The cyclo-cross incarnation of Reynolds' mid-depth carbon fiber wheels uses a few more spokes to give it the strength for 'cross. Rob Karman finds it plenty tough enough but wishes for the holy grail of better braking.
After our recent review of the Zipp 303 cross wheels, competitor Reynolds Composites was quick to send a set of their own version of barrier hopping carbon hoops, the Stratus 'Cross. Using the same rim as the standard Reynolds Stratus DV which we reviewed back in 2004, the 'cross version features an additional four spokes per wheel so there are 20 radially-laced spokes up front and 24 in back, laced two-cross on the drive side and radial on the left.
These wheels are exceptionally well built right out of the box. Spoke tension was higher than other carbon wheels I've ridden and I'm told by Reynolds that it is due to the strength of their rim. After pounding these wheels for several weeks I believe them. They were as true and evenly tensioned at the end of my test as they started. That's a good job because the spoke nipples are buried in the rim - as they often are with deep-rim wheels - so you have to unglue the tires in order to true the wheels. A special tool is included to reach down into the rim and turn the nipples, but I was glad to not have to use it.
The hubs are branded as Reynolds' own and they are very smooth even after a bit of riding in wet sand and other junk. The freewheel ratchet engages positively and is on the quiet side when coasting which is what I prefer. Reynolds used to use White Industries hubs and switched to their own similar-looking brand as a running change sometime last year. Whoever is making their hubs is doing a stand up job as I had no quality or maintenance issues with them.
Read the entire Reynolds Stratus cyclo-cross wheels review here.