Since we've announced the Rail, we've gotten a lot of questions about what other depths we'll be pursuing to complete the Rail lineup, so even though we don't yet have the prototypes for the next depth, we thought we'd share our plans.
At the outset of the Rail project, we were interested to quantify what exactly the overlap zones were between wheels. We'd been selling the 38, 50, and 58, and it sometimes seemed like splitting hairs to choose between them. The 85s didn't feel very much like splitting hairs. Subjectively, Mike and I both thought the 38s felt noticeably faster then "regular" wheels, and that the 50s felt a little faster than the 38s, and maybe the 58s were a little faster than the 50s but the difference wasn't as big as it was between the 38s and 50s. Though it turned out to be much more concept than action (I wound up using 38s for the dominant majority of all of my riding and racing as a long term test), I selected 50s as my race wheels based on these beliefs. Surprise, surprise - our seat of the pants analysis was pretty accurate indeed. 50s are a bit quicker than 38s, and don't give much up to 58s.
Being a 52mm wheel that has less aerodynamic drag than our previous 85, the 52mm Rail covers a lot of territory. It's a better choice for any "pure speed, please" applications than any wheelset we've sold to date, yet its weight and depth make it suitable for any mass start race you're likely to do. The Mt. Washington Hill Climb might call for a lighter choice, but for the kind of riding that most people do, the 52mm Rail is a great choice all season long.
If I keep referring to the new wheel as the "52mm Rail," there's clearly another depth on the board. The 38s have earned a huge following. They're stiff, light, snappy, accelerate like a shot, they're comfortable, they're far from slow, and you can ride them in a hurricane without issue. And we think we can give them the Steve Austin treatment (better, stronger, faster) without the $6,000,000 fee. How many people reading this actually ever saw an episode of "The Bionic Man"? Good lord I'm getting to be like Methusala up in here.
We are working on two prototype designs which we think will get us where we want to be with the Rail thirtysomething. The tucks and tweaks to get the shape how we want it to be will dictate the ultimate depth, but we're aiming for the low 30s. The goal is to have a wheelset that retains all of the positive attributes of the current 38s in a shallower, wider, and ultimately faster package.
If we're able to accomplish that, we think we'll have the spectrum very well covered. Tubular versions of both the 52 and the thirtysomething are planned as well. The drawings for the thirtysomething are sort of kind of almost complete, and then we'll shuffle Sons of Canary Thunder (we're thinking 2 - the design of the shallower rim isn't as obvious as the deeper one was) off the the wind tunnel and go from there.