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review

FFWD RYOT44 wheelset

8
£1,499.95

VERDICT:

8
10
Exceptionally well-built, fast-rolling wheels that work on the road and the gravel
Impressive build quality
They'll take plenty of abuse
Cheaper alternatives out there
Weight: 
1,680g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.

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The FFWD RYOT44 wheelset is part of the company's new range of versatile wheels that can be used on the tarmac or when venturing off into the countryside. They offer plenty of stiffness, speed and durability.

If you want a quality, well-built set of carbon wheels for a range of different disciplines then the RYOT44s are a very good place to start.

> Find your nearest dealer here

The 44mm-deep rim has an external width of 30mm which means it is compatible with up to 42mm tyres, ideal for a bit of adventure or gravel riding, while the inner width of 21mm means they will still work with narrower road rubber – down to as low as 23mm, according to FFWD.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rim bed.jpg

I tried them with three tubeless setups over a six-week test period: 25mm race tyres, 32mm slicks, and 40mm Zipp Tangente Course G40s, my go-to gravel tyres.

The RYOT44s came fitted with tubeless tape and all of the tubeless-ready tyres popped onto the rims without hassle. You can also run a non-tubeless setup too if that's your thing.

Out on the road the RYOTs feel responsive thanks to their lack of overall weight – 1,680g including tape.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rim detail 1.jpg

For aerodynamics, FFWD has used LAW (Laminar Airflow Wing) technology, a profile that takes into account the tyre and rim as a single entity. It's something we've seen quite a bit lately with the introduction of wider tyres being used. On older rims, the widest part would normally be where the tyre was seated, but here the curved profile of the rim continues to widen until it's about at its halfway point.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rim detail 5.jpg

Out in the real world, it's hard to determine exactly how much it's working, but the RYOT44s feel fast, especially for a wheel that isn't massively deep.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

Stiffness levels are high, so acceleration is fun and rewarding, and the wheels also feel great when climbing out of the saddle or cornering hard on the descents.

They work well for pretty much all road disciplines from training through to racing, unless you need deep rims for top-end wind cheating.

> Buyer’s Guide: 24 of the best tubeless wheelsets over £1,000

I spent a lot of miles using these on the gravel tracks too – FFWD describes them as being suitable 'for light gravel use' – so they're designed for a harder life than just on the road, and any reliability issues should show up quicker.

For such a light wheelset you don't need to treat them with kid gloves, as they'll definitely take a whack or two without any issue. Some sections of my favourite gravel route have been relaid with large chunks of aggregate which, at speed, can be difficult to pick out, so the wheels took a bit of a battering in places without any ill effects.

The 24-spoke build front and rear shows plenty of strength. Trueness – or lack of it – wasn't an issue, with spoke tension remaining fine throughout testing.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - front hub.jpg

For the hubs, FFWD has specced DT Swiss 240s with an EXP ratchet system for the freehub. Pick-up is instantaneous and very noticeable from a standing start. Lateral stiffness is also high.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

Options for the freehub are Shimano, Campagnolo and SRAM XDR.

2020 FFWD RYOT 44 wheelset - rear hub.jpg

The stainless steel bearings have seen loads of rain, mud and grit over the last few weeks but have refused to start grumbling or making any noise whatsoever.

Value

In the UK these have an rrp of £1,499.95. That's not a bad price considering the handbuilt quality from the Netherlands, and that includes a padded wheel bag and all of the accessories you'll need to get them set up. There are some cheaper alternatives, though.

The Pacenti Picco 46mm Disc is a similar kind of wheel, mainly focused on performance road riding, but also capable of taking on a bit of light gravel. The weight is in the same ballpark, but they are a bit cheaper at £1,199.

Just Riding Along's Mahi Mahi 40 wheelset is, like the FFWDs, suitable for both road and gravel. The wheels are handbuilt in the UK and tip the scales at just under 1,500g. Matt was certainly impressed with them, especially as they cost just £850.

> Buyer’s Guide: 44 of the best road bike wheelsets

Overall, the FFWD RYOT44 wheels are very good. Yes, you can buy cheaper, but the quality here is absolutely top-notch and that is highlighted when you are riding on the road: plenty of performance and decent levels of comfort. A quick switch to some knobbly tyres and I'd be happy to hammer these across the gravel day in, day out too, without worrying about the noises from all the abuse they are taking.

Verdict

Exceptionally well-built, fast-rolling wheels that work on the road and the gravel

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: FFWD RYOT44 wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 44mm deep

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?

FFWD says, "Due to the phenomenal improvements in aerodynamics, weight and stiffness, RYOT44 is THE wheel set for all types of terrain. Full of new technology and with a new design that will definitely turn some heads.

"Key ingredient of the RYOT44 is the new LAW Tech aerodynamic rim profile. LAW is short for 'Laminar Airflow Wing' and has been specially developed to deliver better aerodynamics when using wider tires by creating a smooth airflow."

This is a very well-built set of wheels capable of tackling many types of terrain.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

FFWD lists:

Type FCC

Height

44.0mm

Internal width

21.0mm

External width

30.0mm

Tire range 23.0mm-42.0mm

Maximum tire pressure

8.4bar, 121.5 psi

Hubs: DT Swiss 240

Body system Ratchet EXP system

Bearings Stainless Steel

Spokes Straight Pull, 24F/24R

Nipples Brass

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
4/10

Very good wheels, but you can get some good sets of a similar weight and purpose for less.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The wheels stayed true throughout testing.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

A range of tyre sizes went on easily. A snug fit but not a struggle to get in place.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

All of the accessories matched the quality of the wheels and it's good to see a wheel bag included in the price.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

A fast-rolling wheel that works well on both the gravel and the road.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Very well built.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Nothing really stood out.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Deep section carbon wheels can vary in price massively, and you can get wheels of a similar weight and purpose for less money, like those I've mentioned in the review.

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

These are very high quality wheels, reflected in the way they ride and how durable they are. They're not the cheapest, but they're very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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