will initially enter the US market with 40mm, 60mm and 90mm deep section carbon wheelsets with various preconfigured combinations for both rim and disc brake road models.
Breaking with the tubeless tire trend, the rim brake wheels are designed for high pressure usage, with the goal of delivering optimal strength and durability to handle high rotational braking forces while functioning at extreme high temperatures close to 200˚C. On the other hand, the disc brake wheelsets will be tubeless ready since the clincher area of the rim doesn’t need to perform within the same strenuous conditions.
The product development roadmap for 2021 includes the development of a new hub design to reduce weight and further optimize airflow dynamics and a new all-terrain carbon wheelset that’s aerodynamically optimized for 28 mm tires while it can support tire sizes from 28 mm to 45 mm wide for the growing gravel segment.
Additional information is available at www.zagoncomposites.com.
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