The Reynolds Assault CX was one of the first mainstream disc-compatible carbon tubular wheelsets to hit the market, and has a lot going for it on paper: it’s pretty light, the hubs are smooth, and it’s rather snappy. It’s too bad, then, that the rims are so narrow.
The Assault CX is essentially the same as the road-going Assault except for a few key changes to make it disc brake friendly: the hubs use 24-hole drilling front and rear, the rear hub is 135mm across, and the DT Swiss Revolution spokes are laced two-cross all around to combat the stresses of disc brakes.
Not surprisingly, then, they feel very similar. The stiff, 46mm-deep carbon rims lend a snappy feel and good responsiveness under power and through hard corners, and the extra four spokes up front provide a good boost in stiffness relative to the standard Assault. Meanwhile, the cartridge bearing hubs (made by Chosen in Taiwan) roll with admirably little friction and offer a reasonably quick 12-degree engagement speed.
We found those hubs very easy to service when necessary, too, and while Reynolds doesn’t advertise as such, they’re shared with the company’s mountain bike range so are convertible to thru-axle fitments. They’re also impressively light at 1,433g per set (648g front, 785g rear, plus 119g for skewers) – about 50g heavier than Reynolds’ 1,385g claim.
We would have preferred to see Reynolds go one critical step further, however, with a rim that’s better suited to the wheels’ cyclocross billing. Being shared with the road-going Assault, the CX’s rim measures just 21mm across and the tire bed is notably deep and V-shaped – not exactly ideal for voluminous ‘cross tubulars.
The tire bed is disappointingly deep and narrow considering the cyclocross intentions
We didn’t have any issues with tires rolling during test rides but we did notice the casing rolling beneath us at lower pressures a little more than we’d prefer. Moreover, it’s critical during the gluing process to build up the center channel for reliable adhesion (see our workshop on how to glue a tubular cyclocross tire).
Thankfully, our wheels have also remained true during testing, as Reynolds tucks the spoke nipples inside the rim. While we acknowledge that such a configuration requires smaller holes in the rim (and thus retains more strength), cyclocross racing isn’t exactly easy on equipment, so we’d rather Reynolds go with more conventional external nipples in this case.