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Reynolds 46 Aero Disc

If you thought disc brake wheels weren't catching on, Reynolds have proved you wrong with these beauties

The name Reynolds is forever entrenched in cycling history thanks to the company’s iconic lugged steel frames, and Reynolds Cycling is an American division created in the early 90s for the purpose of creating carbon components. It’s fair to say that Reynolds are equally at the top of the game in carbon as they once were in steel.

Reynolds introduced the world to the carbon clincher wheelset, and a long standing partnership with engineer Paul Lew means the company are still producing wheels to compete with the very best today. Exhibit A being their 46 Aero wheels.

If you’re shy of an acronym or two, these wheels are going to make you dizzy as there are a whole load of technical terms thrown around in describing them. First up is DET, or Dispersive Effect Termination, which is the thought process behind the teardrop profile of the rims. There’s also BWI (brake wear indicator), a red strip embedded in the brake track to let you know when the carbon is becoming excessively worn away.

There’s far more than meets the eye with Reynolds’ wheels, and they’re packed full of smart tech that makes them some of the best on the market

And it doesn’t end there. ISH (integrated step hook) means the edge of the rim has been shaped to create a channel between rim and tyre to smooth air flow; CR6 is so-called because of the six layers of carbon used in the layup and CTg is a high-temperature resin used to better cope with heat during braking.

In short, there’s far more than meets the eye when it comes to Reynolds’ wheels, and so there should be when you’re trying to justify and aero upgrade that’ll cost you just shy of £2,000. One thing that’s special about the set here is they’re disc brake ready, as Reynolds have chosen to re-work one of their most successful road wheels ready for the next generation of disc brake road bikes.

The 46 is the depth of the rim in millimetres, and width-wise it’s actually the narrowest in the range, which also includes 58s, 72s and 90s, although the 46s are currently the only ones available in this disc-ready format. And while the rim brake versions are available in either tubular or clincher formats, the disc brake wheels are clincher only and weigh in at a claimed 1,625g.

  • Price: £1,899.99
  • Weight: 1,625g
  • Website: Reynolds
  • UK distributor: Upgrade

All the wheels in the range share the DET profile which, in layman’s terms, rejects the blunt (or snub-nosed) rim and sticks with the teardrop airfoil shape more commonly associated with aeroplane wings.
The result, according to Lew, is a wheel which performs as well at lower speeds as a competitor, say Zipp’s 303, does at high speeds. There’s a whole lot more behind it, and Lew has written a whole paper on the subject, but it’s the CTg technology that’s more likely to appeal to the everyday rider as the excellent braking in the dry, and solid braking in the wet, is a more important factor.

Reynolds reckon the 46 Aero is the best all-round wheel money can buy. It’s quite a claim to live up to, but they certainly blow away most of their rivals in the disc brake category, that’s for sure.

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