Null Winds Technology has announced US Patent 10,538,280, as the “first utility patent in history” for the common wheel fender.
“A continuation of US 9,878,745, the narrowly claimed aerodynamic upper wheel fairing invention adds to a broad portfolio of vehicle drag reduction IP — from bicycles to Formula racecars,” said a statement. “Introducing a new method that actually minimises open-wheel vehicle drag, the invention enables breakthrough performance gains.
“‘Wheel Fairing Reducing Vehicle Drag’ teaches that minimally shielding only the faster-moving upper wheel can maximise vehicle aerodynamic efficiency, especially when facing punishing headwinds.”
“Previous aerodynamic fenders were simply too large, inducing too much drag by extending too far downward, thereby negating the dramatic performance gains achievable from efficiently shielding only the most critical drag-inducing uppermost wheel,” said inventor Garth Magee, founder of Null Winds Technology.
“A small upper wheel fairing eliminates the highly magnified drag on the faster-moving upper wheel, enabling the use of wider, more stable tyres without significant loss in propulsive efficiency or crosswind stability.
“The aero gains are so significant that most road bike cyclists experience a remarkable 10-20% increase in speed when facing even moderately strong headwinds.”
The invention teaches that exposed upper wheels needlessly increase vehicle drag, since winds on the uppermost wheel often exceed twice the vehicle speed. Thus, all open-wheel vehicles are ‘needlessly inefficient’ – especially vehicles having wider tyres – being handicapped against headwinds by the exposed upper wheel.
Aerodefender has been extensively tested with proven performance. The invention also teaches that faster vehicles gain the most, thereby having an application for automotive vehicles and racecars. And shielding the upper wheel also increases lateral steering traction by reducing the drag-induced ground slip force, thereby enhancing stability at speed.
Evaluated and currently endorsed by Hawaii Ironman winner, Olympian and road cycling legend John Howard, the invention provides a new standard for minimising drag on bicycles, as well as for other open-wheel vehicles, from motorcycles to racecars. While reducing the pedalling effort required against headwinds, the invention can also extend battery range on electric bicycles in windy conditions, or when cycling generally above 15 mph under static conditions.
Magee currently holds numerous related vehicle drag-reduction IP, including open-wheel vehicle wheel fairings, inner and outer wheel skirt panels, as well as upper wheel deflectors for cargo trucks and trailers, and an auto-speed rolling road for bicycle trainers, or for use inside wind tunnels to more accurately measure vehicle drag under actual road operating conditions.
Null Winds Technology is now seeking partners to exploit this technology and related IP. Interested parties can contact Magee at 310-675-4111.