Race of truth.
Though Reynolds reserves its warlike naming convention for the Performance line, its Aero 80 Carbon Tubeless Wheelset is far more aggressive than almost any other wheel in the company's arsenal. Its formidable depth recommends it for the solitary missions: triathlon, time trials, impossible moves off the front with 50k remaining. It's built for those times when there's nowhere to hide, when the quality of legs are the deciding factors. It's built for the cyclist who is confident in relying on their own engine in the race of truth.
At 80mm deep, aerodynamics are obviously the Aero 80's primary feature, but the hubs warrant a shout-out before we dip into the aero depths. The new Aero wheels mark a significant departure for Reynolds. We've come to expect DT Swiss hubs on Reynolds wheels; however, these are built with Industry Nine hubs, instead, which up the engagement factor from "responsive" to "virtually instantaneous." Going with I9 also means that the hubs and the rims are all manufactured stateside—the hubs in North Carolina; the rims in Northern Utah.
But now to return to those deep rims. Aerodynamics aren't just about depth, of course—the science of speed runs, um, deeper than depth. Case in point: Reynolds' Dispersive Effect Termination (DET). DET Begins at the rim bed with a maximum width of 26.2mm, which brings the rim up to the tire's width and creates a generous cradle to glue it to. There are myriad benefits to this design, included reduced turbulence, which causes drag, and increased lateral rigidity and comfort. The rim's deep dish is shaped in a NACA-profiled, tapered V-shape that ends with a sharp trailing edge. The Aero's shape smooths airflow over the wheel, and when that air passes the spoke face, it's easily reattached at the rear of the rim to reduce stall. DET also means that this stall-free sweet spot extends to 20 degrees of yaw—a full 7.5 degrees more than the competition.
It's rare to have a real-world circumstance of a straight-on air resistance. In reality, you spend 95% of your riding time between zero and 20 degrees of yaw with a wind angle anywhere from zero to 100 degrees in relation to the bearing. A lot of deep rims in this situation act as sails, pulling the bike sideways during sudden changes of direction in windy conditions—an effect that's far more noticeable when the rims get over 50 millimeters deep. You're choosing a deep rim because you want the aerodynamic benefits, but poor handling can make any speed gain come to nothing if you're thrown off the road or into another cyclist by sudden gusts.
While it's impossible to completely cure this ailment, Reynolds' rim-shaping DET distributes side forces (read: cross wind) so that the center of pressure is pushed beyond the center of mass. This means the pulling due to cross wind and the like is much less pronounced, and—while all deep rims are still affected by wind—the Aero 80 wheels respond more predictably to side-wind forces, letting you anticipate pressure and correct intuitively rather than being thrown across the road at every right angle turn.
Since it's kind of jargony information, you may not be interested to know that DET's center of pressure maximizes the forward thrust vector (a quantity that has direction and magnitude) and the rim shape increases lift and decreases turbulent flow. But you'll definitely enjoy the forward thrust that all that jargon translates into on the bike. Essentially, this system works almost like a turbine, generating extra watts of propulsion from the wind.
And now for braking. You knew it was coming, because it always comes up eventually with carbon rims. So let's get this over with. The Aero's braking is — wait for it — actually really solid. Reynolds addresses the poor braking of most carbon rims with the Cryogenic Glass Transition Braking System (CTg). CTg incorporates a temperature-conductive laminate at the brake track's transition points that withstands higher levels of heat than typical carbon laminates (around a 100 degree dispersion). When paired with Reynolds' polymer Cryo Blue brake pads, this laminate makes braking more predictable and less finicky feathering on fast descents.
- A deeper-than-deep racing wheelset
- Deep enough for the most demanding single-player disciplines
- DET aerodynamics shrug off drag at typical yaw angles
- Layup incorporates 6 different types of carbon throughout
- Industry Nine hubs are the new standard for bling
- New resin and brake track further increase heat resistance
- Wide, tubeless-ready rims perfectly complement 25mm tires
- Subtle aesthetics complement any team kit