Tlisted here are a variety of methods to enhance the dealing with of your mountain bike. Maybe probably the most noticeable is within the wheels. A strong set of hoops with high quality hubs could make even an entry-level rig really feel race-ready. In terms of racing, Reynolds has the pedigree with their Blacklabel line of wheels. Important took on the Blacklabel Path Professional wheels this spring and after months of using, we’re able to share our findings.
- MR5 Carbon rims
- 29 and 27.5-inch rim choices (mixed-wheel examined)
- 32mm Inside Width
- Ringle Tremendous Bubba X hubs 4-degrees engagement (6-pawl)
- Centerlock brake rotor mount solely
- XD, Microspline, and HG freehub choices
- Sapim CX-RAy bladed spokes with alloy nipples
- 28-hole spoke depend back and front
- Increase 148 and Tremendous Increase 157 rear hub choices, 15×110 Increase entrance hub
- Supposed use – Path
- Lifetime guarantee
- MSRP $1,899 USD
Reynolds has pushed arduous to advertise the sturdiness of its downhill and enduro wheels on the elite racing stage. In the meantime, it quietly launched the brand new Path line of Blacklabel wheels. Shaving a little bit of weight off the burlier choices, the Path hoops are stated to nonetheless stay sturdy. The edges use a decrease profile to alleviate nasty encounters with stray rocks whereas a large profile offers tires an aggressive stance.
The Blacklabel Path Professional represents the lower-tiered providing within the Reynolds carbon path wheel choices. The important thing distinction is within the hubs – the Professional ($2,299) comes with Trade 9 Hydra hubs as a substitute of the Ringle on our check wheels. For our half, nostalgia steamrolled the will to have the top-shelf providing. We had been overjoyed when our freehub physique was glowing purple. Certain, the cassette would cowl it up however not less than we knew it was there.
The Lineup and Preliminary Impressions
Reynolds sells its wheels in pairs and meaning, not less than as of this writing, mountain bikers should select between both 29-inch or 27.5-inch wheelsets. Important was in a position to get particular remedy in getting a blended wheelset (29/27.5-inch entrance and rear). We’ll make no claims or guarantees that Reynolds would make such concessions for shoppers.
Organising the wheels was a matter of threading within the supplied valve stem and snapping on a set of used tires we had. We had been in a position to mount and seat our tires with a ground pump. The method was easy and simple. With that stated, we did have to purchase a set of Centerlock rotors. The wheels didn’t include a lockring, nor did the SRAM rotors we bought. George’s Cycles in Boise was form sufficient to toss these in after checking the rotor packaging. This isn’t our first (and even third) go-round with lacking Centerlock rings. Evidently somebody someplace retains passing the buck on who ought to present lockrings, and we as riders wind up ring-less.
The bladed Sapim spokes had been a departure from what we’re used to, although not the primary time we have gone aero on our MTB wheels. Admittedly, they’ve a fragile really feel to them, even when it is solely psychological. Reynolds makes use of asymmetrical development for the wheels, as many high-end wheels are doing so nowadays.
On The Path
Our check wheels began making their rounds within the Boise foothills and native path heart early this spring. They’ve since made their solution to the Sierras the place they had been punted off and into most of the desert’s most interesting rocks. From lengthy days in South Lake Tahoe to reckless laps at Northstar, we admittedly rode our Blacklables past their supposed use.
On the time, we moved from a set of alloy, Hunt Path Extensive wheels on to the Reynolds. There may be seemingly not a extra dramatic distinction on the market. Regardless of the 2 units of wheels being very related in weight, the trip qualities and value are evening and day. Instantly, we observed how a lot stiffer the Reynolds wheels had been. Our check bike (Santa Cruz Hightower) felt extra snappy within the Treasure Valley’s buffed corners. Moreover, regardless of nearly no change in weight, there was a perceived acceleration and total, lighter feeling to our bike.
Quick engagement and an aggressive buzz made us really feel like a complete boss.
Ringle hubs have all the time held a level of desirability. Fortunately, they lived as much as the hype proper out of the gate. Quick engagement and an aggressive buzz made us really feel like a complete boss. Private emotions apart, the efficiency side of the Tremendous Bubba hubs was stellar and we’ll give them excessive marks.
Regardless of being vastly stiffer than our extra entry-level priced alloy wheels, the Reynolds Blacklabels didn’t beat us up or have us struggling to carry a line as soon as we obtained into extra aggressive terrain. We’d put them as solely barely stiffer feeling than the Reserve 30s that got here inventory on our Hightower. We’d peg them as much less stiff than the Bontrager Line Elite 30s, which we appreciated. Total, the Blacklabels have a “racing” really feel to them that encourages you to place the hammer down and let your bike run.
For a lot of our check, we had Maxxis EXO+ tires on our wheels. In a while, our rear tire obtained a pleasant gash on the bead and needed to be retired. We had a Schwalbe tire in Tremendous Trial casing readily available and tossed that on. We had a variety of rim strikes, significantly at Northstar, however our wheels by no means flinched. There are just a few scratches on the floor however that’s it for battle harm.
We appreciated the Blacklabel Path’s environment friendly, keen feeling throughout our longer outings. Because the miles and the vertical being to stack up, a sooner rolling bike could be the distinction between having enjoyable and having an “journey.”
Issues That Might Be Improved
If a product comes out of the field swinging and performs to each expectation at some point of the check, what are we to complain about? We tossed lots at these wheels they usually simply stored on ripping. We’ll say that we want there was a 6-bolt possibility for riders. If our wheels had include some anno-purple lock rings, we could sing a unique tune. With no stats to level to, we really feel snug saying that 6-bolt is extra frequent and it could save riders some coin to not have to purchase rotors (and rings?) along with wheels. Talking of saving cash, these wheels should not cheap. That’s all we’ll say on the subject as a result of it has in any other case been beat to dying.
Our chief grievance would come from the entrance hub meeting. The cylinder that needs to be held in place by the 2 pressed wheel bearings floats about in a method that has it all the time just a few millimeters off if you go to put in your entrance axle. Riders should stick a finger in there to get issues lined up to be able to set up the entrance axle. In case you are an individual that transports their bike by eradicating the entrance wheel (racks, station wagons, and so forth.) you have now been duly cautioned. We solely needed to encounter this frustration a few occasions for tire and fork swaps however it was sufficient to notice the effort as prevalent.
Lengthy Time period Sturdiness
Initially, we chuckled on the bladed spokes and lighter notion of those wheels. A snarky remark about “breaking these wheels,” could have been made. Reynolds had different plans they usually delivered a strong set of wheels that now we have come to understand. These are backed by a lifetime guarantee ought to one thing go flawed.
The one space we’ll name out is the rim tape. We aren’t all over the season and our rear wheel solely noticed one tire swap (no tire levers had been used) and the rim tape is on its method out. Notably, the seam the place the tape ends has begun peeling. The tape on our entrance wheel was simply beginning to present indicators of peeling. We have seen this with different premium carbon choices, so Reynolds isn’t alone, however it’s nonetheless a disgrace to see this.
What’s The Backside Line?
In case you are of the ilk that might purchase high-end aftermarket carbon wheels, now we have to provide the Reynolds a giant nod. They’re stiff, however not too stiff. They’re gentle(ish) however not dainty. The rim profile and design are sensible and up for lots of abuse. We all know the Trade 9 Hydra hubs are on some next-level enterprise, however dang if we do not love the Ringle hubs that got here with our wheelset. The wanting it? If in case you have the cash to spend, the Reynolds Blacklabel Path Professional wheels are a superb improve to your bike.
Go to Hayesbicycle.com for extra data.
About The Tester
Brad Howell– Age: 43 // Years Driving: 28 // Top: 5’9″ (1.75m) // Weight: 165-pounds (74.8kg)
Brad began mountain biking when a 2.25-inch tire was giant, and regardless of having threads, backside brackets sucked. Driving within the woods with associates ultimately lead solution to racing, attempting to ship it on the native gravel pits, and dealing in bike retailers as a wrench to repair these bikes. Brad has been lucky sufficient to have dug at six Rampages, attend some World Cups, work within the business for just a few years, and turn out to be associates with among the sport’s largest abilities. Today, he simply likes using his bike within the woods with associates.