By Timothy Vitek

Race day is tomorrow and everything is ready to roll. The bike is ready with carbon racing wheels, favorite tires and perfect cassette to have just the right equipment for the course. Top it off with some fresh chain lube, bar tape and polish it squeaky clean and it feels like you’re a pro going to sleep that night. Its race day! You wake up and even though it has been in the mid 80’s and sunny for the last two weeks it’s pouring now! No need to worry with Reynolds Carbon Strike SLG wheel-set.

The first ride on the new Reynolds Strike SLG wheel-set proves carbon wheels are reaching the point where anyone can ride deep carbon aero wheels and gain about 1-2 mph on the bike. It is as simple as changing out alloy wheels for carbon. Over the first week of riding, the Reynolds consistently added about 2 mph to my average speed when out on my typical routes. I am not a fast rider but I do not need to be for these wheels to make me quicker. Speed comes from confidence. The more confident you are in your training and equipment the better you perform. It took about 10 miles and the Strikes opened a new found confidence in deep carbon wheels. Raining all day and drizzling throughout the ride, the wet roads seemed to have little to no effect on braking or stability. Thanks to Reynolds’ Carbon Glass Transition or CTg hybrid carbon braking surface in combination with proprietary Cryo-Blue Power polymer brake pads the Strikes will outperform just about everything under braking. In light rain if you pay attention you can feel how the first revolution of the wheel under braking sheds the water and by the time the wheel comes around again the braking kicks in as if it was a dry outside. The bright Cryo-Blue Power brake pads are aerodynamically shaped and have 6 channels to force air over the rim surface to keep the rim cool and dry. In addition Reynolds increased the contact area by 44% and the stopping distance is drastically reduced over older versions. Most impressively I found the braking feel comparable to alloy rims. Never worry again about spotty thunder showers or let wet roads discourage you from riding. In addition to the fantastic feel and performance of the braking surface, CTg allows the rim to stay up to 220 degrees cooler than competitors’ carbon rims. Cooler rims allow for better braking on tricky descents and also increase the life of the rim. Reynolds recommends only using the Cryo-Blue pads with Reynolds’ CTg rims as the use of any other brake pads will void the warranty. Next test is to finish a few Grand Fondos that recommend only carbon tubulars.

Even when the roads are dry the Reynolds Strikes are a step above the competition. Sprinting, climbing, descending and riding in the peloton these wheels feel confident. The key to the solid feel starts with Reynolds’ different approach to hub design. Where typical rear hubs consists of 2-4 spring and paws on the backside of the free-hub body Reynolds moved the paw and springs to the inside of the hub. By moving the notches to the free-hub body Reynolds removes the touch of play found in more traditional free-hubs. Combine this with reliable DT Swiss Aero spokes and Reynolds PR3 rim all adds up to a worry free ride.

Acronyms are everywhere in this industry but one of the most noticeable visually is Reynolds’ Swirl Lip Generator or SLG. Right out of the box it is obvious these aren’t your average wheels when you see the extra ridge along the inside of the rim. This lip reshapes the wind coming off the trailing rim edge for the leading inside rim edge to slice through with ease. SLG is also responsible for the wheels’ speed and surprisingly stable ride in changing crosswinds. Even in the worst crosswinds the Strikes feel more confident and sail less then much of the competition. If your race is around the corner or your renting a wheel-set for your big race of the year this would be a great choice. It does not matter if the race is hilly, flat, dry or wet these wheels will get you across the finish line sooner.

The bonus to all this is the Reynolds’ Assurance Program or RAP. Not only can you ride your wheels with the confidence of Reynolds experience and innovation but service free as well. RAP is more than extended coverage of typical manufacturing warranties. With RAP, Reynolds gives you the options of 1, 2 or 3 years of coverage against incidentals for $150-299. Coverage also comes with a web rebate as much as $75 to spend on Reynolds’ products. Never worry again about carbon wheels or riding conditions because you’re covered with RAP. If possible take advantage of Reynolds’ “Ride to Decide” demo program and get off the fence. In addition to a demo Reynolds’ is also offering a $150 rebate and includes an extra year of RAP.  These days it is well worth going in to your local shop rather than buy online.

After one week of riding I am sold. Reynolds has brought the game to a whole new level. The stability, speed, confidence and durability of the Reynolds’ Strike SLG wheel set translates into mile after mile of enjoyable riding. The best part of the Reynolds weapons package is the price. At $1950 the Reynolds Strike SLG set competes with the much more expensive Enve ($2900), Zipp 404 (’15 firecrest $2500 and ’16 firecrest $2100) and Mavic Cosmic Carbone 40c ($2750) for a substantial discount. It does not matter if you’re a pro triathlete or a weekend casual rider looking for some extra speed, take a ride on the Reynolds Carbon Strikes and see for yourself. After 10 years of riding carbon clincher wheels I’m happy to say hello to the new boss, same as the old boss.

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Timothy Vitek has the passion of a pro tour team mechanic and is the service manager for Inside-Out Sports. With a bike collection that wont fit on-top of a team car if he is not out riding his bike you will find him working on one for fun. Over 12 years of bike shop expertise and a straight-forward, honest and non-compromising approach to bike repair brings best in-class service and increased confidence to every ride.  Next time your in Cary, North Carolina stop by Inside-Out Sports and ask any burning questions you can think of.  If traveling is not in the upcoming plans reach out at