Monday, May 11, 2009

REV-22 vs REV-22L

A common inquiry we get is riders asking for guidance to choose between the REV-22 and 22L so I figured it deserved a post.

So what's the difference between the two?

They both use the same hubs, rims and spokes but the main difference is the number of spokes. The 22L is built using 20 radial laced spokes in the front and 24 twice crossed spokes in the rear and the 22 is similarly laced but uses four extra spokes per wheel for a 24/28 build. The 22L uses alloy nipples on the front wheel and non-drive side on the rear. Brass nipples are used on the drive side. The 22 uses brass nipples all around. The 22L weighs about 1290g for the set and the 22 weighs about 1350g.

So which one is right for you?

The 22L was built to be as light as possible. It is not for everyone and is probably not the best choice for most riders. The 22mm rims are surprisingly stiff and resilient given their low weight - much more so than other rims of similar weight we've tested. Even so, at the lower spoke count, larger or more powerful riders will likely notice some deflection while sprinting or climbing. If you are generally hard on equipment or ride often on lousy roads, these are probably not for you.

Lighter riders, such as most women and juniors (not to mention those skinny freaks that fly uphill) should find them a compelling option and very affordable compared to wheels of similar weight and quality. The weight of the bike, especially rotating weight, will make a greater difference for lighter riders. A 17lb bike is 13.5% of the weight of a 130lb rider but only 9.4% of the weight of a 180lb rider. It therefore becomes much more important for lighter riders to seek out the lightest possible equipment as it will make a greater difference. Most reasonably priced wheels, however, seek to appeal to the largest possible market and are therefore overbuilt, leaving smaller riders with wheels that are much heavier than they need to be. This is what we had in mind when designing the 22L.

I'm a pretty light guy (140) and these are the wheels I ride the most. I rode them mercilessly through a full season of cyclocross and continue to use them on my road bike as training and commuting wheels. I don't recommend that anyone else use them this way (we have much better options for cyclocross wheels) but I can say that I've been very happy with how they've held up so far.

For most riders, even lighter riders looking for a stronger training wheel, the Rev-22 will be the more appropriate option. At 1350g, it is still a very light set of wheels and the extra assurance, strength and stiffness afforded by the eight extra spokes should make them more attractive to a broader audience. If you are getting hung up on the extra 60g, think of it this way: Similarly priced wheels generally come in around 1700g per pair. If you swap them out with a set of 1350g wheels, I guarantee that you will notice a significant difference. If you then swap out those for a set of 1290g wheels, you probably won't notice much of anything.

What about the REV-30?

If you are looking for an all-purpose clincher that can be used for racing, training or cyclocross (please consider tubulars for cross, you won't regret it) the REV-30 is an excellent choice. It is still a lightweight set of wheels at 1530g per set and with a 30mm deep, stiff aero rim and 24/28 build using brass nipples, they are damn near bulletproof. Although the rims may not accelerate quite as quickly while climbing, they will be faster over a rolling course thanks to their aerodynamic advantage. This is also a great rim to pair with a PowerTap hub for use in both training and racing.

So hopefully this clears a few things up. As always please do not hesitate to email, twitter, or call with questions.

7 comments:

katos said...

Thanks for the Post! I have been debating wether I should Purchase Rev-22's or 22L's. For someone who's more of a sprinter then a climber, and weighs from 170 to 175, I wasn't sure if the 22L's would give me any advantage... now considering the roads I ride on most of the time (as I might train on these every once in awhile)I will surely purchase the 22's. Thanks for taking the time to clarify.

REVOLUTION! said...

No Problem. If you have any other questions, please let us know.

bencycles said...

Ever consider lacing the 22's in a 3-cross front and rear for all around use? I'll bet those would roll smooth...

soxiam said...

i too am trying to decide between 22 vs. 22L. i appreciate your comment on how most people would not be able to tell the weight difference between the two, but how about the difference in stiffness? for reference i am 150 lbs. rider and finds the likes of mavic ksyrium sl and campy neutrons stiff enough but have been disappointed in the past with the flex on velomax wheels.

-JK said...

@bencycles With a 24h hub the most we could do would be 2 cross in the front. I'm happy to build it this way for those who ask. The difference between 2x and 3x in the rear would be inconsequential. A 2x build in the front would make for a marginally more resilient front wheel but radial stiffness would remain virtually unchanged (not sure if this is what you mean by "roll smooth".)

-JK said...

@soxiam I'd probably recommend the 22 for you over the 22L. More spokes will always make for a stiffer, stronger wheel so the 22 will be stiffer. The rim is also be a factor so I always recommend the 30s for those who want the stiffest possible wheels. That said, for as light as our 22mm rim is, it is impressively stiff. I'm a light guy (140) and I've also experienced a lot of deflection on some wheels but I've been riding a set of 22Ls for a long time now and have not had any issues with deflection.

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