Reynolds Goes Top Shelf with New Black Label Carbon Mountain Wheels, Downhill wheels to come?

Reynolds Black Label launch high end carbon mountain20140130_0836 copy

When you think of Black Label, what springs to mind? Luxury? Whiskey? High end? For Reynolds, Black Label is synonymous with high end mountain. While the current line of XC and AM carbon hoops certainly can’t be considered low end, Reynolds had customers looking for a premium build using their excellent rims but with premium hubs and spokes. That’s where Black Label comes in. Using the same purpose built rims as their current carbon offerings, Black Label offers a premium build with a premium look that is an industry first.

Pour yourself some Black Label after the jump – as Reynolds says, best served on the rocks.

Reynolds Black Label

Coinciding with the launch of their new website and interactive wheel selector, the Black Label series starts off where the newly redesigned 2014 carbon rims left off. Offered in 27.5” and 29” sizes and XC and AM profiles in each, the rim profile and MR5 carbon design are about the only things that are borrowed from the MTN line. The most obvious difference is the new look – understated, yet striking at the same time. Initially, Reynolds looked into using their new Inkjet technology that was introduced for their Aero line up, but the shape of the mountain rim didn’t lend itself to printed decals with a very shallow surface available for a logo.

Reynolds Black Label launch high end carbon mountain20140130_0836

Instead, Reynolds looked into a graphics technology which they consider an industry first for a carbon rim – heat sublimation. The tricky part about using heat sublimation graphics on a carbon rim is reintroducing the carbon to heat after it has already been cured. Apparently it wasn’t the easiest process to figure out, but they did it and ended up with slick, durable graphics that are in our opinion, quite good looking. While the move to sublimated graphics is more for a premium aesthetic than anything else, weight weenies will find joy in the fact that the process results in 10-15g saved per wheel over standard decals.

BL-front-hub

When it came to picking a hub partner, while there are many companies that make products that Reynolds admires, they said DT Swiss was an easy choice for a few reasons. Since Reynolds has a major international footprint, they needed a hub that would translate well overseas and would be able to find parts for in other countries. Using the DT 240 hub also meant an extremely light hub that is easily adaptable to nearly any axle standard with their swappable end caps, as well as having XD freehub bodies readily available.

All of the Black Label wheels use a 3 cross lacing pattern with 28 straight pull DT Swiss Aerolight spokes. Those spokes are laced to Centerlock 240 hubs with a custom Black Label graphic that are shipped with 15mm front and 142x12mm rear axle setups for the hubs.

Reynolds Black Label launch high end carbon mountain20140130_0835

Offering the perfect blend of stiffness, durability, and light weight, the Black Label wheels will carry a premium price tag of $2400 per set. The wheels all include the standard Reynolds’ 2 year warranty, but are also eligible for RAP – Reynolds Assurance Program or the Reynolds Aggressive Protection program.  Available in the 30 days after purchase, and for an extra $250 in the off chance of you damaging the wheels under normal riding conditions, RAP means Reynolds will repair or replace the wheels free of charge for as long as you own the wheels though it is limited to one replacement per wheel.

Reynolds Black Label carbom mtb 275 29

Reynolds Black Label carbom mtb 275 29 amReynolds Black Label carbom mtb 275 29 xc

Reynolds Black Label carbom mtb 275 29er am

Between the four wheels, the 27.5″ XC wheelset is the lightest at 1435g for the set, though the heaviest set, the 27.5 AM wheels aren’t much heavier at 1528g. Each wheel has its own unique rim profile dimensions based on the intended use, with widths ranging from 26 -31mm wide externally and either 24 or 28mm deep.

athlete-pivotTeam

The other big news for Reynolds on the mountain bike side of things is the announcement of their wheel sponsorship for the Pivot Factory team. Yes, that means a carbon downhill offering from Reynolds in the future, but nothing is available just yet. What will the team be riding in the meantime then? When it comes to endure racing, the team will be riding the Black Label AM series straight off the shelf. Without a downhill specific wheel, Reynolds will be providing the team custom 27.5 AM wheels that will have a higher spoke count and a tougher carbon layup to handle the abuse of high level downhill racing.

In its second year of world cup downhill racing, the team consisting of Bernard Kerr, Micayla Gatto, and Eliot Jackson and will assist Reynolds in product development and inevitably with the creation of their first carbon downhill rim.

Comments

Chris O - 02/01/14 - 1:34am

Great.

Except ENVE offer a 5 year warranty and have been offering DT and King builds for aeons. Is a different graphic really the main feature here? No new layup or resin technology to tell us about?

So the focus seems to be “we make wheels that will break but you can pay more and we will replace them but hey, the pretty graphics will save a few grams”

No thanks.

loco - 02/01/14 - 2:15am

They would look murdered out on my matt black specialized carbon enduro!

Oh snap, there is no 26″ version of the AM rims :(

Dave - 02/01/14 - 4:06am

Late to the party. Those rims are waaaaay too narrow.

Ditch - 02/01/14 - 4:13am

I don’t get it? In today’s market with more reasonably priced wide carbon rims which is trending right now Reynolds goes expensive and narrow. No reason to pick these over something like NOX Composites that would run a grand less.

Craig - 02/01/14 - 6:26am

Narrow & overpriced by 2014 standards!
You can get wider rims, at the same wheelset weight, with a longer warranty, for much less money, with the same hub internals.

Dave - 02/01/14 - 7:25am

For $600 less one can get a carbon Rolf Ralos CXC set which is just as light, and a bit wider even. Handbuilt in USA with White Industry hubs. Black Label you say? Nah. I’ll stick with Fat Tire beer.

ifbikes - 02/01/14 - 8:16am

Narrow by most current standards. I find that profile hard to believe, specifically the bead hook. That it curls around 180degrees would be really hard to produce. Its a wasted step too when you see Stans in aluminium and Specialized in carbon have all but abandoned a bead hook for free extra width, weight and cost savings.

YoshiFasterThanYou - 02/01/14 - 9:28am

Why are the 27.5″ wheels wider than the 29″ wheels internally? And who forgot to drop the memo off at Reynolds letting them know that 19 / 21 mm are sooooo 2010? The people are demanding at least 24mm wide internally

Thomas - 02/01/14 - 9:40am

Mirraco’s bmx line of parts and accessories is called Black Label. Just sayin’.

wheelguy - 02/01/14 - 9:40am

I’m actually glad these are narrow because I’ve been searching long and hard for the perfect set of utltra-cross wheels. The DT Swiss 240s rear hub can be converted to 11-speed road. 19mm is the perfect width for a set of 33 to 40mm tires.

Sevo - 02/01/14 - 11:34am

so narrow and outdated.

FYI Syntace’s w35 wheelsest is far better thought out, less marketing bullshit, all black, and light. Only $1200 yet so much more wheel for the money than if these were priced the same.

Chasejj - 02/01/14 - 12:47pm

No 26″ DT240 is fine , IMO King is better.

My homebuilt 26″ Light-Bicycle 33mm Wide AM rims on King Hubs are superior in every way and cost $1100 with Stans Tubeless setup and alloy air valves installed. I can build them anyway I like with Triple butted spokes and heavier guage on drive side if I wish.

Learn how to lace and build and do it yourself. For the same money you can have 2 superior sets of wheels.

BTW-The more you examine the Chinese carbon rims coming out, the more apparent it is they are all coming from 1-2 factories. Essentially all the same product with slightly different profiles.

Somehow this rush to $10K bikes has got to cease.

Dave - 02/01/14 - 1:16pm

Chris,

Reynolds is offering a 2 year crash replacement policy. They are not saying that the wheels will break because of a manufactures defect they are saying if you go out and ride hard, crash and brake the wheels because of rider error they will replace the wheels.

Does ENVE do this? Please let me know if they do. And are the ENVE wheels more than $3K?

Just checking.

I mean a 5 year warranty is great if you do not crash and break the wheels because of rider error.

Dave - 02/01/14 - 1:24pm

Ditch,

Do you own a pair of NOX composites? Reason I ask is they flex quite a bit and an open mold from a Chinese factory. Yes they build the wheels here but so what. Give be a company like Reynolds that invests in making better technology and stands behind it 100%.

Can’t wait to see the new PIVOT PHOENIX with the new REYNOLDS downhill wheels.

MaLóL - 02/01/14 - 1:49pm

Any dt240+stan’s rims build is far better than this for several obvious reasons…

mo - 02/01/14 - 2:25pm

ill get $650 tubless pair of wheels with dt or wi hubs at wheelsfar or yoleo thanks. not paying 2k+ for exactly the same wheels anymore. the most expensive part is the hub.

not sure if people realise the profit made on carbon wheels with novatech-like hubs. this stuff cost them about $150 per wheel.

suede - 02/01/14 - 2:29pm

Stans rims. LOL

Nick - 02/01/14 - 3:23pm

Dave–

After running my NOX 29 rims for a season, you’re the first person I’ve seen to even hint that they’re a flexxy rim. They are for me the stiffest rims/wheels I’ve ever ridden. Mine were built straight from them, and I haven’t had one issue, and I’m 200 pounds + kitted up, ready to ride. While they’re on an Epic, I hit everything I can on ‘em; granted, I don’t get a lot of air, but I plow through everything, and they’ve ever felt soft… and I’m still running them with a 9mm QR up front, too.

There’s not a great deal I see appealing in these offerings from Reynolds (especially the 29ers), which everybody has covered above: expensive, and narrow rims…

Different Dave - 02/01/14 - 4:04pm

They look pretty fly, but the price isn’t even remotely justified, and with a rim that narrow, it doesn’t matter how stiff the rim is – the tire is gonna wobble around worse than a weeble.

Spencer - 02/01/14 - 8:41pm

Nick- If you are running 9mm up front on an Epic- you lose all credibility when it comes to stiffness.

Nick - 02/01/14 - 10:18pm

Spencer-

Because… why? I shared the fact that I’m running a QR to provide context to my experiences with the rims; I’m not jumping off mountains or DHing, but if you’re looking for that kinda stiffness, you’re probably looking elsewhere for rims in the first place. I’ve found other 9mm wheels “soft” in the past (the Roval OEM set was!) so I was pleasantly surprised at how stiff and precise the Nox wheel set was. In fact, I spent the money I was saving to upgrade the lowers on something else… (additional context– most of my time is spent riding in WA state… Tiger Mountain and Ranger Creek are frequent visits in the Summer)

Given a free wad of cash to replace a fork/lowers and pick up the King 15mm adaptor, I’d most likely do it… but I have a hard time spending my limited fun money to improve something that currently isn’t holding my riding back (according to both Strava and personal feel on the bike).

Sorry for the thread jack!

muf - 02/01/14 - 10:56pm

with 9mm qr there’s generally flex when you turn (unless you’re 40kg), you don’t have to do anything crazy, it happens even on the road, that’s why they don’t believe you can feel if the rim is flexing or not.

Ditch - 02/02/14 - 9:37am

Yeah I have a set of Nox with a 15mm though axle and I have not noticed a bit of flex @ 190#. This is the first I have ever heard something negative about the NOX rims.

Dustin - 02/02/14 - 12:03pm

Just to be clear – the NOX rims are not an open mold item, they are NOX’s own proprietary design and mold. Yes, they are manufactured overseas, but so are all carbon rims other than ENVE.

BobJs - 02/02/14 - 3:36pm

2nd that, the guys at nox are not using open molds. and no, their rims are not flexy!

K11 - 02/03/14 - 1:40pm

reynolds.. why do you insist on making your logos permanent? oh yah, marketing. just design tasteful small sticker decals, and let riders decide to peal or leave them on. i know this has nothing to do with performance but i peal off obnoxious and/or oversized decals on a lot of different parts, even if they are black.

Alex - 02/03/14 - 8:49pm

@Chris O – “No new layup or resin technology to tell us about?”. Unfortunately, you will have to wait for a new space race for that. I don’t think the bike industry and F1 cars together are big enough to fund the kind of materials development that will bring major breakthroughs. Marketing is about all that is left because most of the ‘excess fat’ has already been shaved off every manufacturing process in the bike industry. Great for consumers because there is fundamentally very little lousy product left in the bike industry, but it’s hard to differentiate oneself as a brand – everyone can make more or less the same products. Maybe the Chinese are a step behind with ‘open molds’, but they get closer every year, which makes it harder and harder to justify the brand name price tags every year.

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