The Stayer All Road wheels are custom built to order, light, high performance and incredibly durable, there really is nothing to fault. If you are looking for an alternative from the usual wheels and want something a little special I would highly recommend them.
There are slightly cheaper alternatives
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The Stayer All Road wheelset was selected for an Editor's Choice award (opens in new tab) in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
Stayer is a small British brand specialising in distinctive custom steel frames and individual wheel builds. The All Road is Stayer's take on a wheelset suitable for everything from 'cross racing, long distance gravel endurance racing to being your best, fast road wheels.
Each set of Stayer All Road wheels, like the rest of Stayer's wheel range, is built to order and has multiple customisation points including hubs, rim size, axle options and decal colours. You can speak to Judith, Stayer's wheel building wizard if you require any additional help choosing your spec. I kept things pretty simple by opting for (bombproof) DT Swiss 350 hubs. Other standard options include Hope, Tune or Son dynamo hubs, but you can also discuss the likes of Chris King, White Industries or any other brand taking your fancy. If you are a heavier rider, tend to break wheels or feel the need for a stronger than usual build Stayer can up the spoke count and build to accommodate - this is where Stayer sit apart from many normal wheel brands.
The best gravel bike wheels and how to choose them (opens in new tab)
Rims are sourced overseas and not built in-house (it might be difficult given the small size of Stayer's operation). Each rim is constructed from widespread and highly regarded Toray T700 carbon fibre, 700c rims have a 45mm depth and 650b has a slightly shallower 40mm depth. Both sizes share the same 22.5mm internal width, making the rim suitable for tyres from 25c-47c. The rim has a hookless design and is of course tubeless compatible and it is recommended to run these tubeless from the off. Maximum recommended pressure is 85psi and as standard Stayer puts a 95kg rider weight limit on the wheels - but heavier riders can happily be accommodated for no extra cost.
When the wheels arrived the first thing I noted was the incredibly even tension of the spokes and die straight true. Of course we always expect this, especially from a wheelset costing north of a thousand pounds, but discrepancies can be found sometimes. The wheels were sent already installed with tyres and sealant, a service Stayer offers to all its customers. I did strip the wheels down and it was good to see plenty of sealant had been applied. Stayer claim a weight of 1530 grams for this specific combination however on our scales the wheels came in at 1506 grams so that was a nice bonus and puts them at a very competitive weight, especially for wheels designed to be ridden hard offroad.
James Bracey's dream gravel bike build (opens in new tab)
The rim's hookless design makes it a doddle to fit tyres and I'm yet to find a tyre brand that hasn't inflated and seated first time with this wheelset. I've predominately stuck to gravel specific tyres ranging from 40 - 47mm in width and the 21mm internal width creates an excellent tyre profile on all sizes tested.
How do the Stayer All Road wheels ride?
I've been fortunate to have had the All Roads on test for several months and in that time I have put in an extensive amount of mileage and certainly haven't been shy about hitting some pretty serious offroad trails on them in order to test durability. And I can honestly say that after all this abuse the All Road's are looking and rolling incredibly fresh. Granted there are a few battle scars in the carbon from rock strikes and on more than one occasion I walloped them so hard into rocks and roots that I thought 'uh oh, that's a rim wrecked' but they are as true and as evenly tensioned as the day they arrived.
The best gravel bike tyres and how to choose them (opens in new tab)
The same goes for the hubs. DT Swiss hubs are known for reliability and even though the 350 hubset is effectively 'entry level' it spins up so smoothly and the bearings are still silky (despite being constantly covered in crud).
They roll incredibly well on tarmac and are accompanied with the lovely sound of high volume tubeless tyres on carbon rims. The light weight for such strong wheels enables you to accelerate quickly and effectively and the 45mm depth adds more than a touch of aero advantage, enabling me to easily keep up with friends on road bikes or dropping my friends on standard gravel hoops.
The best gravel bikes for 2020 (opens in new tab)
Where this low weight really comes into its own is on technical, steep climbs where you have to rely on short bursts of effort and deft manoeuvring to conquer the trail. Here the All Road's shine and add more than a little boost to your normal efforts.
Handling is also excellent. It's difficult to really tell how stiff or flexy a wheelset is when running 35 psi in a high volume tyre but I never felt that the All Road's felt too twangy or easily knocked off line when riding offroad. Equally, they hold a line beautifully on tarmac and sprinting results in no discernible negative flex felt. In my experience they hold a good middle ground in terms of ride quality feeling neither overly stiff or wet noodle flexy.
The only thing I can knock these wheels down on is value. However, you do get excellent service and a high level of customisation.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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