Carbon Clincher Safety with Reynolds

reynolds in the grass

This carbon clincher is safe

At Press Camp 12, Reynolds Cycling spent most of our meeting talking about how their wheels are made, where, and quality controls. They wanted to assure me and you that their carbon clinchers are safe. In this excerpt from a longer interview, I ask Paul Lew about safety and he responds

We’ve developed a rim brake pad system that is absolutely rock solid in all conditions.

Yesterday, Reynolds released a statement regarding carbon clinchers.

Our braking technology, known as CTg (Cryo-Glass transition) has proven to be the best performing carbon braking system on the market. When paired with our proprietary Cryo-Blue brake pads, Reynolds’ rim temperatures are approximately 100 degrees (F) cooler than our closest competitor. CTg runs so much cooler by using the innate energy conducting properties of carbon fiber. The material used in CTg disperses heat from the brake track into the rim. As the rim spins through the air, it naturally helps cool the material down. Overheating is the enemy of carbon fiber braking surfaces and can potentially lead to warping or failures. In regards to rims “exploding”, we’ve found through thorough testing that this phenomenon is directly related to a tube or tire failing to the point of bursting under extreme heat. The energy from this burst can cause a rim to crack or push out, but a carbon rim spontaneously exploding to the point of massive failure is highly unlikely.

The lack of standards are what make carbon clinchers unsafe and those made by manufactures you can’t trust. Also note this important line about rider’s responsibility.

Courses which are technical, particularly those with steep gradients and which involve large numbers of closely-grouped cyclists of varying abilities, create the high likelihood that cyclists will ride the brakes for prolonged periods of time

Any brake system is going to get put to the test descending a Mtn. pass while puckered and grabbing as much brake as possible. Riding behind Big George once, I was amazed by how he barely braked down Paris Mtn. He touched the brakes here and there to scrub speed and used his body as an air brake. Regarding the Fondo that banned carbon clinchers, I hold them more responsible than the manufactures for taking a group of enthusiast on the roads where Levi trains and expecting them to keep up.

Safety is a huge liability issue in an industry that has zero safety culture. The industry hasn’t figured out yet how to market speed, performance, fitness and suffering like Jens with, “get you home safe so you can work on Monday and provide for your family.” The automotive companies do it like this

This car will burn rubber and comes with 12 airbags.

The problem is that bikes have gotten exponentially faster and the demographic that buys them older and heavier. Before you step up to the big Fondo ride that chases a Pro around, work on your skills, learn how to brake properly, and only buy wheels from trusted manufactures.


“The problem is that bikes have gotten exponentially faster”

i know, i used to do 38mph in a sprint, but on my Giant TCR i now sprint at 3x 10 to the fifth power (km/s)......

Well in your case, those bikes ARE made for your weight/size.

We’ve been hearing blather about carbon rims that brake as well as alu for what, 10 years now?  I’ll believe it when there is a CEN standard.

Bikes haven’t gotten ‘faster’ (whatever that means).  Equipment doesn’t mean jack on a twisty descent, the limiter is skill, not air resistance, bike weight, etc.

It is absurd in my view to sell bikes to inexperienced enthusiasts with carbon wheels.  Aftermarket is one thing, but when you buy a Specialized, Trek, etc, you expect the equipment spec’ed on there to be totally free of safety issues.  Carbon wheels are simply not there yet and I think the manufacturers are begging to get sued spec’ing them.

David a more direct comment and I don’t disagree. What I meant by bikes are faster was a broader comment about performance and the high end. You’ve got marketers selling a fantasy of fitness to an aging demographic with no qualifications. In sanctioned racing, there’s a process of upgrading to harder, faster categories. I’ve also been critical of wheel manufactures for not selling their products with brakes. If you remember, it was buyer beware when it came to brakes with carbon wheels in tubular or clincher. I’ve melted pads in races or had them screech. Now wheel manufactures sell better brake pads. The upside here is that we get pretty much the same gear the pros ride—downside is it can get into the hands of anyone.

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