Reynolds Aero 46 and 58 Wheels Review
Reynolds Aero 46 and 58 Review
Review of the Reynolds Aero 46 and 58 Carbon Wheels
It was a sad day when I handed these Reynolds Aero 46 and 58 wheels back. For a while there, my bike met the holy trinity of more speed, less effort and looking seriously shit-hot…
As we reported in our Preview, the 46 AERO carbon clincher are new for 2014, and according to Reynolds “The 46 mm is Reynolds’ signature rim depth because it provides optimal aerodynamics across every discipline”.
Courtesy of Upgrade Bikes I also got the opportunity to make a direct comparison with the 58 Aero carbon clinchers and to mix and match the 46/58 wheels on the bike. Having the two wheel sets offered me the chance to swap the wheels about for conditions, and preference and performance.
Both sets of wheels are constructed in the same way with the same technologies, with the exception of the rim depth which has a unique profile, and come supplied with Reynolds Cryo-Blue brake pads, cassette spacer (for the 10 speed cassette option) and wheel bag. On purchase there is the option of an extended 2 year damage protection plan.
The rim width is pretty wide at 26.2mm, with only just enough clearance for my brake callipers, even adjusted to their widest capacity. This is worth considering if you are running older groupsets, like Ultegra 6700; since upgrading my callipers to 6800 there’s ample room for adjustment. Not a massive issue, my brakes still worked fine; there just wasn’t a great deal of modulation through the levers.
On the bike
On the glowing blue screen these wheels are a perfect complement to my aero frame. With Reynolds being the first company to put carbon clinchers into the market place, their experience and the technology in these wheels promises a lot.
On the bike these wheels look special. The finish is impeccable and the decals are handsome – it’s the small things that are sometimes the most pleasing.
The 46 Aero wheels respond with solid and positive stability, just on the right side of springy for my belligerent style of riding. They felt quick and incredibly responsive to kicks in power, fantastic cornering and had absolutely no trouble climbing our short, sharp gradients here in Sussex. The DT Swiss 240 hubs were solid and silky smooth with a nice timbre to the sound of the freewheel.
I’ll add the usual disclaimer here about not being a physicist: as a set of aero wheels they integrated flawlessly with my aero frame offering a ride that I have yet to find comparable with any other wheel set with this frame.
It is undeniable that these wheels had a positive impact on the speed and they were able to handle comfortably various conditions.
For me they live up to the Reynolds assertion that they are a great all-rounder wheelset, despite being aero – I’d be happy racing or riding in varied conditions and on any parkours with these wheels.
The award winning Aero 58s are a slightly different proposition. The ride is much stiffer and to a certain extent a little more demanding, in that they quickly find you out as a rider – my style of riding had to change a little to be more composed to handle the rigidity of the ride; certainly bringing these wheels up to speed took a small amount of additional effort, noticeable but not in any way concerning. Once up to speed the momentum was easily maintained with discernably less watts being pushed through the pedals with the payoff being more speed.
Mixing the two rim depths with a 46 up front and a 58 on the rear – I felt this wasn’t for me. For a start it made the bike look aesthetically unbalanced and I didn’t feel there was any great improvement in riding performance. Difficult to quantify but I really felt more at home having a matching set of wheel depths. I can see the benefit for a very hilly style time trial course, but for a crit, or a normal road race that kind of set up probably isn’t necessary.
Braking power with the Cryo-Blue pads is excellent, though a little disappointing in the wet considering the promises made by the CTg technology – you’ll stop, just not with the same level of performance as an aluminium rim.
Both sets of wheels complimented my aero frameset beautifully – it makes sense to have a set of aero wheels for all aero, all the time to reap the benefits the set-up has to offer – otherwise why buy an aero frameset at all?
As a point of preference, aesthetically speaking the 58s looked best, but I would personally buy and in fact endorse the Reynolds 46 wheel set – as a rider they suited me more and I felt they were a fantastic set of all-round wheels with enough aero credentials – I might leave it until 2015 though, as rumour has it the Reynolds range is about to go Tubeless ready.
It was a shame to hand them back, and I have been pining for them ever since.
If you’re keen on a moving visual then here’s a 3 minute video from Reynolds Cycling:
Reynolds – Aero 46 £1999.99
Reynolds – Aero 58 £2099.99
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