For 2014, Reynolds have redesigned their alloy wheels range – currently comprising the Solace (which never made it to the UK), Solitude and Shadow – under the Stratus name that they’re resurrecting from a few years ago. We were able to check out the wheels at Taipei Cycle last week.
The range will open with the Stratus Elite, the next level up is the Stratus Comp, and the Stratus Pro sits at the top. Reynolds are hoping these will be specced as original equipment on complete bikes for next year and you’ll be able to buy them separately as well.
The Stratus Pro uses a 21mm wide 6061 alloy rim and straight-pull bladed spokes. It’s tubeless-ready and will come with both the necessary tape and the valve stem.
Reynolds’ own hub uses steel cartridge bearings and the rear one is a three-pawl design. It’ll be available in both rim brake and disc brake options and Reynolds give a wheelset weight of 1,475g. It’s aimed at about Shimano Ultegra and Ultegra Di2 level. We don’t have UK prices yet but it’ll be about $1,000 in the US, although even that has yet to be finalised.
The Stratus Comp is 24mm wide, making it Reynolds’ first wide-rim offering for the road. That hasn’t got anything to do with aerodynamics, it’s so that you can run a wider tyre and get a more comfortable ride. It’s also more suitable for wider cyclocross tyres, and Reynolds are hoping there will be some crossover into that market.
The Stratus Comp is 28mm deep and, again, uses straight-pull bladed spokes and steel cartridge bearing hubs. The retail price in the US will be about $500 with a disc brake version (135mm spacing) about $25 more.
The Stratus Elite, which takes over from the Shadow, comes with a 22mm wide, 26mm deep rim and uses a standard spoke on a J-bend hub. The hubs are open bearing and you’re looking at a weight of about 1,800g.
The Elite will be available in both rim brake and disc brake versions. Reynolds reckon this wheel will be competing with Fulcrum Racing 7s and Shimano S10s. These are likely to retail at about $375 in the US.
Many aero wheel manufacturers (Zipp and Bontrager, for example) are going with blunt face these days – a rounded profile where the spokes exit. Reynolds, though, are sticking with a sharper V-section design because they reckon it has a strong aerodynamic performance and better control.
At the moment, Reynolds’ Aero series wheesl, which come in 58mm, 70mm and 90mm depths with DT Swiss 240 hubs across the board, are only available as clinchers but tubular versions will be added for 2014. We should see them at Eurobike later in the year.
Token are now incorporating a new technology into several of their wheels: Anti-Vibration Technology, or AVT for short.
Okay, what’s AVT? Well, Token are keeping a lot of the details a secret but what we can tell you is that they’re using thin layers of a mystery fibre with similar properties to Kevlar to reduce vibration. Token say that it’s, “A high-tech material normally found in aerospace and military applications.” We wonder if it’s a little like the Vibran that Time use to do a similar job in their frames.
Whatever it is, Token are using AVT in their T28 carbon tubular wheel (I’m sure you can crack the code yourself but the T stands for tubular, and the 28 is the rim depth in millimetres), the T590 carbon TT wheelset, and also in the C28, C55 and C590 carbon clinchers. Several mountain bike wheels get the same technology too.
All of these 2013 wheels use Token’s own alloy Arsenal hubs containing their Tiramic bearings. These are titanium-coated ceramic bearings that Token say are 60% lighter than steel, faster accelerating, and durable.
Token reckon the bearings are pretty special so they were giving them the film star treatment in Taipei.
Token’s Shark Tail quick release skewers were new this time last year when they won an iF product design award. They got a Red Dot honourable mention too. They’re available with either a stainless steel or a titianium axle.
Token also showed us some new wheels that they’re working on for 2014 but only on condition that we kept schtum. I’ll tell you what, though, they’re radical, based on a very interesting concept... But I’ve said too much already. We’ll show you as soon as they let us.
Token’s website is www.tokenproducts.com.
Hed were showing a new aluminium alloy rim that’ll be available in their 2014 range from around the end of this year. The Belgium rim already exists in a 23mm wide width (and 24mm depth) but they’re now developing a wider 25mm version (admittedly, a rim that's not built up doesn’t look that impressive in a photo).
It’s intended as a Paris-Roubaix type of a rim to cope with rough roads and the idea is that you can run lower than normal tyre pressures – a maximum of 105psi. We don’t have a weight or price yet.
Hed are at www.hedcycling.com.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.