Boyd Cycling Revamps Carbon Wheels for 2013

Not too long ago, Boyd Johnson released their Vitesse Road aluminum clinchers, in what was to be the first of wheels sold under the Boyd name that were their own design. They also hinted at the fact that they would soon be offering carbon wheels made from their own molds, and that time is now.

With new rims and hubs, the assembled-in-the-US carbon wheels continue to offer high end performance at a more wallet friendly price. Boyd will be offering 44mm, 60mm, and 90mm rims in both clincher and tubular forms with your choice of Shimano 10, Shimano 11, or Campy 11 speed hubs.

Want more? Find it, after the break.

Like the Vitesse aluminum rims, all the carbon rims have a overall width of 23.5mm at the brake track. Boyd says this is because he feels it’s easy to go overboard with super wide rims which complicates wheel changes when racing. The 23.5mm width offers a good seat for the tire and good handling while preventing issues with brake opening width.

In order to address the issue of braking on carbon rims, the new wheels use a higher HTg carbon (High Glass Transition temperature) which means the brake tracks can handle higher heat before reaching the Glass Transition where the structure then becomes brittle. The HTg brake tracks require the use of Boyds Blue Ice brake pads, which are included with the wheels. Boyd isn’t the first company to do this, as it sounds very similar to Reynolds CTg brake tracks with their Cryo-Blue pads. Under testing, which involves braking 4 seconds on and 4 seconds off, with a failure temperature of 80°C, the Boyd rims passed with flying colors. In the real world, Boyd himself has been torture testing the braking surfaces down his local Paris Mountain roads and says if you try hard enough in panic stopping you can get them to squeal, but under normal braking conditions they offer excellent modulation and stopping power compared to a lot of the carbon rims on the market.

As mentioned, with the new carbon wheels, Boyd is offering their own unique rims rather than using something already available off the shelf. After changing manufacturers and spending over a year in R&D with their new Taiwanese supplier, Boyd settled on the new layup that offered the strongest, highest quality rim. Rather than use high pressure expanding foam to create the rim shape in the mould, Boyd rims use a process with a steel slider that allows the carbon hook and rim bed to be manufactured free of voids ensuring its strength. All three rims have different shapes, with the taller rims designed to be used at lower yaw angles. When asked about wind tunnel testing, Boyd said that currently they have not had any of the rims in a wind tunnel, but mentions with a chuckle, “I’ve never entered a race in a wind tunnel.” Instead, the rim shapes are based on proven aerodynamic profiles with the deeper rims optimized for lower yaw angles due to the fact that he claims if you’re going to encounter higher yaw angles on the day you will opt for a shallower rim.

The wheels will receive new hubs as well with the choice of Shimano 10, 11, or Campy 11 speed compatible hubs. Obviously, as previously reported in other stories, you can use a 10 speed cassette on an 11 speed hub with the addition of a spacer, so why offer a 10 speed specific hub? Boyd says he didn’t want to force 10 speed riders on an 11 speed hub and the you will get a marginally stiffer wheel on the 10 speed hub thanks to the increased center to right flange measurement. Speaking of which, Boyd said even on the 11 speed hubs he was able to sneak in a 17mm center to right flange measurement while most manufacturers are going with 16mm – every bit helps to build the stiffest wheel  possible. Even the bearing placement was tweaked to stiffen the wheel, with the bearing out as far as possible on the axle, rather than using a long end cap. The hubs also feature a true bearing preload which should extend hub life – the end cap is just to cover the assembly to keep it clean.

All of the hubs have reworked internals as well with 4 oversized pawls with dedicated springs (we’ll ignore the fact that one of the springs looks to be upside down). Looking at it I wondered if it would be a loud freehub – something that a lot of riders can find annoying. Boyd said it was a little loud out of the box, but a coating of grease quiets it down quite well. The advantage of such aggressive pawls is sure and complete engagement, even with a big rider sprinting for the finish.

Boyd wheels continue to be built with Sapim CX Ray spokes along with Sapim Brass SecureLock locking nipples for the ultimate durability and strength. With the exception of the 90mm wheels, riders will have the option of 20/24 or 24/28 spokes with radial laced fronts and 2x on both sides of the rear. The 90mm wheels have a 16/20 and 20/24 spoke option, with riders over 180 lbs advised to go with the higher spoke count on any wheel.

Even though the parts are sourced from overseas, all Boyd wheels are hand built in Greenville, SC by one of Boyd’s 4 wheel builders. The builders typically put out 4-5 sets of wheels per day, adhering to Boyd’s strict quality control. The wheels carry a 2 year warranty, and should you be unfortunate enough to crash Boyd has a crash replacement program that for $250-300 (still finalizing price for new wheels) they will rebuild everything that is broken on your wheels and ship them back to you. Not bad.

The first shipment of wheels will be available very soon, with more wheels by the end of February.

Weight

44mm clincher – 680g front – 880g rear – 1560g set
44mm tubular – 550g front – 750g rear – 1300g set
60mm clincher – 730g front – 930g rear – 1660g set
60mm tubular – 615g front – 815g rear – 1430g set
90mm clincher – 820g front – 1015g rear – 1835g set
90mm tubular – 745g front – 945g rear – 1690g set

Price

44mm tubular – $1350 / 44mm clincher – $1400
60mm tubular – $1400 / 60mm clincher – $1450
90mm tubular – $1450 / 90mm clincher – $1500

Comments

Pablo - 01/23/13 - 7:59pm

I get that they’re new designs and whatnot, but doubling your price changes the value proposition and target market greatly. I’m not sure I’m convinced a bottom feeder can become a middle-of-the-road player that quickly.

Shorts McFadden - 01/23/13 - 8:33pm

Obvious troll comment and math fail to boot. Referring to Boyd as a “bottom feeder” is neither accurate or called for.

I do agree the price increase does put them into a different pricing tier.

Victor - 01/23/13 - 8:37pm

To be fair to Boyd, its more like a 1/3rd price increase from the 2012 non-closeout prices. Plus, they are at least half the cost any other wheels with the toroidal profile that I know of.

paul - 01/23/13 - 8:42pm

The graphics are still terrible. A little bit of graphic design (or just a decent typeface) would go a long way.

Team Hungry - 01/23/13 - 8:50pm

h8rs gonna h8

jake - 01/23/13 - 11:06pm

I ride Boyd’s and wouldn’t ride anything else. Great value better performance

robert - 01/24/13 - 12:14am

i think one of the pawl springs there in the picture is inserted backwards…. or so it may seem, in relation to the other two.

hopefully they ship with a little more attention to detail. unless of course, it was meant to be that way, and from after the hundreds of hubs i have serviced, i highly doubt.

robert - 01/24/13 - 12:16am

ah, now that i have actually read the article, it looks as though im not the only one who believes that it may very well be backwards.

Nash - 01/24/13 - 5:18am

Cassette spring on the right hand-side (3 oclock) is inserted wrongly. Hope this wasnt factory.

Boyd Johnson - 01/24/13 - 5:26am

You guys are good at catching the small details! Zach had emailed me about that spring as he had noticed it too. When I snapped the picture of the new pawl and spring system it was after I had been playing around with disassembling and reassembling the hub for cleaning and maintenance purposes to see just how involved it was. I was taking a bunch of pictures along the way and when I took this one the spring was in backwards. . .my bad. It does make me realize that we’ll have to post some good detailed instructions with pictures showing the assembly process for when people want to service and clean their hubs.

Steve - 01/24/13 - 6:39am

These prices/price increases are crazy, the same hubs and spokes with a carbon rim (Clincher or Tubular) from Far Sports comes in at under $600, weights are lower to boot, they have also just started making similar profile rims.. Your choice if you want to pay $800 for US assembly and support.

BWC - 01/24/13 - 8:19am

I just looked at the “Far Sports” website. I would say that $800 for a superior product (ie shape and layup) that is assembled in the USA, would not require that you send the wheels back to China for service and who’s owner is there to answer your questions, and concerns in English would be money well spent for someone who really rides. If however, you are a poseur who only wants to show his friends his bike with those cool looking wheels then by all means go with Farsports.

Hungry4Shht - 01/24/13 - 8:45am

Boyd is a stand up guy. For all of you lunatics who think you understand this industry – you don’t. Boyd is doing his best to offer something of value at a responsible price. He’s one man running this company with lower margins then the larger companies out there. He’s not trying to rip anyone off. When you take a product and make it better – it costs more. It’s simple math you miscreants.

batson - 01/24/13 - 9:09am

I think the new wheels look great. If they stack up against the other BOYD wheels we run on our bikes, it will definitely turn out to be another quality product and great value.

BTW, I like a loud hub.

A Stray Velo - 01/24/13 - 1:45pm

Looks like a really nice set of wheels. I for one like the graphics.

It’s so nice to see more wider profile rims coming to the market.

James - 01/24/13 - 6:36pm

Is there a way to get the internal measurements for the clincher rims?…because that’s what affects how the tire rolls.

Steve - 01/25/13 - 5:02am

@ BWC.

Agree the farsports website is horrendeous, however a flashy website does not make the product good does it…, if you are interested, read the reviews on FS wheels on the weightweenies website if you are unsure as to the quality and the amount of people who race on these. As alluded to in a few comments, I think Boyd’s pricing is crazy for what essentially are Taiwan products, who is to say that US assembly of wheels is better than Taiwanese?, paying an extra $800 on top of the FS wheels price for essentially the same product is a no go in my opinion. Laughable comments re: Poseur.

Boyd Johnson - 01/25/13 - 8:33am

@Steve

There is a major difference between the Taiwanese made carbon rims and the Chinese ones. Yes, like many of the top wheel companies out there we have our rims and hubs made for us in Taiwan, both to our specifications. Having a rim made to our spec wasn’t a quick process as we weren’t just interested in producing the shape. There was over a year worth of testing different layups, impact testing, braking testing, spoke hole testing. It was a very involved process but one that will mean a better quality wheel.

Just for fun, email FarSports (or any other Chinese manufacturer) and pretend you are a wheel company that wants to produce their own moulds. They will simply ask for the drawing and tell you the mould will be ready in 30-45 days. Yes, you can have the rims produced, and they will be a bit cheaper, but they will not be anywhere near the quality of what we just released.

There will always be people who will go for the cheapest possible wheelsets out there because they want carbon that bad. There’s a thread full of people who have experience with this route and while there are some good reviews, there are also some pretty bad horror stories and then having to jump through hoops and wait weeks to get a response for when things go wrong.

herrow prease - 01/25/13 - 1:04pm

Yep, nothing more than chinarello open mold rims with taiwanese hubs. Matter of fact if you want to see the normal price of their hubs just look here.
http://www.bikehubstore.com/category-s/144.htm
You will also see other boyd like companies out there with “new molds” soon (see november bikes).

Looks like Boyd used to use the 6 pawl sl211 hubs (or similar, typically unlabeled bitex), but that stupid ring spring on those is the weak point of those hubs. It tends to kink and and ends up not pushing the pawl back up. Thus, the taiwanese (bitex or similar) hub manufacture moved to the 4 pawl hub with individual springs on the pawls (in which yes boyd accidentally put one back in backwards). This is to solve that issue of the ring springs on the 6 pawl ring spring design. It’ does work too.

That being said, this is basically a good way to get a decent wheelset without spending crazy money for zipps. I personally order the rims/ and hubs and build my own. Thus they are “american made” and you know they are built right. Now boyds pricing??? emmmm basically (and this is retail prices) 400.00 worth of parts (rim, spokes, nipples, hubs) and the labor to build them 100. Again, those are retail prices, since he orders in volume i can assure you he pays much less.. What does the other 950.00 go towards? Shipping and Handling???? :)

I do have a friend that has some and on the two issues he had with them Boyd took care of him really well. So maybe the 950.00 go towards the good customer service. And seriously that can go a long way in my book.

Scott Pacetti - 01/25/13 - 1:09pm

A great small company. I ride their wheels and they are everything they advertise them to be. I will be buying another set from them soon because of the quality, value and customer servce that is second to none. I had a small issue and Boyd personally took care of the problem on the spot. I recommend their wheels to everyone, and add they won’t be sorry.

Psi Squared - 01/25/13 - 4:43pm

So, herrow prease, you are claiming that Boyd is lying about the open mold rims? Where’s your proof?

Christopher Metzler - 01/27/13 - 4:23pm

I am a mechanic for one of the US’s largest Trek dealers. Many Trek owners choose Chinese carbon wheels over options like Boyd Cycling wheels and I get to see firsthand why the chinese wheels cost less.
Most Chinese wheels use cheap spokes and nipples. Boyd wheels are built with Sapim spokes and external brass nipples, highest quality components that give the wheels strength, durability, and serviceability. Chinese wheels are built rapidly and to broader tolerances. Boyd wheels are made by experienced wheel-builders in the US of A and arrive true and ready to mount.

Carbon is a fantastic material for making frames and wheels, but it does break. When you purchase one of their wheelsets, Boyd essentially gives you the ability to buy replacement parts for your wheels below cost and have them rebuilt for no charge. This is a rare service and will save you a lot of money when you experience a crash. Price is not always a true reflection of a products value, and the value of Boyd wheels is greater than the price you will pay for them.

RCSpeed - 01/28/13 - 4:38pm

So how are these “proven or optimized” aerodynamic profiles if they have never been validated or even proven to be so?
“Boyd said that currently they have not had any of the rims in a wind tunnel, but mentions with a chuckle, “I’ve never entered a race in a wind tunnel.” Instead, the rim shapes are based on proven aerodynamic profiles with the deeper rims optimized”
IS that because the designs are a complete rip from a HED stinger, Zipp 404 (torrodial hybrid) and Zipp FC?
I have seen shapes in wind tunnels that one would think be aero and are complete dogs. Just because it looks like a bird… doesnt mean it flies like one.

Dirty-D - 01/29/13 - 8:43am

I drink BOYDS kool-aid, I’ll admit it, but after E-mailing him back and forth 17 times (including from a coffee shop on at the midpoint on a Sunday morning ride and getting a response about 2 sips later) before I bought my wheelset, I was and still am thoroughly convinced there is no better Customer Service, and bang for the buck product out there. I repeatedly descend right by guys I ride with who paid substantially more for Easton, Zipp, Reynolds, Stella-Azurra and other well recognized carbon clinchers. I will not hesitate to buy from Boyd again. Like it or not…Aero is here to stay, and Coach B. is just grabbing some market share with these new profile rims, The way I see it the only guys in the aero game close to this price is FLO, and with them you are paying a huge weight penalty, and they are never available… I’ll probably jump on a set of these new profile BOYDS myself in the next few months.

Boyd Johnson - 01/29/13 - 10:21am

There will always be people who will want to know how well their wheels would perform if they rolled the wheel down the road by itself with no rider or bike around them. That is basically what the wind tunnel testing will show. A wheel behaves drastically different with different forks, frames, or rider shapes around them. Testing a wheel by itself in the controlled environment of the wind tunnel does not tell the whole story. The real world testing we have done (bike+wheels+rider on a controlled course with power meter confirmation proves we have a very competitive design).

What if the wind tunnel tells you to build the wheel with only 8 spokes because it will be 4 seconds faster over 40K? We prefer to build the wheels to be “real world” tested. Higher spoke count options to make for stronger and more durable wheels. External brass nipples in case you ever have to make a small adjustment. Double crossing the spokes on both sides of the rear wheel for better transfer of torque. These are all things that may make the wheel a couple seconds slower in the very controlled environment of the wind tunnel, but will make the wheel more real world friendly. Since every race I have ever done takes place outside with turns, hills, sprints, and long sustained efforts we want to build for these conditions. If you really want your wheel to be used in those races that will take place in front if a giant fan (where you can’t have a bike or rider present) then there may be other options available to you.

Ongaro - 02/01/13 - 3:25pm

One more vote for Boyd here. I bought my wife a pair of the 38 mm clinchers last year and after a few thousand miles of rough roads, the wheels are still perfect. I also have just ordered a pair of the new 44 mm clinchers for my bicycle.
Do the Boyd wheels cost more than the Chinese ones bought directly from the Chinese sites? It sure does. It should . There is more work and customer support costs behind Boyd wheels and I can attest for the quality of both the wheels and the customer support provided by Boyd. And, of course he has to make a profit. After all, last time I checked people were not working for free if they had a choice.
When people compare the prices of wheels they put together themselves using inexpensive parts imported directly from China or Taiwan with a product that is backed by a domestic company, I’d say the comparison is at least unfair. And for the defenders of the “big dogs” (Zipp, Reynolds, Enve, etc..), I’m pretty sure their margins are quite high too. Possibly higher than the performance benefits you are going to get from their products.
I guess the point is how much you are willing to pay and how much you expect back. If you have the money to buy the top of the shelf stuff, go for it. If you can build your own wheels and is willing to deal with possible issues caused by inexpensive parts, then go for it. I feel that Boyd offers a very good balance, with top notch customer support and a reliable product and a price that his customers consider a fair one and worth paying.

djrbikes - 02/24/13 - 9:22pm

I’ve had a set of Boyd 50 carbon clinchers for several years on an Orbea. I love them. They allow me to ride in flat windy conditions with much better riders. They are my every day wheels on that bike and have never had a problem. The hub can be loud when coasting, but I’ve learned to like the sound. I just bought a Dogma2 and will be riding it in area with steep climbs and bad roads. Although the bike came with areo carbons, I plan to buy a set of Boyds for it as a training and climbing wheels because of the reliable all condition stopping and durability. As far as the graphics – who cares if the wheel performs and allows you to get the most of your bike.

Mike - 03/27/13 - 5:02am

With the big price increases from Boyd, you might as well step up to Reynolds or Mavic. I have all three and braking is much better with Reynolds and Mavic. The Boyds are okay but I have doubts about their long term durability.

Bobby - 11/10/13 - 4:36pm

I couldn’t agree more about the great customer service. I have a set of 2012 50mm clinchers and love them. I wish I hadn’t wasted money on a set of Chinese wheels before discovering Boyd Johnson’s wheels!

muf - 11/14/13 - 12:16am

If you have never entered a wind tunnel, you shouldn’t judge the wind tunnel. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re aware of the benefit of having scientific testing. Wind tunnels are however expensive and that would reflect on the wheels price.
At this price range/quality, unfortunately, these wheels compare with farsports and not with zipp.
So yes, $950 for the customer service I suppose.

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