What is it
A carbon fiber, hookless bead, tubeless-ready, 36mm deep, 650b gravel wheel that delivers performance and reliability.
- Tough, lightweight wheels ready for gravel of any kind
- Developed specifically for 650bx47mm gravel tires
- 36mm rims offer some aerodynamic advantage
- Top-notch White Industries hub upgrade
- Clever tubeless valves
- Requires committing to a new wheel size with fewer tire options
- Road Plus (650bx47mm) may not fit every bike. Check before you buy
Boyd Cycling claims the Jocassee Gravel wheelset is the first wheelset designed specifically for the demands of gravel riding and racing. Whether that is true or not is beside the point. These wheels are some of the best we've ever ridden for gravel and mixed surface riding. We have beaten on these wheels for nearly a year, ridden them in mud, in the freezing rain, through snow, and in searing heat. And they haven't batted an eyelash.
RoadBikeReview used three different sets of tires on the Jocassees: WTB Horizon 47mm, Donnelly MSO 42mm, and even a pair of Continental's Race King Protection 2.2. Though designed around WTB's Road Plus 650bx47mm standard, in each case the tire mounted up easily. It's worth noting here that Road Plus tires will NOT fit inside every gravel bike frame on the market. Check WTB's running list of compatible frames before you buy. And even if they do fit, installing them will likely change the way your bike handles.
Reliability is key in long gravel events, but also in everyday life. No one wants mid-ride wheel woes. The Jocassees have proven exceptionally strong. Last fall at JayP's Gravel Pursuit, a 120-mile gravel race in West Yellowstone, Idaho, I took chances to stick with a group of local riders on a particularly chunky descent. At the bottom, the Jocassees ran true even after bottoming out the rim a couple times.
Boyd offers a White Industries hub upgrade with centerlock rotor mounting and 24H front and 28H rear.
Boyd's focus on reliable performance is obvious when looking at each aspect of the Jocassee wheels. The rims, spokes, and hubs are all high quality. With a 24mm internal dimension and hookless beads, the Jocassee rims borrow from mountain bike designs. That's excellent news, as gravel, especially in the era of WTB's Road Plus and bikes increasingly compatible with 27.5x2.1" tires, is blurring the lines between road and gravel.
Boyd offers the Jocassees with White Industries CLD hubs (as tested here), as well as with its own sealed bearing, centerlock Quest hubs. The White Industries upgrade sets the price at $2000, while the Quest hubs will save you a bit at $1650. Hubs options include QR, 15x100, 12x100, 12x135, and 12x142. In the case of the White Industries CLD hubs, they spun freely during our entire test period. The titanium freehub body showed no signs of cogs digging in and the centerlock rotor mounting was appreciated. Perhaps even more important, they looked phenomenal.
The titanium freehub body on the White Industries CLD is a thing of beauty. The bearings are also ready for years of mixed condition riding.
In both specs, the Jocassees are assembled with Sapim CX Ray spokes and use brass, external nipples. As a wheel builder, I couldn't be happier to see Boyd choose both Sapim spokes and the convenience of external nipples. I also like the 24/28 spoke count used front and rear on the Jocassees. With a smaller diameter, 36mm deep carbon rim, that's probably more spokes than light riders will need, but it's also going to be sufficient for bigger riders.
External brass nipples make servicing the wheels easy. Boyd also sells tubeless valves with very clever, aero-shaped nuts. The larger size makes them easier to install and remove.
Riders will also appreciate that Boyd sells Ready2Ride packages with their wheels, providing one-stop shopping for wheels, cassettes, tires, and rotors. Worth trying as well is Boyd's Tickled Pink Tubeless Sealant.
Bottom line, if you're ready to take the plunge on 650b wheels for your gravel bike, Boyd Cycling's Jocassee wheels should be at or near the top of your shopping list. The rim design is a clever blend of aero and mountain bike. Perhaps more important, they deliver race quality performance and utter reliability at the same time.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Price: $1650 with Boyd Quest hubs; $2000 with White Industries CLD upgrade
More Info: www.boydcycling.com