Reynolds have made plenty of headlines over the past few seasons with their RZR, a super-light 910g aero wheelset with a £5,000 pricetag. For most of us though, what’s more interesting – and relevant – is how that high-end carbon fibre technology has trickled down to the more affordable Competitive road range, where you’ll find the Assaults.
They feature full-carbon, 46mm-deep rims, DT Revolution spokes and Reynolds’ own cartridge bearing hubs. Our test pair weighed in at 698g for the front and 899g for the rear (1,568g was claimed for the pair). The difference from the competition at this price is the rims; being full-carbon they have much less mass at the outside of the wheel than those with an aluminium braking surface.
This makes them quicker to spin up to speed, with acceleration from a standing start comparable to that of standard clinchers. The wind-cheating advantage of aero wheels comes into play when you’re going faster, and that’s certainly true here. These have a tenacious ability to hold onto higher speeds on the flat but are still stiff enough at the rear through hard cornering descents. We experienced occasional brake rub at the front at lean angles and occasionally when honking on the bar, but it’s nothing we couldn’t live with.
A usual downside with all-carbon rims is that under long descents with plenty of braking the rim can heat up, reducing braking power and even causing punctures. To counter this, Reynolds has developed a brake surface treatment, CTG, an open honeycomb-like surface that not only helps reduce the build-up of heat but also provides a braking feel similar to that of alloy, with none of the grabby nature of carbon rims of old.
A special set of brake pads is included with the wheels and these offer the best braking performance with the CTG surface, though we also had great results with SwissStop carbon pads. The cartridge bearing hubs are Reynolds’ own design, and though they’re well put together they’re not as smooth as those on Mavic’s equivalent wheels.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.