Thoughts on FLO gravel wheel breakage & the carbon/gravel intersect

I purchased some FLO 700c gravel wheels, slapped some 35mm tires on them, and took them racing. The course was hard packed gravel but I raced the wheels with high-40’s psi. That’s much higher than I would normally run for a gravel race but, you know, new carbon rims and all.

The front wheel broke in two places during the race. Ha! :smiley: Sooooo…not great durability, there.

FLO doesn’t replace broken wheels. Oops. But they did confirm that they would rec running these wheels at 65psi with 35mm tires. I’m not sure that fits well with a gravel application. That’s a sky-high pressure on gravel…and I’m a guy who normally rides a sky-high pressure on gravel! :crazy_face: But mid-40s…not all the way up to the 60 psi range. That’s what I run on my road bike.

FLO rec’ed riding a bigger tire for lower pressure. I agree! But that only serves to obviate the depth of the rim profile as the tire size starts to be >> than the rim width.

For me the bottom line is actually that I like these wheels. They test pretty fast with the right tire on them. With a 32mm conti the FLO G700 is (for me) indistinguishable from a set of tri-spokes. Really, the proper use model for the wheels is ultra-endurance, chip seal roads where road quality can be a little sketchy in spots. The wheels are at least beefy enough to handle some sketch (at road pressures) and are certainly comfortable & fast…again at road pressure.

But, honestly, if you want a gravel wheelset, you should look elsewhere. These wheels aren’t quite up to the task.

Can you give more info about the actual failure and what exactly you think lead to it?

With respect to tire pressure, what is your weight? I’ve run 35-45 psi on my old gravel setup with 33mm Bontrager CX0 tires, but I only weigh 145lbs nekkid, so relatively light loading on the tires.

Wow! I’m glad I opted to not get those wheels! I’d be curious to see why/how they failed.


I don’t want to say that they ‘failed’ because that makes it sound possibly more catastrophic than it was. Basically it was a side strike on a descent that caused a tear in my sidewall. In less than a couple miles I had to stop, spin the tire, put in some CO2. Then I was able to ride on.

It’s not like the wheel flew apart and sent me over the bars.

On the other hand, with the nature of the side-strike, I doubt have 20 more psi in the tire would have saved the rim. It just would have made the bike jump to the side more when the strike occurred. This is the type of thing that happens during almost every gravel race…and half a dozen times on a chunky gravel ride.

On further inspection, there is actually another spot on the rim that broke…this one is much harder to see:


Far from conclusive, but I play with the Silca Tire Pressure Calculator and this is one guess based upon the info you provided.

So in the ballpark of what you ran (maybe higher?).

I know FLO has their own chart, and it seems to align with the Silca swag I did above:

This is all based upon a guess on the bike and related weight added over and above pure rider weight, so I could be off either way from my estimate.

Yeah, I typically like to ride at 45 to 50 psi depending on the surface.

I’ve seen the FLO guidance…but the number I’m repeating on this forum is based on a direct quote from Jon at FLO. I told him I’m a 175lbs rider, he told me ‘We would have recommended 60psi or higher.’ :smiley: So that was after the rim broke…I guess that table is a pressure recommendation BEFORE your rim breaks. :crazy_face:

But, still, I’d use these wheels on my ultra bike without reservation. If I put some 32’s on them they would be the ultimate aero chip seal solution. And I’d worry a lot less about what pot holes might exist out there on the open road. At road pressure, they can handle it. I just don’t think the FLO G700 is a good solution for gravel.

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Warranty is a big deal IMHO. Despite only having a 2 year warranty, I bought Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V wheels for gravel. Love 'em so much they are my daily training road wheels because the wide wheels are so much more comfortable than my Enve 5.6 disc racing wheels. Enve has been fantastic, three times I’ve had ‘this doesn’t look right’ issues and they swapped out for new wheels. Selling the Enve and looking at either the Enve 4.5 AR or Roval Rapide CLX (waiting for tubeless compatible version).

It could be simply that it was a bad hit from the side that would have damaged most wheels at a realistic pressure.


Jeez…I basically run this on my road wheels w/ 28’s (~155 lbs). 65 psi on 35’s for gravel? Hard pass on that.

I think FLO has a pretty good rep for backing up their products so this could just be a case of bad luck…but their comments re: tire pressure definitely give me some pause.

Yep. I did ask the direct question, ‘We are talking about tire pressure but I just want to be clear, regardless of what pressure I was running you wouldn’t have warrantied the wheel, correct?’

The answer was, correct. So, I want to be clear on this forum as well: It doesn’t matter what pressure you run on FLO gravel wheels. If they break FLO is not going to warranty them. Jon was very clear about that.



Well, I wouldn’t expect them to warranty a wheel that was broken through general use…if it was due to a defect, that would be a different issue entirely.

Yet, Zipp and ENVE(Roval too?) will happily replace theirs…

And the majority of their wheels are significantly more expensive, too…the cost of those programs is baked into the cost of their goods. It is just a marketing tool.

“And the majority of their wheels are significantly more expensive, too…the cost of those programs is baked into the cost of their goods. It is just a marketing tool.”

All-in cost to the user I agree with @WindWarrior, Bontrager looks like a really good deal. About the price of a FLO wheel but real-deal warranty. I think for two years. Better hub, too.

No arguments from me…FLO once had a very unique place in the marketplace with very good wheels at a huge competitive price advantage, plus the pull of “getting in” on pre-sales.

The gap has essentially become non-existent now…IMO, there is zero advantage to their Gravel wheels. Significantly heavier and ~the same price as entry wheels from ENVE (Foundation wheels) or the S wheels from Zipp.

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Marketing tool or not, in this scenario @Brennus wouldn’t be laying out more cash for a replacement…

One Flo G700 is $769/$819(F/R). A Zipp 303FC is $944/$995(F/R), one taco’d wheel more than pays the difference.

Right, but the up front cost would have been roughly $1000 more on one comparison I see ($1588 FLO G700 vs $2550 Enve G23 700), so I think that is what Power13 is getting at.

Pay me now, pay me later sort of thing. With Enve and other “premium” brands, they are potentially more willing and able to eat the cost of a replacement vs FLO that is seemingly making less margin on the initial sale. Largely speculation on my part, but it’s similar to other aspects in the industry that follow that template.

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