Normally cyclists do not enjoy the presence of a tropical storm, but in this instance it was welcomed. In my previous report on the Reynolds Aero 58, I covered two of the three requirements of the reputable aero wheels: namely speed and stiffness. The test for cross winds was now possible.
For two days I was able to ride in consistently breezy conditions as a tropical storm skirted the coastline. The winds were gusty and conditions were perfect for testing the Aero 58s. Each day I did an early ride with a set of aluminum Mavic Ksyrium SL’s for comparison purposes. For those not familiar with the SL’s, they are Zicral bladed spokes 18F/20R mounted to 22 mm F /25 mm R Maxtal aluminum rims. In my opinion, they are one of the finest aluminum wheel sets on the market. Not only are they extremely dependable but they are also attractive as well.
The physics of aero wheels are complicated and not easily understood. If you’re interested in understanding the details more you can check out this video featuring Paul Lew, the designer of Reynolds Wheels. I have chosen to review this wheel set in terminology that the everyday rider can comprehend.
John Cap Capobianco’s Reynolds Aero 58 on set.
My earlier ride each day allowed me a benchmark by which to compare the shallow rim wheels with the much wider Aero 58’s. While riding with a cross wind, I expected the 58 mm carbon rim to catch more resistance laterally, when compared to a much smaller 22/25 mm rim. Much to my surprise, I was shocked by the result. The bike actually tracked better and the increased surface area of this wheel set acted like a sail on a boat in a heavy cross wind and offered additional forward force.
Riding into the wind was effortless and as the wheel set sliced through the wind I felt minimal drag and resistance. The actual speed increase is difficult to measure without the controlled wind conditions of a wind tunnel but perceived effort was much less when riding the 58’s. Overall, I felt limited resistance no matter the direction of the wind. My confidence in this wheel in gusty winds was never in doubt.
I was completely satisfied and confident with the Aero 58’s. I definitely would not hesitate to use this wheel set in windy conditions and in my next report, I will review the wheel set and its comfort on rides of 100 or more miles.
For additional specifications on these wheels, check out the Reynolds Aero 58 here.
-John Cap Capobianco M. Ed.