Knight Composites may be a new name in the cycling industry, but the 65 Carbon Fibre/DT Swiss 240s Road Wheelset proves that the veteran design team behind the label knows that, when it comes to race wheels, less is more. At a claimed 1,604g, the Knight 65 Wheelset compares favorably to the two industry leaders, gaining just 40g (but costing hundreds of dollars less) compared to one and losing over 200g compared to the other.
Of course, the less-is-more truism isn't always accurate, as more millimeters in depth and more pre-production R&D result in more aerodynamic benefits and more secure handling. Plus, a little more DT Swiss 240s never hurts, either, on this model of the 65 includes two hub-shaped scoops. Whatever the metric, though, Knight was formed by three industry veterans who largely designed the standards of today and wanted a vehicle to push those standards into the future.
To achieve this, Knight developed what it's calling Trailing Edge Aerodynamic Manipulation Technology (TEAM Tech), which reinvents the aerodynamics of the wheel. Instead of creating an aerodynamic leading edge, or even just an aerodynamic tire-to-rim transition, TEAM Tech designs wheels as part of a bicycle-wide system of aerodynamics that includes tires, rims, fork, and frame. This system began with Computational Fluid Dynamics software, proceeded through no fewer than two rounds of wind tunnel testing, and ate up hundreds of test models and multiple extra months to even produce the Knight 65's final test models.
The result of the laborious TEAM Tech process is a cross-section that describes a tapered parabola rather than the sharp point of a NACA airfoil or the overly-rounded "U" shape of wheels that are dominating the market today — and that Knight's founders were instrumental in creating. This new shape meets TEAM Tech's mandate by gradually widening airflow across the rim, which swells from 25.5mm at the slimmest part of the brake track up to 28mm at the widest point before tapering into the spoke face. This rim shape guides air in stability from tire to rim to down tube in order to minimize the drag caused by pockets of stalled air in the wake of the bicycle system's separate components.
The TEAM Tech design is proven in the FASTER wind tunnel. At low yaw angles, the Knight 65 maintains a consistent advantage of at least 30 grams of drag force than the leading competition in this depth. Once yaw hits the more common angles of 12 degrees and more, this advantage explodes to as much as four times that amount. Where other wheels of this depth struggle in less-than ideal conditions, the Knight 65 shines by giving you more advantage while the competition flags.
Those improved results at high yaw angles also produce positive effects on handling in crosswinds, since Knight's focus on trailing edge aerodynamics effectively pushes the side forces that cause erratic lateral movement to the back of the wheel. Steering remains predictable and correction is relatively intuitive under changing conditions — especially when compared to the pure NACA airfoil models that many manufacturers are still producing.