Pro mountain biker and SRAM employee Jason Blodgett learned a practical lesson from his time in the Zipp test lab in Indianapolis: “Wear gloves when riding on the RollingRoad!”
It’s a rough road by design.
Zipp engineers created a high-tech bike-treadmill, dubbing it the “RollingRoad™,” inside the Indianapolis test lab to study and verify Zipp’s Total System Efficiency approach for wheel design. The RollingRoad is a bit like rollers modified by mad scientists: Harnessed riders rattling over bumps simulating gravel, potholes, crumbling pavement or (of course) cobblestones.
The goal is to analyze the efficiency of different wheel-tire configurations over various surfaces in the controlled environment of the lab. The RollingRoad was crucial in the development of Zipp’s Total System Efficiency approach to wheel design and its focus on wider tires running at lower tire pressure.
Zipp’s Total System Efficiency focuses on overcoming the four barriers to speed: Wind resistance/aerodynamics, gravity/weight, rolling resistance, and vibration loss. The RollingRoad is especially effective at evaluating two of those: rolling resistance and vibration loss.