Reynolds Blacklabel 327 Trail Expert Wheelset

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Tested - Reynolds Blacklabel Trail Expert Wheels
Premium ride quality from Reynolds has us loving these wheels.
Vital Review
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There are a number of ways to improve the handling of your mountain bike. Perhaps the most noticeable is in the wheels. A solid set of hoops with quality hubs can make even an entry-level rig feel race-ready. When it comes to racing, Reynolds has the pedigree with their Blacklabel line of wheels. Vital took on the Blacklabel Trail Expert wheels this spring and after months of riding, we're ready to share our findings.


  • MR5 Carbon rims
  • 29 and 27.5-inch rim offerings (mixed-wheel tested)
  • 32mm Inner Width
  • Ringle Super Bubba X hubs 4-degrees engagement (6-pawl)
  • Centerlock brake rotor mount only
  • XD, Microspline, and HG freehub options
  • Sapim CX-RAy bladed spokes with alloy nipples
  • 28-hole spoke count front and back
  • Boost 148 and Super Boost 157 rear hub options, 15x110 Boost front hub
  • Intended use - Trail
  • Lifetime warranty
  • MSRP $1,899 USD


  • Solid balance of compliance and stiffness
  • Excellent rim profile
  • Ringle hub has quick engagement
  • Tires mount and seal easily
  • Rims have held up well
  • Backed with lifetime warranty
  • Feels like they roll fast (not supported by any data)


  • Rim tape did not hold up well
  • Front hub's wandering assembly made for some frustrating axle installs

Reynolds has pushed hard to promote the durability of its downhill and enduro wheels at the elite racing level. Meanwhile, it quietly launched the new Trail line of Blacklabel wheels. Shaving a bit of weight off the burlier options, the Trail hoops are said to still remain durable. The rims use a lower profile to alleviate nasty encounters with stray rocks while a wide profile gives tires an aggressive stance.

The Blacklabel Trail Expert represents the lower-tiered offering in the Reynolds carbon trail wheel offerings. The key difference is in the hubs - the Pro ($2,299) comes with Industry Nine Hydra hubs instead of the Ringle on our test wheels. For our part, nostalgia steamrolled the desire to have the top-shelf offering. We were overjoyed when our freehub body was glowing purple. Sure, the cassette would cover it up but at least we knew it was there.

The Lineup and Initial Impressions

Reynolds sells its wheels in pairs and that means, at least as of this writing, mountain bikers will have to choose between either 29-inch or 27.5-inch wheelsets. Vital was able to get special treatment in getting a mixed wheelset (29/27.5-inch front and rear). We'll make no claims or promises that Reynolds would make such concessions for consumers.

Setting up the wheels was a matter of threading in the provided valve stem and snapping on a set of used tires we had. We were able to mount and seat our tires with a floor pump. The process was simple and straightforward. With that said, we did have to buy a set of Centerlock rotors. The wheels did not come with a lockring, nor did the SRAM rotors we purchased. George's Cycles in Boise was kind enough to toss those in after checking the rotor packaging. This is not our first (or even third) go-round with missing Centerlock rings. It seems that someone somewhere keeps passing the buck on who should provide lockrings, and we as riders wind up ring-less.

The bladed Sapim spokes were a departure from what we're used to, though not the first time we've gone aero on our MTB wheels. Admittedly, they have a delicate feel to them, even if it's only psychological. Reynolds uses asymmetrical construction for the wheels, as many high-end wheels are doing so these days.

On The Trail

Our test wheels started making their rounds in the Boise foothills and local trail center early this spring. They've since made their way to the Sierras where they were punted off and into many of the desert's finest rocks. From long days in South Lake Tahoe to reckless laps at Northstar, we admittedly rode our Blacklables beyond their intended use.

At the time, we moved from a set of alloy, Hunt Trail Wide wheels directly to the Reynolds. There is likely not a more dramatic contrast out there. Despite the two sets of wheels being very similar in weight, the ride qualities and price are night and day. Immediately, we noticed how much stiffer the Reynolds wheels were. Our test bike (Santa Cruz Hightower) felt more snappy in the Treasure Valley's buffed corners. Additionally, despite virtually no change in weight, there was a perceived acceleration and overall, lighter feeling to our bike.

Fast engagement and an aggressive buzz made us feel like a total boss.

Ringle hubs have always held a degree of desirability. Happily, they lived up to the hype right out of the gate. Fast engagement and an aggressive buzz made us feel like a total boss. Personal feelings aside, the performance aspect of the Super Bubba hubs was stellar and we'll give them high marks.

Despite being vastly stiffer than our more entry-level priced alloy wheels, the Reynolds Blacklabels did not beat us up or have us struggling to hold a line once we got into more aggressive terrain. We would put them as only slightly stiffer feeling than the Reserve 30s that came stock on our Hightower. We would peg them as less stiff than the Bontrager Line Elite 30s, which we appreciated. Overall, the Blacklabels have a "racing" feel to them that encourages you to put the hammer down and let your bike run.

For much of our test, we had Maxxis EXO+ tires on our wheels. Later on, our rear tire got a nice gash at the bead and had to be retired. We had a Schwalbe tire in Super Trial casing on hand and tossed that on. We had a number of rim strikes, particularly at Northstar, but our wheels never flinched. There are a few scratches on the surface but that is it for battle damage.

We appreciated the Blacklabel Trail's efficient, eager feeling during our longer outings. As the miles and the vertical being to stack up, a faster rolling bike can be the difference between having fun and having an "adventure."

Things That Could Be Improved

If a product comes out of the box swinging and performs to every expectation for the duration of the test, what are we to complain about? We tossed a lot at these wheels and they just kept on ripping. We will say that we wish there was a 6-bolt option for riders. If our wheels had come with some anno-purple lock rings, we may sing a different tune. With no stats to point to, we feel comfortable saying that 6-bolt is more common and it would save riders some coin to not have to buy rotors (and rings?) in addition to wheels. Speaking of saving money, these wheels are not inexpensive. That is all we'll say on the topic because it has otherwise been beat to death.

Our chief complaint would come from the front hub assembly. The cylinder that should be held in place by the two pressed wheel bearings floats about in a way that has it always a few millimeters off when you go to install your front axle. Riders will have to stick a finger in there to get things lined up in order to install the front axle. If you are a person that transports their bike by removing the front wheel (racks, station wagons, etc.) you've now been duly cautioned. We only had to encounter this frustration a couple of times for tire and fork swaps but it was enough to note the hassle as prevalent.

Long Term Durability

Initially, we chuckled at the bladed spokes and lighter perception of these wheels. A snarky comment about "breaking these wheels," may have been made. Reynolds had other plans and they delivered a solid set of wheels that we have come to appreciate. These are backed by a lifetime warranty should something go wrong.

The one area we will call out is the rim tape. We aren't all the way through the season and our rear wheel only saw one tire swap (no tire levers were used) and the rim tape is on its way out. Notably, the seam where the tape ends has begun peeling. The tape on our front wheel was just starting to show signs of peeling. We've seen this with other premium carbon offerings, so Reynolds is not alone, but it's still a shame to see this.

What's The Bottom Line?

If you are of the ilk that would buy high-end aftermarket carbon wheels, we have to give the Reynolds a big nod. They are stiff, but not too stiff. They are light(ish) but not dainty. The rim profile and design are practical and up for a lot of abuse. We know the Industry Nine Hydra hubs are on some next-level business, but dang if we don't love the Ringle hubs that came with our wheelset. The short of it? If you have the money to spend, the Reynolds Blacklabel Trail Expert wheels are an excellent upgrade to your bike.

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About The Tester

Brad Howell- Age: 43 // Years Riding: 28 // Height: 5'9" (1.75m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)

Brad started mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was large, and despite having threads, bottom brackets sucked. Riding in the woods with friends eventually lead way to racing, trying to send it at the local gravel pits, and working in bike shops as a wrench to fix those bikes. Brad has been fortunate enough to have dug at six Rampages, attend some World Cups, work in the industry for a few years, and become friends with some of the sport's biggest talents. These days, he just likes riding his bike in the woods with friends.


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Reynolds Blacklabel 327 Trail Expert Wheelset
Riding Type
Wheel Size
27.5" (650b)
Rim Material
Asymmetric hookless MR5 carbon fiber, 19mm depth
Inner Rim Width
Hole Count
28 front/rear
Tubeless Compatible
Rear Hub
Reynolds/SUNringlé Super Bubba X, 6-pawl 4º engagement, SRAM XD and Shimano MICRO SPLINE freehub bodies included, Shimano HG freehub body available separately
Rear Axle
12mm x 148mm (Boost)
12mm x 157mm
Front Hub
Reynolds/SUNringlé Super Bubba X
Front Axle
15mm x 110mm (Boost)
Disc Mount Type
Sapim CX-Ray, 3x lacing
External alloy
Black with water slide decals
3 lb 6.1 oz (1,535 g)
• 30mm tubeless rim tape pre-installed
• Includes 45mm tubeless valve stems
• Lifetime warranty
More Info
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Where To Buy
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.
Free shipping on orders over $50 (continental U.S. only).
International shipping available. Some exclusions apply.

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