The new Reynolds AR 41 DB Wheelset provides very good aero performance for everyday riding or racing and hilly sportives, with easy tubeless installation, and all at a competitive price that stands up well in a saturated carbon wheel market.
- Pros: Fast, stable, reliable, look good
- Cons: There are cheaper wheels, not the lightest
Reynolds has long been a popular choice in the wheel brand market, its Assault and Attack wheels both favoured wheelsets in the last decade at a time before carbon wheels really started to become a common sight on road bikes.
This new wheelset is the spiritual successor to the Assaults, with a similar rim depth, but they have been completely updated with a wider profile designed to suit the trend for wide tyres. They're available for rim or disc brakes and are tubeless-ready.
As the name suggests, the rim measures 41mm deep, but there are also 29 and 58mm options. The rims are also wide, being 30mm at their widest point, with a 21mm internal width – whopping compared to traditional 15mm internal width rims.
Reynolds also designs its own hubs to complement the rims and they're good looking items. They use straight pull spokes locked into stubby flanges along with the Centerlock interface for easily and quickly attaching disc rotors.
The rear hub has a 10-degree engagement freehub, compatible with Shimano and SRAM. It offers an instant pickup when you start turning the pedals and isn't insanely noisy when freewheeling.
The rims and hubs are laced together with 24 Sapim Sprint spokes in each wheel with a two-cross pattern, and use external brass nipples so any maintenance you might have to do is going to be easy. I didn't have to touch them during the test period.
As most disc road bikes are now using 12mm thru-axles with 100/142 front and rear spacing, the Reynolds were supplied with the appropriate spacers, but you can get a 15mm front hub thru-axle adapter if needed.
The wheels are supplied with tubeless tape installed and 55mm tubeless valves are provided. The black decals are understated so the wheels look good on any bike they're fitted to.
Tubeless is a maturing technology and thankfully fitting tyres to the Reynolds wheels was an easy task. I used Continental's new GP 5000 tubeless tyres and they inflated with a regular track pump and held pressure extremely well, posing no problems during the review period.
Performance of the wheels is highly impressive. The shape and depth of the rims produce very good handling in changeable and windy conditions, with no instability issues in strong crosswinds.
They're also fast, maintaining speed nicely. They don't have the outright savage speed of a much deeper design, but as an all-round set for everyday use and long distance rides over hilly terrain, they're a preferred choice.
The 1,630g is a good weight for the aero performance. If you want lighter, Just Riding Along's (JRA) Gecko Carbon Wheelset knocks spots off them in the weight battle, coming in at 1,400g, but you're not getting the aero performance of the Reynolds wheels. Unless you're regularly climbing mountains, the aero advantage will probably be more appealing.
The quality is very good, comparable to wheels costing a lot more, and lives up to my previous experience with the wheel brand. I had no issues or complaints during my time with these, they just went about their business without fuss. And I've hammered them too, in the fierce pace of my local chain gang and on longer rides over the rolling Cotswolds and all of its potholes and rubbish road surfaces.
I'd be happy to just keep on riding them, too, and not have to take them off and box them up for return to Reynolds…
You get a lifetime warranty with the wheels, which adds a good bit of peace of mind, and just knowing that Reynolds has been producing wheels for a long time also makes them a reassuring choice in what is a pretty saturated wheel market.
Compared to 20 years ago, you are spoilt for choice for carbon wheels, and you don't even need to spend silly money as you did back in the day.
Although £1,100 isn't small change, the Reynolds are a lot cheaper than some, including a couple of my favourites tested in recent years: the Roval CLX 50 Disc wheels are nearly 200g lighter despite having a taller rim, but they're £1,850, and the excellent DT Swiss ERC 1000 Dicut wheels, while lighter, are also nearly twice the price.
Overall, the Reynolds AR 41 DBs are very good wheels that provide near-faultless performance at a decent price that makes them a good choice in the saturated wheel market.
A wide, aero, tubeless-ready carbon wheelset that just works well, at a good price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Reynolds AR 41 DB wheelset
Size tested: Rim Size: 700c Rim Width: Internal 21mm, External 30mm Rim Depth: 41mm
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Reynolds says, "The Reynolds AR series delivers the standout performance of the ARx series by utilizing the same carbon fiber rims, but in a more competitively priced wheel offering. Whether you're looking to lighten the load in search of your next KOM, seeking speed through aerodynamic advantage, or wanting a wheel that can confidently carry you anywhere in search of adventure, the AR collection offers you the widest assortment of quality carbon wheels at a competitive price to complete your quest for the ultimate ride.
"The Reynolds AR41 DB disc brake carbon road bike wheels deliver all around, everyday performance.
"The 41mm deep rim is optimized to lower aerodynamic drag and great crosswind handling, but are still light enough to tackle the toughest climbs.
"The 21mm tubeless ready rim channel provides a versatile fit for an assortment of modern tires to lower rolling resistance and serve up a silky smooth ride. And they cost less than what you'd expect."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
* Wide, Tubeless Ready Rim Provides Better Fit For Higher Volume Tires That Increase Grip, Lower Rolling Resistance And Provide Greater Comfort
* Refined, Wider Rim Shapes Have Been Optimized For Crosswind Stability At A Variety Of Yaw Angles
* Features Sapim Sprint Spokes With Brass Nipples
* Premium Graphics Offer Ultra Clean And Subtle Appearance
* Equipped With Fast Rolling And Smooth Reynolds Allroads Hubs
Which Offer 10° Of Hub Engagement
* Disc And Rim Brake Specific Models Available
* Lifetime Warranty
Rim Material: Carbon Fiber
Rim Size: 700c
Rim Width: Internal 21mm, External 30mm
Rim Depth: 41mm
Rim Weight: 466g
Hub: Reynolds - 10 degree engagement
Spoke Count: 24 Front, 24 Rear
Brake Interface: Disc Only, Center Lock
Front Axle Spacing: 12x100 & 15x100 (Included), QR 100 (Available Separately)
Rear Axle Spacing: 12x142 (Included), QR 135 & 12x135 (Available Separately)
Freehub: Shimano/SRAM 9-11spd, Campy or SRAM XD-R
Wheelset Weight: 1630g
Top notch quality.
Decently fast wheels on the flat and not too heavy on the climbs, but there are lighter wheels in this category if you're willing to pay for it.
I've hammered them on my rough local roads and they've stood up just fine.
They're not heavy wheels but you can get lighter, if you're either willing to spend more or sacrifice aerodynamics.
A tickle over a grand, but they provide good performance, you get everything you need in the box (especially if you want to go tubeless) and a lifetime warranty and support from the UK distributor.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
Yes, they stayed true.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
I fitted tubeless tyres with ease.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
For everyday riding, tackling hilly long rides and events, and racing and fast rides, they just work everywhere all of the time.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Good aero performance in all conditions.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
They're not especially light.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's a crowded market, with lots of choice at or around this price point, but Reynolds is a longtime wheel brand with a good reputation and you're getting a lifetime warranty, which mustn't be discounted when choosing a new wheelset.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Very good wheels that provide near-faultless performance at a decent price that makes them a good choice in the saturated wheel market.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, touring, mountain biking
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.