Over the last couple of years, I’ve been fortunate enough to try several sets of Reynolds wheels. I’ve also had a number of discussions about the evolution of range thanks to helping Reynolds out on their demo programme at some of Wiggle’s sportives during 2013.
I’ve been looking forward to writing this post for months as I’m genuinely excited about the 2014 range of Reynolds Road wheels.
The big development for 2013 was the launch of the Aero range of mid to high end wheels. My contacts at Reynolds have been really bullish about the performance of these wheels and if you’ve read the reviews, so has anyone who’s tested them. The Aero range seem to be new benchmark for aero carbon wheels in what is a tough and fiercely competitive market. For 2014, Reynolds will also launch a 46mm deep addition to the Aero range, called the Aero 46 unsurprisingly. Retail price will be £1,999 in the UK.
Paul Lew, Reynolds Director of Innovation and Technology, is probably the Adrian Newey of the aero wheel industry and is certainly one of the smartest and most experienced guys in the marketplace. Paul has 20 years of experience in designing and building carbon wheels and we’re seeing perhaps his best work to date coming through in a range of wheels that seems to me to be without peer for now.
So if 2013, was the year that brought us the Aero range, 2014 sees the launch of a totally new performance range with ground up redesigns of the Attack, Assault and Strike carbon clinchers.
I think this is particularly big news – especially as Reynolds say the new Assault and Strike are 35% more aero. That’s a big, big jump for what is some of the most affordable cutting edge designed aero wheelsets on the market.
The new performance range see the thinking and design technology began in the super expensive and super advanced RZR range. This first evolution of the design was into the cutting edge Aero range. launch in 2013, but that’s still around £2k per wheelset (fantastic if you can spend that much). This second generation/evolution brings the Reynolds Performance line of wheels in at around £1300 retail, which is more affordable for many more riders.
Again in my conversations Reynolds, they are very, very excited about this range and I can’t see anything that competes right now in terms of being a state of the art aero design at a good weight from a top tier manufacturer at a relatively mainstream price point. I’ll say it now, if you’re shopping for a set of aero wheels in 2014 and can’t stretch to the Aero range, or Zipp Firecrest, or ENVE Smart System – I believe the new Assault and Strike from Reynolds should be at the top of your shopping list.
The new Assault is a 41mm depth (down from 46mm in the old wheel) and features a wide rim (good for up to 25mm tyres) and Reynolds Swirl Lip Generator (previously only seen on £2k wheelsets) in a compelling weight of 1475gms a pair. This is the killer wheel in the line up to me – high aero performance in a rim depth that will suit a big range of bikes at sensible price point, still light enough to work as a climbing wheel – a genuine all-rounder.
If you want more aero performance still you can order a combo of a front Assault (41mm) and a rear Strike (62mm) for a combined weight of 1525gms per set – still light enough for climbing to me but with an extra helping of aero!
If you’re an early adopter of a road disc bike – Reynolds will be releasing the new Assault in a disc specific version.
The 2014 Strike is now a 62mm depth with the same wide rim (25mm) design as the Assault and with the Swirl Lip Generator and is again a 35% increase in aero performance over the previous wheel. The Strike wheelset comes in at 1635gms a pair and would make a fine triathlon/time trial wheelset or an all-round aero wheelset for flatter terrain.
I’ve spent quite a bit of this year riding a set of the current generation Reynolds Attack wheels and they continue to impress me. Fast, comfortable, good looking, roll well, brake well. I’ve really, really enjoyed them. The completely new design for 2014 should make them even better. The Attack’s also gain the 25mm wide rim, which should improve, comfort and handling further. They have a new aero profile (29mm deep compared to the previous 32mm) thanks to CFD testing for better aero performance and the weight comes down to 1365gms a pair.
I think the appeal of these is that you get a full carbon clincher at a low weight but a relatively affordable price with much better aero performance than a standard box section alloy wheelset. If you want some aero boost but like to climb – or simply don’t like the look of deeper section wheels on your bike – the 2014 Attack is worth serious consideration.
I feel that the killer wheel in the line-up is the 2014 Assault – Wide rim for comfort, handling and aero. A completely new aero design with the Swirl Lip Generator giving 35% more performance. 41mm is a great all round depth and will look as good on my steel Stoemper as it would on an aero bike. They’re still light at just under 1500gms a pair making them strong for all terrains and personally I think the £1299 retail price is excellent value. For those who want to maximise aero for sensible money, then I think the Assault/Strike combo will be hard to beat too.
Reynolds will also be releasing a completely new brake pad set before the end of 2014, specifically designed for the resins used in their designs that they say will make a significant improvement in braking performance, so I’m guessing these will be an essential upgrade as soon as they arrive in the UK.
As well as the new carbon road wheels, Reynolds are introducing a new range of alloy road wheelsets too. The Stratus Pro which will retail for £649.99 (or £699 as disc wheelset) weighing in at 1445gms a pair with 22.6mm deep rims that are 20mm wide. There is also a cheaper and heavier Stratus Elite featuring a 26mm rim and weighing in at 1920gms a pair. The Stratus Elite’s come in at a very affordable £199 a pair.
Please post any questions you have, I have some more tech info, so if you feel I’ve not answered all the most obvious questions please post them here in the comments.
I can’t wait to try some of these new wheels – if, as and when I do – I’ll post my thoughts here!
Oh and here’s a short video from Reynolds about the company which shows a little of their wheels being manufactured….
Thanks for reading