After the Mud, Gravel with Reynolds Assault Disc

In the gravek

A versatile wheel on the road, dirt, and gravel

As the Cross season concludes and we’re mostly done riding in the mud and dirt for the season, it’s time for road with Hydro-R Disc and gravel. 11-speed wheels were not easy to find this Fall, especially for training and daily riding, but availability has improved and for the past few weeks, I’ve ridden the Reynolds Assault discs with Hutchinson Intensives. The Reynolds has an appealing price point at $1850 for an everyday wheel, at about a grand less than the Zipps we’re racing on. You can certainly race these — they have all the characteristics of a modern, fast wheel — but in Cross, we prefer tubulars to avoid pinch flats when running tires at very low pressure for grip and suspension effect.

On the road, I noticed this iteration of Reynolds addresses excessive hub play, with tighter tolerances, and they roll well. The tighter hubs and stiff build of the wheels avoids the “ting, ting” from rotors striking the pads when you stand up to accelerate. In crosswinds, the Assaults felt a bit more blowy than Zipps or Heds, but nothing intolerable or sketchy. On a long descent I realized, “hey no worries about a carbon clincher rim overheating with discs!” I also wondered if the rotor created dirty air negating the aero features, so I asked asked Reynolds about rotors and aero wheels…


No visible brake track, 24h front and rear drilling. MSRP $1850. A very versatile wheelset

We’ve been making a disc brake road/CX wheel for 3 years. This is the first disc specific road rim we’ve designed. Meaning no visible brake track and a different layup for the rigors of disc brakes with a 41mm deep rim and 25mm wide made specifically for a disc brake equipped bicycles.

Reynolds hasn’t put this wheel into a tunnel, but said,

The surface area increases at the hub, which can have a direct effect on aerodynamics and create a higher drag coefficient. The rotor slots should have little affect at speed. SLG—Swirl lip generator does work at the rim on the disc brake version just as the rim brake version. It actually helps offset some of the drag you get from the rotor. This is minimal since the SLG and the rotor are a good distance apart.

Expect that Paul Lew and his counterparts in the wheel business are in meetings about disc wheels now, towards the 15 model year. As Mark V observed when I attended the Hydro launch

Individually the changes to design that disc brakes allow will be fairly subtle, but in the long run the sum effect of all these changes will have a huge impact on bicycle design. What we’re seeing now is just the beginning.

That’s right and I’ve heard from an industry insider to expect calipers molded into fork legs.

In the sunset

Into the sunset and anywhere else you want to take these wheels

Disc brakes are the most significant change in my riding since indexed shifting. Charles M talks about that in his piece he wrote for us about a custom Sarto build for Hydro-R Disc.

Complimenting the Reynolds ride, are the Intensives, a very tough tire for all sorts of conditions, like this abandoned road I found. The adventure I found there will have to wait for another post. Time for vacation.

Abandoned Road Found

Abandoned Road Found

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