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.
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
60mm tubular – $1400 / 60mm clincher – $1450
90mm tubular – $1450 / 90mm clincher – $1500