We previewed Reynolds’ new Aero wheel range at Eurobike, with designer Paul Lew explaining some of the properties of the Aero 58, 72 and 90 clincher rims.
The technology used has been trickled down from the company’s top-end RZR wheels, which were always seen as a proving ground rather than a product for the mass market. “We can test new technology without concern for market acceptance,” Lew told us at Interbike. “If it is accepted then we can migrate to more affordable products.”
That means instead of US$6,000 for a pair of wheels, they can be had for under US$3,000. Specifically US$2,975 for the Aero 90, US$2,875 for the Aero 72 and US$2,775 for the Aero 58. Not exactly a bargain, we know, but they’re now in line with other popular high-end wheelsets.
Claimed weights are 1,875g (4.13lb), 1,680g (3.7lb) and 1,580g (3.58lb) per pair for the three depths. Each is being built with 16/20 front/rear spokes on DT Swiss hubs.
The three rims have different profile shapes as well as depths
Each rim depth has a unique profile, so they’re not simply the same shape elongated or shortened to suit. The idea is to try to ensure that airflow stays attached to the rim for as long as possible, as it will reduce drag and improve handling.
Lew says that his computational fluid dynamics modelling and subsequent wind tunnel testing showed that, for example, a “step hook” at the edge of the shallower rims helped the air reattach but was unnecessary for the deeper rim. This helps the wheels perform in crosswinds.
Reynolds wind tunnel testing shows that the stall angle (wind angle where drag suddenly increases) for these wheels is greater than for their similar depth counterparts. That should mean more predictable handling, hence a more stable and faster ride.
BikeRadar will be testing the Reynolds Aero wheels in future, to see whether they stand up to the claims.