Adding wheels to their already established line of road, cyclocross and time trial frames, Bailey continues to spread their roots in the ever-competitive consumer-direct market. They now offer three carbon wheel-depth options—32, 46 and 66mm—which come in both tubular and clincher.
The rims used on the Bailey wheels are identical to the ones used on the 2010 line of Reynolds 32mm-, 46mm- and 66mm-depth models, which retailed for over $2000. How can Bailey possibly sell the CR 66 wheelset for so little compared to originals offered by Reynolds? First, Bailey is consumer direct, so they save by cutting out the proverbial middleman. Second, the CR 66s may have the same rims, but that’s where the similarities end. In order to hit the price range Bailey was targeting, they had to compromise on the hubs and spokes.
Straight 14-gauge spokes are about the strongest you’re going to find, but add some heft to the wheels compared to a pricier 14/15 gauge, butted spoke. Also, the rear hub’s steel freehub body keeps the price down, but, again, adds weight. In all, the CR 66s come in about 260 grams heavier than the Reynolds 66mm wheels, but at half the price. The rims have internal nipples, which help aerodynamics but require your tire and rim strip to be removed if a wheel true is ever needed. Like most carbon wheels, they come with their own carbon-specific brake pads, but since these are Reynolds rims, it’s the Reynolds’ branded Cryo Blue pads you need to run.
As fast as the CR 66s are on the flats, they are gravitationally challenged when the roads point up. The deeper profile the rim is, the heavier the wheels are going to be. But, extra weight also comes in the way of 14-gauge spokes and a steel freehub body on the rear hub.
The deep rim makes for a stiff ride and is less forgiving than lower profile ones. It’s an all-around stiff wheelset that does compromise road comfort.
Laterally stiff through the corner and ready to be sprinted out of, these are a good choice for criteriums or anywhere else sure cornering will be necessary. The 14-gauge spokes offer additional stiffness on top of the already solid 66mm rims.
Using the provided pads, braking was consistent and powerful. On longer descents we didn’t experience any “grabby” feel that can sometimes haunt carbon rims. The carbon rims have more advanced brake-track resin than most others on the market, which allows braking temperature to stay lower on long descents.
Crosswinds are not the forte of any deep-profiled rim, and the 66mm Bailey is no exception. Riding in winds above 15 mph takes an extra level of concentration since there is much more rim to be pushed around by wind gusts.
Although the Bailey CR 66 is a new wheelset, it uses a rim that has proven itself on the market under Reynolds as well as other brands. The 14-gauge spokes are strong enough to keep the rims straight for long-term service-free use.
The rear hub accounts for most of the Bailey’s weight gain over a pair of Reynolds 66mm wheels.
The Bailey CR 66s won’t get our vote for the best jack-of-all-trades wheelset due its weight and difficulty in handling crosswinds. But, if you want wheels for criteriums, flat road races/group rides or for use in a time trial, the CR 66s will give you a big advantage when slicing through the wind at high speeds. Once up to speed, the wheels’ inertia and aerodynamics will have you pushing one gear higher than you normally would. The 46mm-depth wheel in the Bailey line might be the best choice for an all-around wheelset since it’s lighter and wouldn’t be affected by crosswinds nearly as much. Lastly, it’s worth remembering that by being consumer direct, Bailey consumers have to make their purchase online rather than at their local bike shop.
Weight: 1913 grams, plus 118-gram quick releases
Rim depth: 66mm
Rim width: 22mm
Spoke count: Front-16/Rear-20
Spoke type: Round 14 gauge
Spoke pattern: Front-radial/Rear-radial drive side, 2x non-drive side.
Notes: Available for Shimano/SRAM