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Reynolds RZR 46 Team Carbon Wheelset - Tubular

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Item # REY0096

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Item # REY0096


The Reynolds RZR 46 Team Carbon Tubular Wheelset, the wheels they give their pro teams, is slightly heavier than their standard RZR 46 Carbon Tubular Wheelset. Why? First of all, they're 50% stiffer than the RZR 46 while sharing the same exact shape. This means these wheels are equally aerodynamic while being much, much better at resisting the forces from the rider. So all the slamming through rough roads, all the out-of-saddle thrashing, all the high-torque, high side force maneuvers a pro might subject their wheels to, these will take better. And, they comfortably pass the UCI's strict wheel requirements for crash-worthiness.

The RZR 46 Team shares the same exact design Paul Lew made for the original RZR 46. Lew is one of those guys, and one of those names, that only people in the know mention. He was building ultra-light wheels, freakishly light for the time and reportedly way lighter than Zipp, back in the late 1990s. We knew racers who bought his wheels as part of their attempt to jump from the amateur ranks up to Pro. His company disappeared, then re-appeared, and then disappeared again. Every time he was back, it was with an ever-lighter wheelset. With the Reynolds RZR, he's done it again, and this time, nothing has escaped his scrutiny.

The RZR 46 Team has boron fibers strategically placed within the lay-up. The boron can be found in both the rims and the spokes. This makes the wheel stronger and more impact-resistant than typical carbon fiber only components. Where the weight difference, and stiffness comes from, are the added Kevlar fibers to the mix.

The spokes are shaped as symmetrical airfoils, so the leading and trailing edges are the same. The shape is aero across a broad range of yaw angles and works both in tension and compression. They can deflect up to 125mm before breaking, which is well beyond the 4-5mm of deflection that is considered extreme for these spokes. Also, thanks to the fact they're assembled one at a time, if a spoke breaks, it can be replaced individually.

The front wheel has 16 spokes, all radial, while the rear has 20. You'll see that it has eight radial spokes on both left and right flanges and four tangential spokes angled into a third, middle flange. This one lines up with the center of the axle and is the torque flange; it drives the wheel forward without pulling it laterally. ...Paul Lew is back in the game of ultra-light wheelsets, and this time around no details have been overlooked in his scrutiny... The spokes that enter the side flanges offer supreme lateral support. The spokes on the torque flange are likewise 50% larger in their cross section for greater strength. The result is a stiffer, more responsive wheel with fewer spokes in the wind.

The RZR hubs shells are 100% carbon fiber composite, as are both front and rear axles. And worry-not, they are super strong. Both hubs spin on ceramic bearings for super low rolling resistance. The rear hub has a titanium ratchet ring and a 7000-series aluminum RZR freehub body. The freehub is designed to run without lube for maximum weight-savings, minimum resistance, and maximum longevity. It might be a bit noisier than the average freehub, but it is designed with performance in mind, not aural sensitivity.

The 46.5mm deep RZR rim was re-thought and perfectly executed as well. What is truly unique are the Swirl Lip Generators (SLG). The SLGs are two tiny lips on either side of the inner edge of the rim. If you didn't know better, you might think they were parting lines that weren't sanded down after the rim came out of the mold. There's no sanding forgotten, and they are hardly an accident. These little shelves, barely noticeable until you're looking at the rim carefully, help with two different things, both of which help you go faster. One is that the SLG creates a little turbulence that helps the airflow reattach faster behind the rim, after passing over it. The second is that the SLG has the effect of decreasing sideways air force on the rim, as in decreasing the force of crosswinds pushing your wheels sideways. And in so doing, makes your bike easier to steer in crosswinds, which means it takes less concentration and less strength to pilot the bike, which means you can devote more concentration and more strength to going fast.

Reynolds puts a lot of stock in low inertia. They feel it's a great indicator of how easy or hard it is to accelerate the wheel or keep it moving at speed. They tested the RZR 46T and then compared it to the values produced by the people of the Roues Artisanales website. Reynolds' new wheel beat them all, with an inertia of 77 joules.

As fast as a wheel is, the engineers at Reynolds believe that the tire should be considered as integral to the aerodynamics of the wheel. As such, they recommend using tires that are narrower than the rim. As the rim is 21.5mm wide, your fastest tires with these wheels will be 21mm or narrower, though they recommend 23mm tires for all their wheels

And since stopping quickly is as important as riding fast, Reynolds has developed a new braking track surface. It's called CTg, C is for Cryo, Tg for glass transition temperature. As you know, heat build-up is not a good thing at the brake track. For tubulars, heat build-up can lead to softening of the glue holding the tire to the rim and melting brake pads. The new CTg tracks are the result of a new resin system and a new laminate structure. In regular riding conditions, it means the brake tracks operate up to 100 degrees cooler than the old tracks. In other words, braking will be better, more consistent, and you'll have little to fear from braking hard on long descents.

While the wheels are plenty tough under normal riding circumstances, all Reynolds wheel owners can buy themselves some extra peace of mind by purchasing Reynolds' two-year damage protection plan. It's called RAP, short for Reynolds Assurance Plan. The insurance means you should have little fear that a crash will ruin your wheel investment. Find out more about it on the Reynolds Cycling site.

The Reynolds RZR 46 Team Carbon Tubular Wheelset comes with either a Campagnolo or Shimano/SRAM compatible freehub body and they include a full set of Reynolds' Cryo Blue brake pads in versions to match each. Reynolds recommends only these pads for the RZR rims; use of any other brake pads is not recommended and will void the warranty. Also included with the wheels are valve extenders and wheel bags. Reynolds also includes their new ultra-light quick release skewers with the wheels. They do NOT include a wheel magnet and Reynolds does not recommend affixing a clamp-style magnet to the spokes. They do suggest using contact cement to affix a small rare earth magnet to a spoke or the rim. The recommended rider weight limit is 220lbs (100kg).

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