Silca Speed Balance + Speed Shield Kit
Performance oriented cyclists with carbon wheels can all benefit from SpeedBalance. Balanced wheels improve handling, comfort and confidence, particularly on high speed descents, while the aerodynamic benefits of the SpeedBalance magnet over spoke mounted magnets results in a wattage savings equivalent to a full wheel ceramic bearing upgrade at a tiny fraction of the cost.
12 Years ago I developed the world's first 82mm wheel..for the time period, the wheel was pretty exotic, much deeper and wider than anything else, and of course, it was fast. The wheel was met with immediate and tremendous success, winning a Tour de France Stage in it's debut, an Olympic Gold medal, Ironman Kona and ultimately a Tour Milenstein Award in Germany (the Oscars of the cycling world) ..all within a few weeks of each other. It also created a total panic within the mechanic ranks over a topic that was previously thought not to be an issue for bicycle wheels. That topic: Wheel Balance.
As carbon wheels become deeper, the longer valve stems have created a growing imbalance problem for the wheel. The rims themselves are already 2-8 grams heavier at the valve hole as the hole has to be heavily reinforced with carbon to prevent collapse of the hole. Then the the inner tube overlaps/seam are at the valve, (in tubulars, the base tape also overlaps here), the valve stem has a 2 ply rubber reinforcement at the valve, and of course, the valve stem itself which is metal and therefore heavier than the carbon fiber in the rest of the wheel. In total, a 60mm deep wheel typically has 10-16 grams of imbalance at the valve which is barely noticeable to the rider, but an 82mm deep rim requires an additional 20-25mm of valve extender adding another 3-4 grams.
At high speeds the pro cyclists were complaining of an oscillation that wasn't quite a 'speed wobble' but was disconcerting. I found myself flying all over the world talking with these athletes and ultimately ended up buying small lead weights from an auto parts supply store and bonding them inside the wheels with epoxy. Turns out that 15-20 grams of imbalance at high speeds was a big deal.
Over the years, I've probably epoxy balanced over 200 wheels for pro cyclists, Olympic athletes, Triathletes, Track racers and more.. Every one of them reported greater handling confidence on high speed descents and comfort as well as a smoother ride.
The idea to merge a rim balance with an aerodynamic spoke magnet came about much later, actually came about while thinking about making a better spoke magnet..the solution it seemed was to make something that was NOT a spoke magnet. With that, SpeedBalance was born. A small medical grade silicone pod which adheres to the rim and contains all the elements you need to customize it to your wheels.
This product was added to our catalog on June 1, 2017