This year celebrates the 10th anniversary of Boyd Johnson’s wheel manufacturing business in Greenville, South Carolina. In their latest effort to make affordable disc-brake carbon wheels, Boyd updated existing rim dimensions as the template for the three latest wheelsets available in the $1050 Prologue Series.
Boyd modified an existing 28mm-deep rim-brake design to be in line with the growing trends of modern disc wheels. To accommodate pocketbook savings, Boyd utilizes an automated layup process, which adds about 50 grams to the total wheelset weight. This allows Boyd to use their recently developed Skyuka hubs.
The Skyukas feature a high degree of engagement compared to other budget wheels. The Skyukas have a wide flange design that Boyd has increasingly adopted across their catalog. The flange enhances stiffness and durability of the spokes. Pillar provides 24 aero 1423 spokes in the front with 28 spokes in the rear. Boyd laces them in a two cross pattern.
The rims have a 17.5mm internal width with a 27mm outer width, which is a narrower design than found with the 22mm internally wide Podium Series. Sure, wider internal widths are all the fashion now, but for the more budget-conscious cyclist, the $500 in savings between the two makes it harder to ignore.
As should be expected for all modern wheelsets, the Prologues are tubeless-ready, supplied with Boyd’s own tubeless tape and tubeless valves that can be added to the order for $14. All together, our wheelset weighs
Installation of 28mm Pirelli P-Zero Race TLR tires was simple, and the pre-installed blue rim tape made for an easy tubeless setup process. With an air compressor, the tires popped on in our first attempt. The Pirellis measured true to size, thanks to the 17.5mm internal rim width.
The most noticeable aspect of the Prologues were the Skyuka hubs. The 10 degrees of engagement offered by the Skyukas provide a buzz while coasting and encourage quick responsiveness to support hard efforts. This was best highlighted on rolling roads where quick accelerations are necessary to maintain momentum to allow us to enjoy the buzz on the descents.
On fast descents, the wheels were very responsive during tight turns and for quick maneuvers around debris in the road. The pairing of the wide-flange design and quick-hub engagement make for a lively ride-quality wheelset that is hard to find a parallel at this price point.
These wheels would be ideal as a replacement set of wheels. Performance- and design-wise they’re on par with many stock wheelsets, so they won’t offer much of an upgrade over what most riders already have. That being said, they’re not a downgrade, but when the time comes to replace a worn-out disc wheelset, the Prologues are a worthy option to maintain carbon performance at a reasonable price.
A major hindrance of the Prologues is the weight, but Boyd is up front about this, admitting there is little that can be done to save weight and maintain value at the same time. The added aero benefit of the mid-depth, 44mm rim option should be considered by those that value watt-saving designs. The prices are the same; the only difference is just over 100 grams of added weight in the rim. When compared against other more expensive, low-depth wheelsets, the Prologues provide standout bang-for-the-buck.
Good news for all you rim-brake holdouts; Boyd makes a caliper-brake version of the Prologue that’s available in a 44mm depth with Boyd’s updated brake-track resin. Internal dimensions are a bit wider at 19mm, but they maintain the tubeless-ready design and ship with two pairs of Onyx carbon brake pads. Boyd continues to build alloy rims as well, which start at $700 per set and are available in rim and disc variants.
• Narrow internal width
• Price-to-performance ratio
• Built in the USA
Weight: 1566 grams