Tuesday, November 23, 2010


We've made a few changes over the past few months to our alloy line up and I'd like to use a few posts here to outline the changes and introduce the new wheels, starting with the REV-27X.

For better or worse, the cycling industry has become increasingly specialized in the last 10-15 years. This, of course, extends to the wheel market and componentry in general and while many of these "innovations" are cause for celebration - cross canti's that actually work! - a lot of it can be overkill. 10 years ago, a Cat 3 racer with a TT bike and 4 sets of race wheels would be the subject of derision. Now, it's pretty much the norm. I'm not going to howl too loudly about all this since A. I'm a Cat 3 racer with more bikes and wheels than I care to mentally count at the moment, and B. I own a business that clearly benefits from this trend. However, I'll be the first to admit that for most of us, one decent bike with one good set of wheels is really all you need.

In that spirit, we've put together the REV-27X. It's not going to be the best wheel for any one thing, but I'm confident that it's the best wheel for everything. If your budget is around the $500 mark and you're looking for something that will be equally suitable for racing, training, cross, hills, crits or whatever, the REV-27X is a great option.

The price is $460 for the set and at just over 1500 grams, it's still lighter than most wheels at twice the price. This is $100 less than most of our alloy wheelsets and to hit this price point, we didn't skimp on quality. The hubs are the same signature REVWW hubs we use on all our wheels and the rims are the same 27mm deep aero rims we use for the more expensive REV-27. Like all our wheels, they are carefully built to order by hand (most likely my hands). The savings are in the spokes. The spokes we use for the REV-27X are not cheap by any means but the Sapim CX-Ray spokes we use in most of our other wheels are just extremely expensive.

So what about the spokes? The front wheel uses 24 two crossed Sapim Laser spokes. The Laser is a 2.0mm round spoke that is swaged to 1.5mm in its middle section. It's just as light as the CX-Ray and it's actually more aero than many larger bladed spokes. It's also very flexible which is important in terms of fatigue life. The rear wheel uses the same Laser spokes on the non-drive side but we opt for the Sapim Race spokes on the drive side. The Race spoke is, again, a 2.0mm round wire but the center section is only swaged to 1.8mm. This makes it a bit heavier and, more importantly, a bit stiffer. The drive side of a heavily dished rear wheel is where lateral stiffness is most wanting so even the marginal benefit of a slightly stiffer spoke is desirable. Using a heavier spoke on the drive side will also require additional tension from a lighter spoke on the non-drive side. Since the non-drive spoke tension on a dished wheel is never as high as we'd like, this is also beneficial.

Those benefits aside, the main reason we use Race spokes on the drive side is to achieve proper spoke tension in the first place. Since the center sections of the Laser spokes are so thin, the spokes are prone to twisting at higher tensions. As such, I'm not comfortable taking them beyond 90kgf when working with them. This is perfect for a front wheel and more than what is achievable on the non-drive side of a rear wheel but it's not high enough for the drive side.

But enough about spokes, here are the complete wheel specs:

Revolution Wheelworks REV-27X

Price: $460
Weight: 1510 grams
Rims: 27mm deep by 19mm wide alloy aero profile.
Hubs: REVWW signature sealed bearing hubset
Spokes: Sapim Laser Front & non-Drive, Sapim Race Drive - silver
Nipples: Sapim Polyax, Brass - silver