Reynolds Assault carbon wheels – £899.99
Reynolds’ Assault wheels are the latest from a company rapidly building a reputation for making superfast carbon wheels, and with the Assault pair it’s hoping to make carbon wheel ownership a little less expensive.
Just a few years ago the idea you could get a pair of deep-section carbon wheels for less than a grand would have seemed a crazy notion, but as development continues at a rapid pace the technology is trickling down, bringing with it the price to a more affordable level.
The Assault wheels feature a full uni-directional carbon rim with a depth of 46mm, are clincher-only and feature a ‘scrim’ braking layer. Hubs are nothing fancy, but they’re designed to Reynolds’ specifications and work without fuss. DT supplies the spokes, with 20 Revolution in the front and 24 Revolution/Competition in the rear wheel – radial everywhere except 2x on the rear wheel drive side. You’ll need to go further up the range to find aero spokes.
The nipples, for aerodynamic reasons, have been located inside the rim and out of the air flow – a special tool is provided which allows adjustment from inside the rim. During this test, in which several hundred miles have been logged including several races and a couple of sportives and much riding to work in-between, the wheels have remained absolutely true and no nipple tweaking has been required.
In use, the wheels are very impressive. The 46mm deep-section profile means the wheels slice through air and maintaining speed on attacks is a glorious feeling. Accelerating up to speed is made easier due to the wheels’ stiffness – there’s very little discernable flex when pushing them hard. Their lack of softness is noticeable in the corners, where they hold on tight, and when you flick out of the corner and jump out of the saddle to launch into the next straight, the wheels respond with astounding immediacy.
Braking is normally the Achilles heel of all-carbon wheels, none so more than in wet weather, but here Reynolds have attempted to solve the problem by moulding a ‘scrim’ layer to the braking surface. This makes a noticeable difference, there’s no pulsing and they withstand heat build-up on long descents or under heavy braking to a great effect. There is some squealing, occasionally, but not enough to annoy.
Perhaps the most surprising element of these wheels is just how tough they are. You might expect a carbon wheelset to be fragile, to be saved only for racing or Sunday best when there’s not a cloud in the sky, but the Assaults throw that myth straight out of the window. They’re impressively strong and tough, and withstand all sorts of abuse, which is handy if you want to get your money’s worth and use them as much as possible. Even a few pothole strikes at speed have caused absolutely no alarm for the wheels’ ability to cope.
Rim tape comes pre-fitted, from the box the wheels are ready to ride and Reynolds supplies suitable brake blocks and alloy quick release levers. There’s even a pack of three plastic tyres inside the box too. Complete weight is 1,550g.