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So far it’s a solo ride.

Making MKII: How Partington Evolved the R-Series

Peter Harrington |

In 2021, Above Category helped introduce our followers to the rarified world of Partington, a top-tier Australian bike wheel brand founded by English engineer Jon Partington. The brand's first model, an all-Aussie designed and built wheel called the Partington R-Series, rocked our bars in a big way. Jon's superlative rollers rivaled the best wheels in the world, thanks in no small part to this former motorsport engineer's deep, 360-degree knowledge of carbon fiber. 

Jon's unique construction approach, informed through years of study and practical application, made him realize that not only did few companies use carbon fiber the right way, but most didn't understand it, and only a select one or two brands had the engineering knowhow to make something truly innovative out of it. All of which is to say, Partington wheels are pretty special. They're immensely stiff, of course, but stiff because they're made by experts in the material, with carbon supporting carbon, not, as is the case with lesser wheels, with load-bearing areas terminating in a fudge of cost-cutting resin. And because they're elegantly designed, the R-Series wheels are inherently light and immensely strong, too, not trimmed to the limit toward the end of the manufacturing process to meet a number. 

"At this point, I have around 800 miles on the new Partington wheels, though I haven't really been keeping an exact count. I have ridden them in all weather conditions except a blizzard, but it got close! Between the MKI and MKII, I can feel the difference from the first pedal stroke. It could be the new hubs, the 50g per wheel saving, or a combination of a million little changes the Aussies made on the new model, but the MKII spins up even quicker than the already rapid MKI. Of course, they feel very responsive and don't feel harsh. But what transmits to the body, more than anything, is a feeling of sublime smoothness. It's a beautiful sensation that will have you pushing past your personal best as you chase the good vibe these wheels deliver."

- Chad Nordwall, Co-Founder of Above Category

There are many other innovations under the skin and evident to the eye, many of which we covered when we interviewed Jon in the AC Journal. Check it out when you have a moment. For now, though, the news is that Partington has just released MKII of the R-Series wheelset, and we've been riding them up, down and around the houses to see how they stand up against the already excellent MKI.

The Partington R-Series MKII wheels stick with their predecessor's 39/44 (front/rear) depth rims but swap out the aluminum hubs of the former for a new in-house designed and built carbon model. Always willing to recognise a fellow expert in the field, Partington called our besties over at CeramicSpeed and equipped MKII with the Danish brand's industry-leading bearings, which now feature as standard in MKII. 

With 100 grams lopped off the overall weight, the new MKII Partington 39/44 wheels come in at 1160g (painted), featuring the smoothest running freehub we've ever seen on a stock wheelset. The internal rim width remains 21mm, and they are still tubeless ready out of the box, with no rim strips required. Furthermore, the hooked bead remains, which Partington believes is a safer, and better way to build a wheel for those looking to run low volume or high pressure road tires.

"On Sunday, I did a 90-mile Tomales loop in the wind and rain - no big climbs but lots of rolling terrain and relatively rough pavement. I was impressed with how vertically compliant the MKII feels while staying impressively stiff laterally - an improvement over the last pair. Later in the week, I chased the Sunday session with several sprints and Vo2 max hill repeats on Whites (hill). The sprints confirmed my feelings from Sunday about the increased stiffness. I was impressed by how much more solid they felt. They were also completely silent. I love climbing with the Partingtons. They feel so light and responsive. It made suffering up and down that hill all morning much more enjoyable. And the sound of that freehub? I'm in love."

- Skyler Taylor, Elite Racer

Due to limited availability (this is small-batch boutique, not mass-market marbles), our first round of MKII Partington 39/44 wheels are almost sold out. However, we are taking preorders for our next allotment to land in the coming weeks. So if you'd like to cue up a pair, follow this link to reserve your MKII Partingtons today.

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