Top-end carbon and entry-level alloy wheels
At Winter Press Camp last week, Reynolds Cycling was on hand to announce the release of their Black Label series of wheels. While the company has evolved what they feel to be a dependable and lightweight line of house-brand hubs, they found that high-end customers were looking for something a bit more special, and they were to happy to oblige. Built using re-labeled (but otherwise unchanged) DT Swiss 240 straightpull hubs and anorexic Aerolite bladed spokes, Black Label wheels lose 120g or more per set when compared to their more pedestrian stablemates. In keeping with the name, the sublimated graphics are a stealthy black- a classy look that Reynolds admits will come at the expense of easy recognition.
Keen to distance themselves from other wheel companies, Reynolds note that all design, tooling, and composite layup schedules are established at their Utah facility. This encourages designers to iterate and test repeatedly before shipping the equipment and specifications to a wholly-owned factory in China for production by Reynolds employees. While the company does design and produce some others’ composite wheels under contract, the majority of its facility’s output is Reynolds-branded.
With the limited exception for some OEM products, Reynolds is no longer in the 26in wheel game. The 2014 composite mountain range consists of 29er XC and Trail models as well as 27.5 XC and All-Mountain models. While it would be easier to simply scale any given cross-section to a different wheel size, all Reynolds models have unique profiles designed for their diameter and intended use.
With intentionally aggressive pricing and, the same hubs as the mainline composite wheels, and caps for all relevant axle standards included, Reynolds’ alloy range is a jewel among the bling. Weights are competitive for their sizes and intended uses- and in some cases surprisingly close to the carbon wheels’. We’re starting to see the alloy models as OEM spec, but given the pricing wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more purchased aftermarket.