Tire dependence for the aerodynamics of yawed bicycle wheels

Constantin Jux, Andrea Sciacchitano*, Fulvio Scarano

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


The aerodynamic characteristics of a modern road cycling wheel in cross wind are studied through force- and planar PIV measurements in the TU Delft Open Jet Facility. The performance of the 62 mm deep rim is evaluated for three tire profiles, and yaw angles up to 24°. All measurements are executed at 12.5 m/s (45 km/h) freestream- and wheel-rotational velocity. The wheel's rim-tire section in crosswind is found to behave similar to an airfoil at incidence, ultimately resulting in a reduction of the wheel's aerodynamic resistance with increasing yaw angle magnitude. This phenomenon, also referred to as the sail-effect, is limited by the stall angle of the tire-rim profile. The stall angle is found to depend critically on the tire's surface structure. Larger stall angles, resulting in lower resistance, are obtained if the tire profile triggers laminar-to-turbulent boundary layer transition.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105294
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Wind Engineering and Industrial Aerodynamics
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • Cycling wheel aerodynamics
  • Drag minimization
  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Sail effect


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