I am thinking of buying either:
Reynolds Assault SLG clincher - around $1400
November Rail 34 (clincher only) with White Industries hubs around $1550
The upside of Reynolds is the lower price and their Reynolds Assurance Program. The upside of the Rail 34 is that is hand-built in US, although I've been told Reynolds Assault line is very well built too and one of the best ones for money. Both rims are start out in Taiwan which I am fine with.
Anyone can comment on the braking performance of the SLG resin and the Rail 34 ones?
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The Reynold wheels use a generic Asian hub whereas the November package uses A WI hub so I'd say the nod goes to November there..
You didn't mention which spokes/nipples with November. Reynolds uses DT.
Can't comment on the resins although I know they are both Htg.
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The difference really comes down to known brand Vs lesser known, proprietary hubs Vs your own choice of hubs, and factory built (probably laced by machine, checked & finished by hand) Vs handbuilt. You pays your money, you takes your choice.
I have some Assaults on my TCR (although not the SLG version) and thought about / had passing conversation with a local wheelbuilder about changing the hubs out for WI T11's. I'll need new spokes too apparently, if I go ahead and that obviously adds to the cost. I havent really gone any further with it as yet, so id be interested to hear your thoughts.
On the topic of Reynolds vs November wheels, here's my perspective on them.
I've owned 3 sets of Reynolds carbon wheels and never have had a problem with them. Currently on a set of their 32 tubulars, but the others were clinchers.
Well built, straight, hubs were fine. Braking is very good with their cryo blue pads. Reynolds make solid wheels at a competitive price (especially if you find them discounted).
I purchased a set of November Rail 34s with their house hubs (Novatec) because I wanted to try out the wider/u-shaped rims that the industry is trending towards. They basically perform as advertised and are half the price of Enve/Zipps. Where they suffer in comparison to Reynolds (and probably Enve and Zipps) is that the braking track scores and marks easily. It could be the supplied Swissstop black prince pads, but I doubt it. The scoring on the Rail 34s are considerably deeper than the Reynolds, and the Reynolds have hundreds, if not thousands of kms more on them.
Also, the braking surface on the Rail 34s is not totally flat. There are some small dips along the braking track that may accentuate pulsing during braking.
But they are fast wheels. I descended faster and cross winds are hardly noticeable.
At the end of the day, I would suggest the Assault SLGs over the Rail 34s because of the brake track. Also Reynolds has changed the shape of their rims, so you now get the advantages of the wider and u-shaped rim.
Sorry to hear that we wouldn't be the one you recommend, but I did want to clear up that the gouging you are seeing is clear coat, not rim structure. It goes away completely before long, in almost no time if you do the kind of braking that I did during a recent testing trip to Beech Mountain in NC. The brake track will become polished looking, and very very smooth. Before then really, but at least by then, your braking should become dead silent except at the end of long hard stops, when you will get a bit of a groan from the pads. Clean pads and rims also help. I've never not used a set of rims that didn't become silent. Your rims are in absolutely no way wearing down as quickly as you might think. Once the clear coat is completely gone, the actual structural surface is ridiculously hard and durable.
We've gone around and around on the clear coat thing. The scratching question is one of the top things that owners contact us about, so at one point we started to sand rims. We made a nice little sanding fixture and it did nice work, but people seemed to prefer getting a shiny (well, satin finish, really) rim out of the box. We have the solution nailed and will be implementing as a running change soon. There is no impact on performance either way, except that you won't see clear coat wear in the initial use.
Having built an Enve rim a few weeks ago, in preparation for our wind tunnel testing, I can attest that their molding is just great. Ours have tolerance of hundredths of a mm (which is a thickness that makes the thickness of a sheet of paper look like a 2x4), but theirs are really impressive. I've owned a set of Reynolds and those were molded about the same as ours. Zipps seem to be nicely molded but it's so obfuscated by the dimples that you can't really see it, plus their brake track is heavily sanded post-mold so in essence it's got any variance machined out of it. Those are the only carbon rims I'm currently intimate enough with to comment on.
Anyway, enough with the specs and down to performance. So, I can't really compare braking to any other carbon wheels, let alone the Reynolds mentioned, because this is my first carbon wheel set. Though, I can compare to a set of Pacenti SL23 that I've built up last year. Definitely better braking performance than my Pacenti SL23, even though it's an aluminum brake track, but that's definitely due to my Dura Ace 9000 brakes compared to my Planet-X brakes. Can't say that's a fair comparison, but I can stop faster and lock up my rear wheel faster on the Rail 34's. As for crosswind, boy are they invisible to it! I can still feel a bit of it with my Pacenti's, but with the 34's, nothing!
On a side note, I'm surprised that Dave did no post the following articles concerning brake track surface temperature when dragging the brakes:
Let's add a video too:
Since Dave isn't advertising their own testing articles, I'll do it for him!
P.S. Love my new wheelset! Was slightly concern with the brake track's clear coat until Dave's post.
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