2015 Boyd Cycling carbon clincher and tubular road bike wheels get lighter with new hubs

This week, Boyd Cycling’s carbon-rimmed road bike wheels get a running change with new rims, sleeker decal options and lighter, upgraded rear hubs.

Shown above in 44mm and 60mm depths, the rims switch from having a 3K woven surface layer to full UD carbon fiber construction. They switched manufacturers for a larger company that can keep up with growing demand, which meant forming new molds. The shape, width and heights are all the same, but the move gave them an opportunity to tweak the layup. The result is a carbon clincher rim that’s about 40g lighter. The move to all unidirectional fibers was responsible for about 15g of those savings, the rest came from changes to the layup. The 44mm clincher should come in at 460g and the 60mm at 520g. Changes to the tubular’s layup ate the weight savings, so its scale reading remains unchanged.

Both are also available in an 90mm depth, which Boyd says garnered a negative drag between 10° and 20° yaw angles in the wind tunnel.

2015 Boyd Cycling carbon clincher and tubular road bike wheels get lighter with new hubs

Complementing the smooth new UD finish are new graphics options. You can order them with or without the gray “BOYD” logos all around like you see in the top pic. Either way, they’ll keep the “flag” stripe at the valve hole.

2015 Boyd Cycling carbon clincher and tubular road bike wheels get lighter with new hubs 2015 Boyd Cycling carbon clincher and tubular road bike wheels get lighter with new hubs

All sizes and versions will be available this week. They’ll be $1,300 to $1,500 per set depending on type and depth.

2015 Boyd Cycling carbon clincher and tubular road bike wheels get lighter with new hubs

Disc brake versions will be available by cyclocross season. Boyd says the clinchers can be set up tubeless with rim tape and sealant.

2015 Boyd Cycling rear hubs get lighter with quicker engagement and better preload adjustment

They’re being built on new rear hubs that have a revised preload system, quicker engagement with 32 drive ring teeth (versus 24 on prior hubs), and a new hub shell that sheds 40g. The cap on the left (non-drive side) threads on to preload the bearings, then a small bolt (not visible on this pic) clamps it down at the proper adjustment point and prevents loosening. Front hub stays the same.


While Boyd’s carbon wheels are a steal, he offers a range of alloy wheels for those on a really tight budget. The latest are the Altamont Disc, which should also be popping up on his website any day now. Based on the standard rim brake version, these use the same rims but without a machined brake track. Width is 24mm/18.5mm internal with a 30mm deep flat-to-rounded aero shape.

Boyd Cycling Altamont Disc alloy road bike wheelset for disc brakes

While the standard rim brake wheels get three spoke lacing options based on rider weight, the disc models will only come as two-cross, 24 front/28 rear. Weight should be around 1650g.

Boyd Cycling Altamont Disc alloy road bike wheelset for disc brakes

Retail is $670, same as the rim brake models.

Boyd Cycling Altamont Disc alloy road bike wheelset for disc brakes

I rode these through 80 miles of hilly Virginia back roads and gravel paths (easily 50% or more off the pavement) this weekend and they held up admirably. The rim isn’t tubeless ready per se, but Boyd’s crew set mine up tubeless with Stan’s tape and sealant and Hutchinson Secteur 28c tires. Those turned out to be darn near perfect for the mix of on- and off pavé adventures the Baller’s Ride is known for. The wheels rolled fast and smooth, handled the corners very well and kept the tires firmly planted and aired up.

At just 30mm deep, cross winds weren’t an issue, yet they sliced through the air quite well. Respect for my own life and limb kept me under 45mph on the descents, and they were perfectly stable all the way to that point. On the gravel descents, we hit up to 24mph (steady at 19mph for extended periods), and they were stiff enough to track precisely around turns and avoiding obstacles on firm to loose to what-the-hell-am-I-doing-riding-this-so-fast conditions. All in all, a very impressive wheelset that’d make a solid choice for cyclocross, too.



  1. I’ve ridden an older set of 38mm clinchers from Boyd and they are fast and have held up in some terrible situations.

    Looking forward to trying these new designs out at some time in the future, keep up the good work!

  2. @Fatso – I’ve also wondered about this, BOYD isn’t the only company whose wind tunnel graphs show negative drag at certain yaw angles. Can someone please explain this? Is it kinda like a sailboat tacking?

  3. @pmurf – Its marketing at its finest. Make something that sounds amazing that no one can truly tell you what it means.

    It exists… but is relatively unlikely to be useful for 99% of cyclists.

    Start looking at real friction between the tire and road and you’ll find that yaw angle don’t matter 🙂

  4. @ Matt – So what you’re saying is that if I am riding and stop pedaling these wheels will drive me forward on their own?

    I get that the idea is that they won’t slow you down any (zero drag) but the point of negative drag to say that they will actually propel you forward is ludicrous.

  5. Fatso, this will help: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton's_laws_of_motion .

    Did you happen to look at the units on the graphs mentioned by Matt? Did you look at the magnitude of the negative drag?

    In terms of your statement: “Start looking at friction between the tire and road and you’ll find that yaw angle don’t matter.” This should help you: http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/vectors/Lesson-1/Vector-Components . You might also want to learn about how drag is measured in a wind tunnel.

  6. @Fatso, guess that it is possible, just that the force from the negative drag is not sufficient to overcome ie rolling resistance, mechanical friction etc so it still would slow you down

  7. No, the negative drag is not sufficient to overcome the sum of the forces acting opposite the bikes direction of motion, but it does reduce the sum of those forces. In these days when much more attention is paid to aerodynamics–especially in triathlons and TT’s–negative drag is a bonus. Note that the wheels with negative drag are 90mm deep wheels, the kind of wheels that TT riders and triathletes might use. The negative drag might be the difference, for a buyer, between this wheel set and another.

    That negative drag was measured is not a marketing trick. What the marketing folks say about it is another matter.

  8. @fatso, I was talking to Boyd in person about this a few weeks ago. He likened it to a sail boat sailing into the wind, just on a smaller scale.

  9. Based on the linked drag-yaw chart, for a 90mm wheel, drag becomes negative at 12.5′ rather than the 10′ as mentioned 🙂

    Nice looking product

  10. @Psi Squared – you have the best answer 🙂 it doesn’t overcome anything. Simply helps reduce some of the opposing forces. I can see that.

    Acting like a sailboat is a bad description. There is no rudder on a bike, you’re not leveraging any of that wind. That’s what makes a sail boat move forward. Negative drag is like holding up a garbage bag on a sailboat. Doesn’t move it forward on its own but every additional bit helps.

    I think there are such limited conditions where you will find a 10-20 degree yaw consistently in any real world situation that you would benefit from this. Maybe riding down a straight runway. As soon as you turn and have any 20-90 degree wind that 90mm profile is going to hurt more than help.

  11. Hey guys, I’ll comment on a few things here.

    First if all, yes. . .the negative drag actually happened on the 90mm depth between 12.5 and 20% yaw angle. I had just ridden 80 miles of paved and dirt roads through the mountains near Wintergreen ski resort and was enjoying a nice Devil’s Backbone beer while I was talking with Tyler about the new wheels.

    The negative drag was measured with the wheel (and tire) only in the wind tunnel. It’s not going to propel you forward in real world conditions as there are thousands of grams of drag opposing you when you are pedaling forward. At 25mph in a normal riding position typical drag numbers of a complete bike and rider are between 2000 to 2500 grams of drag. So it’s not like you would stop pedaling and the wheel would continue to move you forward, but it will lower your total drag numbers. Basically it means you’re more aero by having a wheel there than if you had no wheel at all. Keep in mind there are also resistance forces to overcome (tires, tubes, bearings) and gravity forces when you are going uphill.

    You are not likely to see conditions where you would experience negative drag for the vast majority of your rides, however we all see times where that wind is blowing from the wide. Cycling is a sport where conditions are always changing. We are changing speed and directions and the wind is changing speed and directions. In a typical day out riding we experience all sorts of different yaw angles. This is why having a wheel that performs at all yaw angles is a good choice. Most wheels perform about the same between 0 to 5 degrees yaw angle, but there can be some significant differences between wheels at those higher yaw angles. If you were riding in a world where wind didn’t exist then wheel selection would not be as important.

    Negative drag on the wheel and tire by itself in a wind tunnel is real and can be measured. It’s not just a marketing gimmick and there are a few other wheel companies out there who have been able to accomplish negative drag. The fact that our wheels make you more attractive, help lower your cholesterol, and are guaranteed to make you win 4 Tour de Frances are complete marketing gimmicks.

    @Fatso – That picture from the first comment is getting printed and taped to my locker the second I am done writing this comment. Brilliant!

What do you think?