Lateral stiffness on a cycling wheel is the sideways displacement while forces/loads are being applied by the rider.
As a competitive cyclist, lateral stiffness affects performance the mostly during the moment of sharp accelerations, which will regularly encounter during a race, or in a final sprint, right before the finish line.
A stiff wheel flexes little. The more stiff a wheel is built, the less power will loss due to the springing deformation of the wheel. However, there have been arguments in recent years that if a wheel is too stiff, it will reduce the overall speed of a ride. A ‘zero’ lateral displacement wheel will loss its ability to act as a suspension. Building a wheel with appropriate stiffness will not only provide shock absorption to optimize overall speed and at the same time maximize the force transfer during a sprint finish.
The followings are the main concerns in our lab that we have considered during the development of our wheels:
- Spoke – tension / gauge / cross / direction
- Hub – Flange / location / diameter
- Rim – sharp / weight / height