A little while back, we came across November Bicycles’ latest project – the Rail52 carbon clincher. Thanks to a wealth of information and data provided by November’s Dave Kirkpatrick, the Rails promised to be extremely competitive – especially if the price was anywhere near their RFSC wheels. Just over 9 months later, November’s babies are here and it doesn’t look like the price will be holding them back.
Are Rail52s the new carbon clincher to beat? Find out more, next.
The Rail52 marks November’s departure from open mold rims which left many wondering how the price of the new wheels would compare. At only a 14% increase of their RFSCs, the Rail52s are a steal at $1,285 especially when you consider the design and performance. Built with an 18mm internal and 25mm external width at the brake track, the wheels promise a smooth ride and better tire performance. The 52mm rim profile is based on NACA airfoils and Dave’s extensive experience designing boats and sails. The result is a wheel that has proven in the A2 wind tunnel to be on par with or surpass most of the competitors while keeping the rim height to 52mm. During testing, the Rail52 proved to be faster at all angle of attacks than any of November’s previous wheels, even their 85mm rim.
Braking has been improved as well with new high Tg resins that can withstand up to 350°f. Since the wheels ship out with the new SwissStop Black Prince brake pads, the 35% reduction in heat of the pads plus the new resin promises better modulation and stopping power.
Weight? The Rail52s have a claimed weight of 1525g (670g front / 855g rear) – but that also includes the 20/24h Sapim CX Ray spoking for durability. Many wheels like the Zipp 404s use fewer spokes for improved aerodynamics. If you can achieve better aerodynamics with more spokes and a minimal weight penalty, why not?
Rail52s will be built with November’s own hubs in red or black, with the option for White Industries T11, CX11, or PowerTap G3 hubs as upgrades. The wheels will be Shimano 9/10, 9/10/11, or Campy 9/10/11 compatible and are built to order by hand in the Mid-Atlantic with current build times around 2-3 weeks.