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Tech & Wearables

Tech Podcast: What is a sinusoidal rim shape and why does it matter?

Princeton CarbonWorks makes wheels that feature a sinusoidal rim pattern. What does that mean, and what benefits do riders derive from it?

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Princeton Carbonworks’ wavy wheels very likely aren’t the first you’ve seen, even though they have actually been on the market longer than Zipp’s more well-known 454 NSW wheels, with their sawtooth patterns. But Princeton’s wheels aren’t sawtooth at all; the rims are a sinusoidal shape, and the pros are taking note — Richard Carapaz tested out Princeton’s Wave 6560 wheels during the second rest day at the 2020 Tour de France.

So what exactly is a sinusoidal rim shape?

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This episode of the VeloNews Tech Podcast will give you the answer to that question. Princeton Carbonworks’ co-founder and CEO Harrison Macris joins me to give the skinny on the science behind those wavy rims. It turns out there’s more to it than just aerodynamics; the sinusoidal shape also contributes to the ride feel of the wheels, as well as the overall strength and stiffness.

Grit 4540 wheels
Photo: Dan Cavallari | VeloNews.com

Macris also talks a bit about what makes Princeton’s wheels different from Zipp’s 454 NSW wheels, which look similar but actually aren’t a sinusoidal pattern.

On top of that, Macris gives us a bit of history on where Princeton CarbonWorks comes from — the story starts in boats — and why the company decided it could make a better wheel in the first place. It won’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Princeton values the wheel as a whole, and the ultimate goal was to create a better wheel generally, not just one that was aerodynamically more efficient. Find out what that means, and how Princeton pulled it off.

Photo: Brad Kaminski | VeloNews.com

If you have questions about this episode of the VeloNews Tech Podcast, or if you have suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover on a future episode, feel free to reach out to tech editor Dan Cavallari via email, Twitter, or Instagram.