Reynolds 27.5 Enduro Complete Wheel

Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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Tested: Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro Wheelset

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Nick Zuzelski // Photos by Carl Gray

Reynolds is back with their redesigned high-end carbon enduro wheelset. The brand went back to the drawing board from their previous Blacklabel hoops and created a new hookless carbon rim that’s wider, beefier and more aggressive. Paired up with the equally impressive-sounding and performing hubs, which were developed in collaboration with Industry Nine, Reynolds means business with this high-performance wheelset.

Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro Wheelset Features

  • Weight: 1660g (Claimed)
  • Carbon rims with internal 28mm width and hookless bead
  • 28 Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes per wheel
  • Straight-pull hub flanges
  • 3-degree engagement
  • Center lock rotor mounting
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Available in 27.5” (tested) and 29”
  • MSRP: $2500 USD

Initial Impressions

As we lifted the wheels out of the box, the newly designed rim was the first thing that stood out to us. This new hoop definitely looks wide and stout, giving at least the visual confidence that these wheels have been designed to stand up to trail-smashing abuse. Sporting a comparable weight for a wheel in this class, they don’t float away but they do feel light considering the larger rim profile and visible amount of material. They remind us of ENVE M Series rims in the sense that they have a larger domed profile, though not quite as tall. The design is a departure from their previous Blacklabel wheelset which was narrower and featured a smaller profile. Reynolds has moved to a hookless bead like most modern rims these days, and the nice, wide tire channel seems like an adequate width for an aggressive tire at 28mm. The wheelset’s fluorescent green decals dress up the black rims and black hubs and definitely add some flair. Some may be a fan of this flashy addition and others may think it too much. Luckily for us, our tester’s Nomad matched the decals nicely.

Using what they call their MR5 technology, Reynolds uses five different carbon and resin combinations throughout the rim profile to utilize the best material properties in a specific area.

Reynolds used an asymmetric rim profile on the design of the new Blacklabel wheels. This allows both the drive and non-drive side spokes to achieve an equal bracing angle from the hub flanges. This makes for less dish, evenly matched spoke tension across the wheel and a more sturdy structure. While the asymmetry doesn’t stand out immediately or look odd, you can spot the asymmetric profile while looking straight down at the wheel.

Front and rear Blacklabel wheels come spec'd with 28 Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes. We were very happy to see that the wheels can be trued externally without removing the tire and rim tape despite the rim’s taller profile.

The hubs, built by Industry Nine but labeled as Reynolds, feature straight-pull flanges. If you haven’t ever had a chance to ride I9 hubs, you are in for a treat. Sporting 3-degree engagement, just ratcheting the freewheel by hand gives you an idea of their precise control and unique sound. Oh, we love these! Rotor mounting is done via Shimano center lock, but Reynolds has included a pretty nice, lightweight 6-bolt adapter that still utilizes the quickly removable center lock nut.

Reynolds still offers the “Reynolds Assurance Program” for their carbon wheelsets, protecting consumers who buy this coverage with a no-questions-asked repair or replacement policy. Consumers can select between a one, two or three-year program for a separate fee within 30 days of their purchase. While it may be a tough to shell out more money after dropping $2500 on a wheelset and then pinning it down mountains, it could be beneficial if you blow up a wheel – the old insurance gamble game.

On The Trail

Tire mounting was easy and quick. We decided to install some beefier tires (2.5” WTB Convicts) on this wheelset for our month of riding. Things were going to get gnarly and we wanted all the traction we could find. The tires installed easily over the rim without having to resort to major prying or cursing, and the pre-installed tubeless rim tape held and did its job sealing up. Wide rims aren’t for everybody. Sometimes we even question how necessary they are in the first place, given the up-tick in tire/rim profile issues that arise as rims go wider and wider. Regardless, we found the 2.5-inch tires were a nice pairing with these 28mm-wide rims, creating a good profile and a wide base which made for cornering sidewall stability.

The first thing you will notice after throwing a leg over the bike with this wheelset is that rear hub…oh yes, that rear hub! Instant engagement at its finest with a crisp, distinct and very fine clicking while coasting. The faster you go, the louder they get and the more buzz you make. When it comes time to lay into the pedals, you are instantly engaged, putting tension on the chain. While loud hubs aren’t for everyone, some people specifically seek out a noisy hub and these are among the loudest we’ve tested. Partial pedal strokes while riding through the tech is rewarded with instant, snappy response, as the smallest movement of the cranks forward resultsin power transferred to your rear wheel.

As for timing, we couldn’t have mounted these wheels at a better time. After a week of cruising around the home trails and feeling them out, we packed up our bike and headed to Whistler and Squamish for ten days of smash-a-bike thrashing. We couldn’t dream up a better place to put a wheelset through a proper test. The wheels were subjected to day after day down the bike park, an extremely gnarly heli day with some of the roughest and technical terrain we have ever ridden, and miles and miles of pedal-trail crushing and slab riding in Squamish. We made sure to smash through rocks with no regard for line, compress every brake-bumped corner and hit every jump we could find. The wheels ate it all.

In terms of stiffness, we found the Blacklabel wheels to feel responsive and offer a robust ride. Death-sized brake bumps in the corners on A-line? Lean her over, hold it wide open and point it, they charge through the chop and track with no perceivable deflection. Land a little sideways off that jump? The wheels just seem to take it in stride like nothing happened as you roll on. High-speed singletrack into that face-melting loamy rut? Hold on because they are going to track and shoot you out of that corner with a grin.

Some of our favorite trails outside of the bike park offer technical, steep and off-camber lines that reward a rider who can seek out the higher line while side-hilling across rocks and roots before slapping into a catch berm below. We feel that this scenario tests the true capabilities of a wheel’s stiffness and flex, and we found the Blacklabel wheels to offer that sharp handling and stiffness – point them there, and you will go there.

Things That Could Be Improved

The Blacklabel wheels leave very little to be desired after our time on them. Some riders could see the bright florescent green decal color as a drawback for their bike’s color scheme. Also, not too common, but bladed spokes can be really expensive to replace if you suck a derailleur into the spokes and tear things up. We’ve been there in the past and it adds up quickly. Of course, some believe that $2500 is very pricey for a wheelset and the carbon price hike is just something that isn’t justifiable. Riders seeking that last bit of upper tier performance who are in the market for a high-end wheelset will find these competitively priced. We can’t really say that we have much more to ask for on these wheels.

Long Term Durability

We have experienced inevitable rim shots throughout the test that had us checking the wheels after the ride. Back on the East Coast, the occasional rim ping is a given, as most of the trails have some relentless, sharp rocks that you just have to smash through with no option for asmooth line. So far, the rims have been free of any notable damage, just cosmetic scratches from rocks flipping up the side. The hubs have continued to roll smoothly and the freehub has not been touched since we took them out of the box – not a single ratchet pop or slip to report. Spoke tension is still good and even, and the wheels have stayed almost perfectly true after countless miles of torture. We’re happy to report we’re thoroughly impressed with this wheelset.

What’s The Bottom Line?

Reynolds has brought a serious contender of a carbon wheelset to the market and they have performed impressively during a challenging test over some seriously abusive miles. Featuring a sensible inner rim width that mounts up aggressive trail and beefy enduro tires, the newly designed robust rim has been a great improvement over the rims featured on the old Blacklabel wheelset. In our experience, they stand up to a beating, even when pushing them through the roughest of trails. The pairing of high-engagement Industry Nine hubs has been the icing on the cake to what we would call a top-tier enduro wheelset, which adds that subtle, but valuable, performance to your bike.

For more information, visit www.reynoldscycling.com


About The Reviewer

Nick Zuzelski - Age: 32 // Years Riding MTB: 14 // Height: 6'3" (1.90m) // Weight: 185lbs (83.9kg)

Nick began riding motocross at a young age, a sport that would eventually lead him to the world of downhill. As a Colorado native, racing downhill, dual slalom or a chill dirt jump session was never far away, and he eventually worked his way up the ranks to the Pro level. Now residing in Eastern Pennsylvania, he recently changed it up from the Rocky Mountain dust to East Coast loam, world class dirt jumps, and rocks... lots of rocks. If a trail has fast flow and some fun gaps, he is grinning ear to ear and getting after it. Living by the assumption that basically everything feels better with a short stem and wide bars, you can count on him keeping it real with a laid-back attitude and flat pedals most of the time. Mechanical Engineer by trade, rider by heart, he enjoys riding it, finding out how it works, and making it better.

Specifications

Product Reynolds 27.5 Enduro Complete Wheel
Riding Type Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Wheel Size 27.5" (650b)
Rim Material Carbon
Rim MR5 Carbon, hookless, tubeless clincher
Inner Rim Width
Hole Count 28f / 28r
Tubeless Compatible Yes
Rear Hub Industry Nine, 148x12mm, Center Lock, 3° engagement
Rear Axle 12mm x 148mm (Boost)
Front Hub Industry Nine, Center Lock
Front Axle
Disc Mount Type Centerlock
Spokes
Nipples
Colors
Weight 3 lb 7.2 oz (1,565 g)
Miscellaneous
Price $2,500
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