Turbulent Aero: Behind The Scenes

Posted by Joel Smith on

It may seem like Reserve suddenly appeared out of nowhere with Turbulent Aero tech and the 52|63 wheelset, but it was a long and arduous process, starting with purchasing a Piaggio MP 500 3-wheel scooter (not easy to find in the US) and building a full system for real-world data capture. With the data, we then used it in the wind tunnel to create one of the fastest, most stable wheelsets in the peloton. 
Scroll down to see some of the photos from our journey.
The concept behind Turbulent Aero comes from building design. Our partner RWDI has conducted wind engineering projects on structures like the London Millennium Bridge, International Commerce Centre in Hong Kong, Petronas Towers in Malaysia, Freedom Tower on the WTC Site, the second span of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, Taipei 101 Tower, and the mega-skyscraper Burj Khalifa, currently the world's tallest building.
The Piaggio MP 500 is a weird looking vehicle and something most people in the US have never seen in real life. It started like this and then only became odder as we installed our Turbulent Aero gear.
Things are definitely getting weirder. The scooter outfitted with all of the Turbulent Aero data capture equipment. 
The magic happens in here. 
And here...the air probes that captured the actual wind data.
One of the first places we collected data was from the Ironman course in Kona.
The crew checking to make sure that the system was gathering information as intended.
The first time the scooter goes into the wind tunnel.
Checking the data set to confirm the conditions we saw at Kona were replicated in the wind tunnel correctly.
Nervous moments for the engineers as they wait to see the results of the testing.
As aero as it gets.
Installing the data collection equipment to a Cervelo S5 for testing.
A little janky, but it worked.
It took an army.
A lonely wheel waits for the wind to blow.
Live rider testing on the wheelset that would eventually win a stage of the TDF.
Prepping the scooter for yet another data capture session.
Reserve's Nic McCrae doing some equipment calibration.
Group rider testing to understand wind flow in the peloton.

Maybe not winding, but definitely the long road.

The team from Reserve and Cervelo.

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