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Vision delves deeper into wheels in '13

Published February 23, 2012

MALLORCA, Spain (BRAIN) Feb 23, 11:47 MT— Vision debuted its 2013 wheel line to two dozen international cycling journalists last weekend on the Spanish island of Mallorca.

Headlining the new range is the 1,495-gram Metron 81 wheelset with an 81-millimeter carbon fiber tubular rim, aero bladed spokes and new Metron front and rear hubs. Metron 81 replaces the 88-millimeter rim Metron 90, and is a result of six months of research, 900 computer simulations, testing of more than 100 Metron profiles and validation in a wind tunnel near San Diego.

“This wheel represents a massive step up for us,” said Fletch Newland, marketing manager for Vision, which is owned by FSA. “It’s been the result of a handful of years of devotion to try to figure out how to build a better mousetrap. That process, we hope, is getting us to the point where we may have earned the right to be in the discussion among the best wheel brands out there.”

Metron rims and hubs are manufactured in Taichung, Taiwan, by Tien Hsin, the Taiwanese company that owns FSA. A portion of TH’s factory is dedicated to carbon fiber rim production where 15 workers can hand build 72 rims per day. Hub production capacity is 2,000 per month and all hub internal parts are made at the factory. To support in-house hub production, TH invested in five-axis CNC machines for high precision hub shell and freehub manufacturing. The Metron will be sold exclusively in the aftermarket for around $2,000, and will be available in late spring.

For the U.S. market, Metron wheelsets will be assembled at FSA North America’s headquarters in Mukilteo, Washington. Assembly for Europe will be at FSA headquarters in Busnago, Italy.

Vision also introduced the new 1,100-gram Metron Disc built by combining a spoked Metron 90 wheel with a bonded carbon fiber cover. The disc is convex on the non-driveside and flat on the driveside and 200 grams lighter than Vision’s current traditional composite style. With the new version, albeit less traditional, the wheel is easily serviced and the rim can be replaced if necessary, Newland said. Vision has not compared drag data from the two different styles to determine if there is a price paid in loss of aerodynamics, although engineer testing suggests the Metron Disc is quite fast, said FSA/Vision managing director Matt VanEnkevort.

In all, Vision showed eight road and triathlon wheelsets at the 2013 launch. Vision was born at Kona in the 90s, and gained a reputation for its integrated aerobars. It branched into wheel R&D in 2007, four years after FSA acquired the brand, and released a complete line two years later. This year, 11 pro WorldTour, Continental, U23, track and women’s teams will ride Vision wheels and 22 teams are on Vision aerobars.

Nicole Formosa

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