RoadBikeReview recently visited the new Reynolds Cycling headquarters in Sandy, Utah. The new 25,000 square foot building focuses solely on wheels and this is where new wheels are researched, designed, created and tested. It is also their business offices as well as the US distribution center.

Our tour was hosted by Rob Aguero, Director of Sales and Marketing. Rob gave us a short history of the brand and explained the need for a new facility to tighten up operations. Reynolds Cycling now makes only wheels.

In this photo, Rob Aguero (Director of Sales and Marketing) is holding up an example of what is possible with inkjet printing on the surface of carbon disc wheels.

Following the brief intro, Reynolds Cycling longtime CFO Mike Dufner gave us more background about the company, where they stand now and where the company is going. Next, we met with Paul Lew, Director of Technolgy and Innovation. Paul is one of six engineers and is founder of Lew Composites, a company that Reynolds purchased back in 2001. An expert with composites and aerodynamics, Paul made the first carbon clincher and that patent is now held by Reynolds. Finally, we met Kim Kington who served as our guide for most of the tour. Kim came from a background in aerospace, like several of Reynolds engineers and she is excited to be working for Reynolds.

Paul Lew - Director of Technolgy and Innovation.

After the introductory presentation, we got to step into the "back room". The first thing one notices about the factory floor is the size of the entire building.


The huge room is full of machines, the first of which that we saw were the mold making machines. The molds are CNC'd from aluminum to make them light enough to carry. The machine uses something called Computational Fluid Dynamics to "etch" the mold. The molds are made in Utah, tested, then shipped to Reynolds wholly owned factory in Guangzhu, China. Having their own factory gives Reynolds a level of control that they would otherwise not have.

Continue to page 2 for more on raw materials and wheel building.

Raw Materials

The creation process starts with the raw materials, which means aluminum and carbon fiber. Raw carbon in rolls are kept in cold storage until needed. Here we see raw sheets of carbon fiber that will be impregnated with resin and then packed together on a vacuum table.

The next stop on our tour was an example of the etching that is possible with the carbon.

The Cutting Edge machine cut out the Reynolds logo during our tour.

The carbon is cut into specific size strips and then the pieces are laid by hand into the molds to create the rim. Then the spokes are attached and the hub is attached. Then they are clamped together and then baked in an oven. The Utah HQ has 2 ovens (and one original Paul Lew bought pizza oven) that are used for the heating process. The factory in China has 20 such ovens.

Paul Lew holds up a carbon spoke with green adhesive on it.

After the carbon rim is hand laid, carbon spokes are attached and the hub is attached.

Continue to page 3 for testing and final words.


Here is where the fun part of our tour began. The torture chamber.

Brake track tester does its worst.

The first such torture device is the brake track tester. This machine applies continous brake loads to a wheel for 16 minutes! It tests braking force, temperature and stopping time (for a set pressure and set speed.) Paul Lew adds that given modern innovations, heat failure is not as big a concern today as it was in years past. The machine also has hoses that can spray water to simulate wet weather riding conditions.

Other testing devices include the drop test and the pendulum test. One spectacular test was the pressure test and we got to see the aftermath of a rim exploding at 370 PSI.

Don't try this at home - this is what happens if you over inflate your tires to 370 PSI.

Wheel Building/Warehouse Facility

All Reynolds Cycling wheels are hand built, both in the Sandy, UT facility as well as at their Asian factory.

Besides R&D, testing and office headquarters, the building also serves as the US distribution center. Here, rows and rows of wheels are prepped for shipping.

Check out this short video featuring Reynolds Cycling employees doing real world riding, testing and product development:


The Reynolds Cycling headquarters is indeed an impressive facility and it is apparent that they have put together quality people, parts, and processes to create an equally impressive quality product. For more specific information about the new carbon wheels from Reynolds, be sure to watch this video of Paul Lew going over the highlights of the new 48 Aero and the Attack, Assault and Strike for 2014 »