Reynolds Element Clincher Disc Wheel Review

10289 i 1 150x150 Reynolds Element Clincher Disc Wheel ReviewIf you are looking for the pure aerodynamic properties of a carbon disc wheel, coupled with the convenience of a clincher set up, the Reynolds Element Clincher is definitely worth looking into.  The convenience of this wheel does not end with the tires, either.  Disc wheels can be notoriously tricky to inflate as the “hole” in the wheel where you need to inset your inflation device is often too small.  Reynolds have designed a recess that is both aero and accessible making ease-of-use compatible with aerodynamics.  There is not even any need to put a sticker over the hole.  All this might seem like minor details, but if you are racing your bike often, and you care about every last second on the race clock, issues like inflation and constantly applying and removing stickers can become tedious very quickly.

Element: Sacrifices For Aerodynamics

Weighing in at 1340 grams, this wheel will not win any weight-weenie competitions, but it isn’t really meant to.  This is all about aerodynamics - achieving a high rolling speed and maintaining it.  For that, this wheel is perfectly engineered.  Out of the starter’s hut, the Element felt very stiff indeed.  Placing as much torque as we could muster on the pedals and handlebars, we could feel no detectable flex in the wheel.  Once up to speed, the wheel maintained excellent momentum and speed, as you would expect of a disc wheel of this quality and price ($1600).

Time Trial Testing

For the duration of the time trial in which we tested the Element, we noticed that the wheel produced very low rolling resistance, and cut through the wind with ease.  The hub on the Element is a disc-specific hub produced by Reynolds.  It rolled nicely and was in good adjustment when the wheel arrived.  The Reynolds patented all-carbon clincher technology means that the wheel is one piece, including the braking surface and clincher elements.  Although braking is not usually a big issue in a time trial, the Element’s braking surface was surprisingly strong and consistent, even into tight bends.  Coming out of the bends, the lateral stiffness of the wheel really stood out as it accelerated back up to full speed.

Clincher Benefits

Particularly if a tire change or puncture repair is a possibility in your event, a clincher wheel is definitely worth contemplating for the ease of repair, and the subsequent safety of the bike.  For tubular tires to be fully secured, they need to be glued properly, and this can be a painstaking task.  So if you really believe every second counts, but you don’t have a team of mechanics to back you up, the Reynolds Element a perfect choice for you.

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