In keeping with my new tradition of riding inappropriate wheels in the winter, fresh into the Test Rig this month are these beautifully hand built clinchers, which unite top quality parts to assemble what should be a very good, all-round wheelset.
Hubs supplied by the precise Portland, Oregon-based Chris King, carbon rims from West Jordan, Utah by way of the excellent Reynolds, are held together by a company rolling its way to nearly 100 years in the business, Sapim: these promise, on paper at least, to be one truly decent set of hoops.
The Attack rims are nearly identical in profile to the R32 wheels we tested last summer, and which accompanied us on an Alpine adventure.
The difference? Well, the absence of the Swirl Lip Generator (a shallow ridge which sits very close to the ‘nose’ of the rim either side of the spoke bed) may make these a little more susceptible to cross winds, and the carbon mix is a little different. Where the R32s use six individual carbon fibres for six parts of the rim, the Attack uses three: the brake track, rim profile, and rim hook bead all get individual attention.
This simpler construction brings down the price (£1,625, compared with £2,000 for the R32s), but not the weight. This build tipped our scales at 1,430 grams, compared to the 1,351 grams at which we weighed the R32s.
At the centre of each wheel sits what I am not ashamed to say is, in my small view, one of the best hubs in the world (so good that I have bought a pair for a future wheel build taking shape in the shed).
Chris King’s R45 hub genuinely feels like each one has been machined and polished with love.
Introduced to the world back in 2010, the R45 (named for its 45-tooth, stainless steel, ring-drive freehub mechanism, one that offers superb ‘pick up’), has a well-earned reputation in the peloton, as well as an enviable sealing design and simplicity of service. These hubs are clean, smooth, and beautifully made.
Lashing together this partnership of carbon master and machining specialist are the elegant (and, again, a favourite of this tester), Sapim CX-Ray spokes. At the front there are twenty, laced radially, and at the rear, twenty-four in a traditional three-cross pattern. The low spoke count and delicate aero profile of the CX-Ray spars gives this wheelset a delicate appearance, but, given the quality of materials deployed, and our previous experience of the constituent parts in other settings, we have no concerns about its rigidity.
Now we just need to get out and ride them. Check back soon for a full review.
Website: Chris King
Website: Reynolds Cycling
UK distributor: Evolution Imports