Reynolds Cycling on Backcountry
Reynolds Composites is a name long associated with premium-quality carbon fiber bicycle componentry. Their Ouzo Pro fork is the best selling, best loved full-carbon fork ever manufactured. Given their command of carbon, it was only a small step for Reynolds to enter the world of pro-quality carbon wheelset production. The roots of their wheelsets trace back to the legendary company Lew Composites. Lew was one of those crazy businesses that was long on ideas and self-promotion, but short on execution. Their carbon fiber wheelsets were amazing -- they introduced their 1200g XNG! wheels back in 1997, an era when 1800g Mavic Heliums were anointed as Alps-worthy. The problem, though, was that Lew seemed able to make their wheelsets in batches of one and one only. Five years of their hype came and went and you probably never saw a set of Lew wheels anywhere but at the trade show. As Zipp began to reliably pump out trustworthy 1200g wheelsets in 2001, Lew's magic spell over the bike business began to evaporate.
In early 2002, amidst rumors of impending bankruptcy, MacLean Quality Composites (MQC) purchased Lew's assets and intellectual property and hired their two top engineers. MQC is the composites and sports arm of MacLean-Fogg, a privately held company with reported annual sales of $400 million. It produces carbon fiber tubing for Calfee Designs, Trek and other frame manufacturers, in addition to after-market and original-equipment products in the aerospace, automotive, industrial and sports industries.
Quickly after acquiring Lew, MQC entered into a partnership with Reynolds to take advantage of Reynolds' brand-name cachet and well-established distribution channels. Together they unveiled their Reynolds-branded wheelsets at Interbike 2002.
The technology behind Reynolds wheels is quite focused: their expertise is with unidirectional carbon construction. They've eliminated heavy woven fabrics that offer aesthetics with little mechanical advantage. Thanks to their relationship with MQC, they use only the highest quality raw materials with strict resin-to-fiber ratios. Their advanced manufacturing techniques apply intense temperatures and pressures to the material to eliminate voids and other defects. The result is the lightest, strongest rim money can buy.
To compliment the performance of the rims, Reynolds chose designs and materials to offer no-compromise wheelsets. Spokes are spaced uniformly from each other to fully support weight while allowing the use of a lighter rim. The end result is a never before seen combination of weight savings and reliability.