For someone who’s had the good fortune of riding high end carbon wheels from the likes of Lightweight and Corima over the years, and most recently a $12,000 Gokiso wheelset, I’m not someone who easily speaks in superlatives when it comes to wheels. Moreover, being a dyed-in-the-wool sew-up junkie, makes me even more rigid when it comes to change.
However, every now and then I’m pleasantly surprised by the performance of a moderately priced set of hoops, which causes me to step down from my ostrich posture and spread my wings a little, realizing great things can be found in the realm of carbon wheels that don’t cost the equivalent of half a down payment on a small home.
A prime example of this, is the Boyd 28 tubeless-ready carbon clincher wheelset.
Interestingly, the wheelset came to me by way of a bike review. But, because I was so enamored by its performance, I felt a separate review was warranted.
The Boyd name is not knew to me, as I’ve had occasion to peruse the brand on display at numerous bike shows up and down the eastern seaboard during the last few years. In fact, the company’s presence has been so prolific at these expos, I reached the inescapable conclusion that the husband and wife team of Boyd and Nicole Johnson are the hardest working conjugal duo in the bike racket.
As the name implies, the Boyd 28’s feature a 28mm profile rim, along with a 25mm width (18mm internal), which is capable of supporting tubeless tires upwards of 700×28.
The nuts and bolts of the wheels comprise CNC developed wide-flange hubs that are manufactured to Boyd’s specifications that are aimed at providing optimal lateral stiffness and stability, along with a choice of two spoke counts – 20/24 for the front and 24/28 for the rear.
The wheels are further punctuated by the use of external brass nipples rather than alloy for improved strength and longevity, as well as a mix of radial and crossed laced spokes courtesy of Sapin CX-Rays.
As far as the rims are concerned, unlike a vast majority of companies that rely on “open” mold designs, Boyd has worked closely with a number of leading composite facilities to develop its own, which now incorporate a new brake track that features a slightly textured surface for improved braking in the wet that can work with virtually any high quality carbon specific brake-pad. The pads that came with my wheels nicely said “Boyd” on them.
However, above and beyond the technology behind the wheels, what perhaps impressed me the most was the detailed description the Boyds gave me as it relates to the painstaking steps that each wheel undergoes during the final build process, making sure each one is precisely tensioned and trued to standards that border the obsessive compulsive. But, it’s by virtue of this behavior that their wheels really distinguish themselves.
Indeed, what stood out the most during the hundreds of miles that I logged-in on the Boyd 28’s, was how impervious they were to squeaks, creaks, clicking sounds, rattles or rotational noises of any kind – they were exceptionally QUIET! And, if you’re a real wheel aficionado such as myself you’ll appreciate what I’m saying.
All too often a wheelset that’s capable of achieving all sorts of performance benchmarks, carries with it a number of niggles that can become annoying over time. As a car enthusiast, I liken it to driving a hyper sports car.
While many of these vehicles are capable of providing unparalleled performance under certain driving conditions, as a daily driver they can be very difficult to live with, as their focus is always aimed at shear performance and not always adaptability. A good bike wheel requires the ability to do both.
In any case, without question, the Boyd 28’s both accelerated and decelerated admirably, while providing excellent stability and confidence inspiring poise across all riding conditions – even when things got wet.
But, again, aside from being a great all-around performer, particularly the plush ride and versatility the tubeless Schwalbe tire set-up provided, what I was really able to discern about the Boyd 28’s, was their ability to remain composed throughout all riding conditions, while maintaining a consistent sense of smoothness and quiet (there’s that word again) as well.
To say these wheels were honked all over the countryside of western Massachusetts including steep ascents, white-knuckle descents and rough roads galore is an understatement. Yet, nothing phased the Boyd 28’s, which is hardly the case for a good number of other brands that I’ve ridden in this price category.
Furthermore, never once did these wheels require an ounce of maintenance, save for the initial tubeless set-up that was a cinch in light of all the nonsense that dogs them.
In conclusion, the Boyd 28’s are a refreshing example of how an affordable wheelset can provide exceptional build quality, versatile performance, and durability, while at the same time establishing a firm bond between the proud owner and the company, and vice versa.
There, the ostrich has landed.
Your can learn more about the Boyd 28 tubeless-ready carbon clincher wheelset by visiting the company’s website here.
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