Just In: Boyd’s New Wider, Deeper, Stiffer, More Aero Altamont Road Wheels

Boyd Altamont Aluminum clincher Wheels road668

Building on their Vitesse wheelset, Boyd is back in town with a new aluminum clincher. It’s wider, deeper, more stiff and more aerodynamic – all good things when it comes to your wheels, and yet, they’ve managed to keep the retail price under $700. If you’re looking for an aluminum wheelset that offers higher performance, Boyd’s new Altamont wheels are pretty intriguing. Named after the road that goes up and over Paris Mountain in Greenville, SC, the Altamonts have been tested in Boyd’s backyard.

Climb the high mountain to learn more.

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When you first check out the Altamont, the burly rim is the first thing that catches your eye. It’s wide, tall, and has a round profile that looks unique for an aluminum clincher. The rims are a pinned and sleeved design with a machined brake track. If you like the logos the good news is that they are laser etched to the rim surface so there are no stickers to peel. If you don’t like the logos, well…

altamont rim

The secret to the stiffness of the Altamont’s rim is in the riblets. The ribbed inner walls of the rim are supposed to drastically improve overall stiffness while helping to keep the weight down to 475g. Built with a 24mm external width and 18.3mm internal width the Altamont offers a great footprint for the tire with a very nice transition from the sidewall to the brake track. In addition to the 30mm tall rim, aerodynamics are further improved by designing the rim so that when the brake track is machined down, it is the same height as the rest of the rim.

Altamont Aerodynamics

Using their own wind tunnel testing data plus data from Cycling Power Lab for a Zipp 101 and Mavic Ksyrium RS, Boyd contends that their wheel is more aerodyamic at almost every yaw angle.

Boyd Altamont Aluminum clincher Wheels road671 Boyd Altamont Aluminum clincher Wheels road669

Boyd Altamont Aluminum clincher Wheels road670 Boyd Altamont Aluminum clincher Wheels road672

At the center of the Altamonts are Boyd’s hubs which use widely spaced bearings and flanges to get the most stiffness out of the design. The hubs feature a traditional flange design with j-bend spokes in a few options, and in 10 or 11 speed compatible freehubs.

Boyd offers three spoking versions of the wheels based on your weight. Under 180 lbs? Then you can use the 20/24h version seen here. Those who are 180-240 lbs should look into the 24/28h version, though if you are 220 lbs or over you should probably think about the 28/32h versions which don’t have a weight limit. Boyd’s thinking is that they can offer similar performance for riders at any weight with multiple options. All wheels are built with Sapim CX Ray j-bend spokes held in place with Sapim SecureLock Brass nipples with a radial pattern on the front, and 2 cross on both sides for the rear. The overbuilt 220+ wheelset uses a 2x on the front and 3x on both sides for the rear.

20/24 spoke count – $650USD
24/28 spoke count – $670USD
28/32 spoke count – $690USD

Boyd puts a lot of emphasis on their wheel builds, as do many other companies with hand built wheels. All wheels are built up in their Greenville, SC facility by their trained wheel builders with each wheel started and finished by the same builder.

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Inside the rear hub is a 4 pawl freehub with individual leaf springs for each pawl. The Freehub runs on a large axle that is secured with a 5mm allen end cap, just past a preload adjuster ring that is tightened with a 22mm cone wrench.

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Without rim strips or skewers, the 20h front wheel weighs 680g and the 24h rear wheel weighs 900g for a 1580g weight for the set.

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Our test set included rim strips, nice Boyd Internal cam skewers, and a set of Swissstop Flash Pro brake pads. Skewers came in at 119g for the pair.

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First Impressions:

It may be a bit icy out, but that didn’t stop me from getting out for a quick spin on the Altamont wheels. A pair of Michelin Pro 4 tires in 23mm were installed, which measured 23.4mm fully inflated – off to a good start. The tires were tight on the rim, but I was able to install them without tools.

After opening up the brakes (these rims are indeed wide), I took off. True to their word, the wheels needed nothing out of the box and were perfectly true and round, and did not pop or ping on the first ride. The first thing that really hits you is how sturdy the wheels feel, not just stiff, but they really feel planted to the road. Interestingly enough, the last wheels that were on this bike were a pair of Zipp 101s, and while the Altamonts feel much stiffer than the Zipps, the first ride left me feeling like the Zipps were a little faster. Of course, today was not a good day to make those comparisons as it was cold and the wheels have different tires, etc. so a longer test with more even conditions will be needed. One thing is for sure though, if you are hard on your wheels and want something stiff, from first impressions the Altamont will not let you down.

 

 

 

 

Comments

Christopher Williams - 01/10/14 - 10:37am

Does this company actually research and design their components, or is it picked from a pre-determined mold through a 3rd party?

Adam - 01/10/14 - 10:41am

Great to see a small brand still revamping new products. Loved my Vitesse wheels so I’m excited to try these.

Bobby - 01/10/14 - 10:45am

Look, the bottom line is this. Boyd makes great wheels. Never on a whim, their products are always well researched, top notch, and high quality. Plus, Boyd himself, bears the pride of these wheels on his shoulders. They stand behind their products all the way. If these are superior to their already-proven Vitesse wheel set, then they are safe money. I’m getting a pair.

pornitswhatlwouldratherbmaking - 01/10/14 - 12:08pm

the title sounds a little pornographic, lol.

hogdog - 01/10/14 - 12:25pm

So a $700 wheelset is now a training wheelset? The world’s gone !”£$%^&* mental!

herrow prease - 01/10/14 - 12:35pm

Bobby – You are a (deleted) if you think Boyd does all their own molds/design/research. They are nothing more than open mold wheels with open production hubs (bitex/etc). You are kidding yourself if you think they have some research facility like zipp or something of that level. Drinking juice like that is gonna make you pee rainbows.

That being said, Boyd has great customer service and they put together the open mold wheels and hubs here with probably a tad more care than they do in China. That’s just an assumption though. At least they are using the china hubs that have the individual springs on the pawls instead of that stupid ring spring/band.
Matter of fact you can get the same hub here for 72.00
http://www.bikehubstore.com/SL210-p/sl210.htm

PC - 01/10/14 - 12:40pm

My entire team rides Boyds, and I personally own two sets. These things are legit! Furthermore, their customer service is excellent.

Chris - 01/10/14 - 1:48pm

Hotdog, I don’t mean to be rude but when race wheels cost upwards of 2000, I’d say 700 is a good number for a mid priced training wheel. Not only that, they are only around 1.5kg for the set. I don’t think $700 is terrible.

These seem solid. I’m thinking I may have to scoop a pair of these

Archibold - 01/10/14 - 1:53pm

It is hilarious that they compare their wind tunnel data to completely different data, presumably that from Tour Mag. To measure something that requires a minute level of precision and then compare versus a different protocol is meaningless.

And how exactly do Zipps “feel” faster? Using their incredibly optimistic drag data, there is about a 3 watt difference to the Zipp 101 at most yaw angles that you’d experience, and there is, at most, a 50 gram weight difference between the two wheelsets. I think this is one of those times that the placebo (or marketing) has the biggest effect on your perception of the relative speeds.

SomeFawkingguy - 01/10/14 - 2:02pm

Boyd makes great product no doubt but when you got zipp decals on your wheels they always feel faster…

Boyd Johnson - 01/10/14 - 2:32pm

@herrow prease

I was actually expecting a response in here, as I have seen you posting this on other articles about our products.

First of all, yes we do own the molds for these rims (as well as our hubs and our carbon rims). In fact, it may be hard to make out, but here is the attachments that go on the alloy tube bending machine. You can see our name imprinted on those rollers.
http://oi42.tinypic.com/1z1y6bp.jpg

In addition, if you look at the link for the hubs you have posted, they look absolutely nothing like the hub in the picture right above your post.

I do appreciate the note about the customer service and we do strive for the best. If you have any questions about our stuff I would love for you to personally email me so that you are informed and aren’t posting things where you may not have all the info.
Thanks,
Boyd

Jason Spiker - 01/10/14 - 2:50pm

Are these tubeless ready?

Imo the Michelin Pro 4 is way too tacky and makes any wheels feel slow. I can really feel a big diff stitching Conti 4000s to pro 4. Pro 4 feels slooooow. So it might not be the wheels.

Jason Spiker - 01/10/14 - 2:52pm

Switching not stitching lol.

Whatarchiboldsays - 01/10/14 - 3:08pm

These wheels are probably great but to compare wheel wind tunnel data outside of same session tests is not advised.

Haya - 01/10/14 - 3:15pm

Ribbed, for her pleasure.

When is the world going to dump j bend spokes. They just suck.

Other than that, love them.

GROSS - 01/10/14 - 3:24pm

put a Boyd on it.

Christopher Williams - 01/10/14 - 3:30pm

I was always under the impression that aluminum rims went through an extrusion process, not an actual mold? am I wrong?

Boyd Johnson - 01/10/14 - 3:40pm

Hey Christopher,

Yes, the process for alloy is to extrude the rims into a long straight alloy tube that will be in the shape of the rim. Then it gets sent through a rim bending machine (of which takes specific bending molds for each rim profile). For each extrusion you will get about 4 coils. A saw cuts them down into individual rims and from there they get either pinned, joined, or welded.
The the rim get’s anodized and the brake track gets machined down. In our case we add another step of laser etching the logos onto the rim.

We will be testing the wheel in the wind tunnel again against competition on same day, same wind tunnel, same tire. We had our wheel tested and wanted to show data in comparison to other tests (set to a standard air density and altitude) just to have some sort of comparison. On our carbons we brought in a Zipp 303 as a benchmark wheel to test against with very comparable results.

spokejunky - 01/10/14 - 3:53pm

@Boyd….The hubs do look a little like Novatec. Are they wider in the flange spacing or higher flange maybe?

Boyd Johnson - 01/10/14 - 3:56pm

@spokejunky,

They will be wider in flange spacing and also much wider in bearing spacing. We included an example of the Novatec as a hub with a long end cap in one of our blog posts about hub stability. In there you can see the difference between our hub and the Novatech offering.
http://blog.boydcycling.com/2013/05/hub-stability.html

Thanks

Zez - 01/10/14 - 4:06pm

I have a set of Boyd Vitesse wheels and they are outstanding. Ask anybody who has a pair and they will gush great things about their quality and feel on the road. Teammates of mine have been racing on the same carbon tubulars from Boyd for years and winning races up here in Quebec. We all love them.
Get some Boyds. Their products keep improving and their customer service is OUTSTANDING.

Bob - 01/10/14 - 4:40pm

@Haya, J-bend spokes don’t suck. Stop drinking the marketing kool-aid. Straight pull spokes solve no real problems, it’s all marketing BS. However, straight pull DO have a negative – they cause lower bracing angles and therefore less lateral wheel stiffness.

Good job Boyd. Nice to see a company like yours grow and start to invest in R&D and doing your own designs. Don’t let the haters get you down!

BKat - 01/10/14 - 4:59pm

Interesting how the haters seem to know everything about all Boyd’s processes from testing, building, supplying and building, but Boyd seems to be a step ahead of all of them and already has his knowledge ready to set you straight.

I’ve emailed Boyd a couple times and always gotten an answer right away. Can’t say the same for Williams or any of the other companies I’ve contacted. In time, i may have gotten an answer, but it was either a bit vague or not what i was asking for.

One consistent thing seems to be I’ve never publicly seen one Customer Service complaint with Boyd. That alone would make me feel comfortable owning another set of his wheels.

Once again, nice work Boyd.

brownie - 01/10/14 - 7:54pm

Tubeless rim version soon? I don’t tape rims for tubeless unless it had the tubeless “shelf”.

Archibold - 01/10/14 - 10:52pm

@BKat:
Oh, I’m not a hater at all. I just don’t think that his source of aero data was super relevant. The differences we’re talking about in drag are so minuscule that it’s really a non-issue. If they make a good stiff wheel and stand by them, that’s way more important. I just wish they didn’t have to supply the requisite aero data for every $700 wheelset anymore, because that’s really not a big deal. That said, I completely understand the pressure to show this stuff to be competitive in the market, but I think the aero race has gotten a little ridiculous.

greg - 01/11/14 - 1:37am

@the Boyd guy,
do the four pawls engage at the same time, or two-by-two?
some freehubs purposely put the left bearing further to the right, so they are not directly under the pawls. has your system been tested to determine if bearing drag spikes during high torque moments?
like others said, you CANNOT compare data directly when different items were taken from different places at different times by different people. Looking at CyclingPowerLabs’ data, notice that everything by HED, including their tests of competitors’ products, has lower values than all others. interestingly, Bontrager and Zipp’s data are pretty close to each other. it is also clear that Tour Mag’s test is garbage. IIRC, their “wind tunnel” was not much larger than the wheel itself (a big no-no) and looked much more suited for 1/10 scale models or smaller.
i look forward to your direct wheel-to-wheel tests.

greg - 01/11/14 - 1:56am

looking into it, it must have been a different magazine when it comes to the “garbage” wind tunnel. so i take that back.

James - 01/11/14 - 4:48am

One comment seems to fly under the radar, and it’s one of the few that aren’t one sided and definitely one of the few that isn’t snarky.

Are the rims made Road Tubeless compatible?

Boyd Johnson - 01/11/14 - 8:28am

Hey Greg,

Tour Magazine is a fairly well respected technical magazine and they test in an actual wind tunnel to a standard procedure. However there can be differences between tires, wind tunnels, and even testing procedures. Cycling Power Lab does a good job of breaking down these tests and standardizes them (they actually slightly changed our results to a standard air density). However, if you look at the data on the website you will notice Zipp seems to be the most tested wheel, and the results for the same wheels can be all over the place. When we brought the 303 with us to the wind tunnel, it was the best result that has ever been posted for a Zipp wheel (including their own tests). They should thank us :-)
As I mentioned, we wanted to so some sort of comparison to other wheels, but didn’t have them with us when we took our trip to the wind tunnel. I had the trip scheduled as we wanted to test the carbons and the day before the trip the first Altamont rim arrived for testing so I quickly built it up and brought it with us.
We’ll be going back a few times over the next few months so there’ll be a lot of data we’ll acquire and we’ll be posting it all. Usually a baseline for wheel comparison will be a box rim 32spoke wheel. . .but I don’t know many people that are still on setups like that, and we don’t want to compare our wheels to a wheel my grandfather would have raced on.

@James, the wheels can be run tubeless but you would need the conversion kits (like from Stans). It’s not tubeless ready out of the box, meaning it does have spoke holes drilled in the rim bed.

Thanks guys

Batson - 01/11/14 - 10:04am

Boyd, are you doing your wind tunnel testing at the facility here in town or up in Charlotte?

Nice new wheels btw. Can you run me an anno set in purple?

Left coast rider - 01/11/14 - 10:49am

I love my Boyd carbon wheels. Bike Rumor should do a story about Boyd’s company and include photos of the R&D, engineering, and manufacturing departments. This would put the HATERS to rest and let the West coast see his setup.

PS: Did Boyd hint about up coming carbon hubs? “we do own the molds for these rims (as well as our hubs and our carbon rims).” I hope so!

Tim Todd - 01/11/14 - 11:55am

Chuck D and Flava Flave will tell you what to do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9vQaVIoEjOM

Almon - 01/11/14 - 5:59pm

I don’t know how they build/develop or test their wheels, all I can say is that I have run Zipp 808′s (Firecrest) and the Boyd 90mm wheels in the same spoke configuration on the same tubes and tires and the Boyd wheels were faster when I was trying to go fast on the same course in pretty close to the same conditions day in and day out over a whole season.

I don’t know why or really care to know why, it was about the best money I ever spent in road cycling.

Kavitator - 01/12/14 - 3:48pm

Hubs from BHS are Bitex and far far away what Boyds are

herrow prease – be carefull what you posting on international pages!

Very good weight for new wide rims – compare to H+SON arch they are lighter

RobertS - 01/13/14 - 12:15pm

Surprising to see so many people here trying to bash these wheels without giving them a fair shake (unless they got some pre-production wheels I haven’t heard about?). Glad to see a nice product from an American craftsman that, by all accounts so far, rivals the big guys at a value to the little guys. My only real comments on Boyd products is to echo their OUTSTANDING customer service. I bought a set of Boyd wheels second-hand a few years ago and used them to train and race ‘cross. My weight fluctuates about 10lbs north or south of 200 so these wheels took a beating and remained true much better than any of the Mavics I had been riding previously. During a race I shredded the spring that held the pawls in place and had a local bike shop see what they could do. The mechanic placed a call directly to Boyd who let him know this was a wheel they no longer carried (CX30′s). However, Boyd said that he would see if he still had any replacement parts. Bear in mind, I was not the original owner and was likely using them beyond what any of the larger wheel manufacturers would warranty anyway by racing and weighing so much. Regardless, Boyd DID have the spring in stock and express delivered a couple (so I could have a spare) to the store in time for me to be racing them again the next weekend. This all cost me exactly ZERO dollars. That kind of customer service is unrivaled anywhere. Since then I’ve been glad to buy any other parts I can from Boyd (gorgeous carbon bottle cages, skewers to replace much more expensive Reynolds units, and swissstop brake pads) and have always been impressed by the value and the fast shipping. I’ll definitely look at them for future wheel purchases (this altamont looks outstanding!) and am glad to put a wheel underneath me that the builder has enough pride in to put his name on. Thanks Boyd, and keep up the great work!

Alan - 01/14/14 - 12:07am

Holy moly that’s a lot of cone wrenches!

gabbia - 01/15/14 - 10:10pm

It’s funny they compare them to Mavic Ksyriums as they’re an aero pig.
And as for him making his own molds….NOT! I can email you his rim supplier info.
It kills me people state they make their own wheels and are not telling the truth.
Bear in mind the random carbon guys like Orr, ROL, Carroll, Mercury, Clemintine, Boyd ect, ect, ect, are all off the shelf Taiwanese or China based rims. The rim weights vary so much due to the crappy way they’re made that the builders have to weigh each one to get a matched pair for building.
None of these are UCI crash tested, so when you ride them you’re taking your life in your hands to save a few bucks.

Brian - 01/17/14 - 3:57pm

Purchased my set today.

brian - 01/19/14 - 8:10am

purchased…

Pat - 01/21/14 - 11:17am

I’m in on the first batch!

danfoz - 01/25/14 - 10:03am

Why is it funny they are compared to Mavic Ksyriums for wind tunnel results?

Many manufactures including Zipp and HED, and Rolf do just that for the very real reason that the Mavics are not an “aero” rim in any way shape or form, and it gives a picture of what if any benefit they’ll provide against a box wheel that has been ridden by many folks who have ridden more than one wheel, and a rim one will often see in it’s various price point iterations lining up at the start in different categories taking place in locations where fields actually meet the rider limit. Not funny at all imo.

Brian - 01/31/14 - 6:50pm

Got my wheel on thursday….look and sound great. Taking for their shakeout ride on Saturday.

speeddemon - 04/07/14 - 11:55pm

It’s time for an update I’m debating between the altamont and the custom build with wi hubs laced to pacenti sl23

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