Over the last couple of months, I’ve been lucky enough to have been riding a pair of Reynolds Attack wheels. I’ve ridden them on three different bikes, in cold and hot weathers, when it’s still and in strong winds. The only conditions I’ve not spent a lot of time on them in is the wet – just a little bit (unusual for British riding I know).
On each bike I’ve ridden them on, they’ve made the bike bike feel nicer and better to ride. They have a fantastic ride quality, just a hint of aero benefit by feel. These are not full on aero wheels to be certain but the upside is that the 32mm depth full carbon rims look relatively subtle yet still great on every bike I’ve seen them on.
Alongside the ride quality is the comfort. This was a genuine surprise to me as my limited experience with full carbon clinchers to date is that they’re stiff, very stiff. If you add them onto a stiff frame, it can be a double whammy but even on a comfortable frame, they stiffen up the ride. So until I spent time on the Attacks I had thought that to get more speed from your wheels with a carbon clincher you had to give up comfort – not true.
One of the things I’ve learnt from getting closer to the bike industry in the last few years is that it’s always good to ask people in the trade what of their own products that they use. The answer’s never been quite what I expected. In the case of Reynolds, Paddy had told me he spent the last year on a pair of Attacks and rode them in all weathers and conditions. With the Attacks being the entry level full carbon clincher for Reynolds, I’d expected him to have chosen something more expensive. Within a few weeks on the Attacks, I could completely see why.
Most of my road riding has been on reasonably decent alloy factory wheelsets like the Easton EA90 SLX or Campagnolo Neutron Ultras I own and Mavic Ksyrium SL – good wheelsets but the Reynolds Attacks are a comfortable step in ride quality and performance. In fairness they’re also a chunk more money at either the recommended retail of £1099 or the discounted prices you can find them for with a bit of poking about.
Reynold’s made a small change between the 2012 and 2013 model years with a change from j-bend spokes to straight pull spokes and hubs. This has dropped 30-40gms and to my mind the hubs look cleaner but it’s tweak rather than a performance evolution. The graphics on the 2013 are a bit nicer to me with less white on the decals. There is also now an 11 speed Shimano freehub available.
Another point I wanted to mention is the hubs. They’re not the same DT Swiss internals of the high end Reynolds wheels but I’ve had no issues at all with them. They’re relatively quiet, they roll well and if you do want to change freehubs from Shimano to Campag for example it’s a very simple two minute job with 2x 5mm Allen keys (or a 10mm one if the hub comes a bit more apart). Very little mechanical skill is needed.
The Reynolds Cryo Blue brake pads work very well – in fact a friend who tried them just yesterday said that they braked better than his alloy rims. I wouldn’t go quite that far but they brake well and the pads seem to wear at a reasonable rate. Reynolds will be releasing a new pad at Eurobike in September that they say will brake as well if not better than alloy rims in wet or dry. It’s a big claim but Reynolds are on a bit of a roll right now (excuse the pun). There new Aero series has claimed the high performance aero crown from Zipp and ENVE and there’s more to come. The new brake pads are designed specifically for the resin compounds used in Reynolds wheels.
So how would I sum up my thoughts on the Attacks?
I think they’re a fantastic performing high value low profile carbon clincher. They offer comfort, ride quality, a step up in performance over most box section aluminium rims. They’re strong, reliable, good looking and don’t shout “AERO” to anyone who sees your bike. They’re a good climbing wheel too at a relatively low weight of 1400gms a pair. Even if you’re riding a full on aero bike, these wheels would work but probably not be optimal. For any other non-aero frame, these are a lovely combination of stealth, aero, comfort and cool.
The Attack is a relatively old rim design now and new models will be coming but if you’re looking for a new wheelset right now, I really can’t see you being disappointed with the Attacks. I’ve been loving riding them and it’ll be a sad day when I have to give them back. Would I spend my own money on them? Yes I would, particularly for my Stoemper and my Kinesis. Whilst they work well on my NeilPryde aero bike – for that bike in a perfect world I’ve have a set of the Aero series – either 58’s or 72’s but I’ve still happily enjoyed riding the Attacks on my Alize.
If you’re thinking about buying some but want to try them first – Reynolds also has a demo programme. If you contact your local stockist they can get a pair in for you to try, something no other wheel brand offers that I’m aware of. Of course the danger of trying them is that you’ll probably place an order. As a disclaimer I’ve been working with Reynolds on their demo programme at some of the Wiggle Sportives this year and I’ve seen riders have that “issue” – a few hours out riding on these wheels and a surprisingly high proportion of testers have then bought wheels. Yes, it’s part of the idea of a demo programme but it also shows how much people have been enjoying them (other than just me).
You can find out all of the technical details you like on these wheels here: http://www.reynoldscycling.com/index.php?p_resource=items_wheels_item&p_itm_pk=669
My first thoughts on the Attacks were here: http://girodilento.com/2013-reynolds-attack-first-ride-review/
If you’ve got any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for reading