It seems the only thing better than purchasing a brand new bike is adding a set of high-end carbon wheels. They not only make your bike significantly lighter and easier to toss around, they also provide a ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ card when your talent, err luck, runs out. I’ve been running the Reynolds Cycling 29 ENDURO Carbon Wheeleset on my Santa Cruz Hightower for the past couple of months. The difference coming off the stock wheels is hard to put into words. Am I saying the stock wheels are complete rubbish, or are the Reynolds wheels really that good? I put over 500 dirt miles on them to find out.
Let me tell you right off the bat, if you have the cash, invest in a solid set of wheels. You’ll thank me later. At 1753 grams, the first thing you’ll notice is the weight savings. Dropping 2-3 pounds off your bike is significant. The wheels come tubeless ready and mounted up with Schwalbe, Maxxis and GEAX tires without issue. I always like trying a few sets of tires on new wheels to determine where the benefit is really coming from. Aside from the neon tennis ball stickers, I was quickly impressed with the no mess setup.
Reynolds and Industry Nine teamed up to provide the wheelset with a rebadged set of I9 Torch Hubs. This is a good thing. Having used Torch hubs in the past, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the familiar I9 buzzing between my legs.
I can’t say I am a fan of center lock rotors. I’ve had several adapters come loose over the years. Reynolds does provide an 6-bolt adapter for those of us still on the other side of the fence. After a small spacing issue that was cleared up with a phone call to Reynolds, I was able to get my rotors safely secured. Turns out one of my rotors was bent. After 500 miles the adapters are still locked in place with no issues.
This wheelset is available in both 29 and 27.5 configurations. Both using 34mm external (28mm internal) width hookless bead rims. The wide rim profile was quickly welcomed running 29×2.4 size tires. Wider tires provide a wealth of traction, especially over loose terrain. The biggest performance featured I noticed during my testing was how much better I was able to carry speed up, over and around obstacles. The lateral strength of these wheels is really where they shine. Tossing the bike side to side, over roots and through rocks couldn’t be easier. No other carbon wheelset I have used provided this level of stability. Steering is precise and controlled. The bike planted itself everywhere I pushed it.
If you’re looking for power on demand, you’ll find plenty here. The rear hub uses a 3-degree engagement providing power throughout the entire stroke. As soon as you want it, its there. A crucial feature when you’re racing the clock, but just as fun racing home trying to make it on time for dinner. Boost spacing is also available and required for them to work on the Hightower.
To properly gives these wheels a run for their money, I spent a good portion of my time riding local trails. The same trails that have damaged my stock wheels so bad they’ve been in the shop four times in the four months I’ve owned the bike. Broken spokes, bent rims, popped beads, you name it. Running the same tires on the same trails, I’ve suffered none of those issues with the Reynolds wheels. They are still arrow straight with everything nice and tight.
If your friends nicknamed you Huck Master or Champion of Big Air, Reynolds does offer their RAP (Reynolds Assurance Program) providing a “no questions asked” warranty plan. This goes beyond the limited warranty that comes with the wheels and extends to protect defects in workmanship, materials and crash replacement. However, it’s not free and will set you back $149-$299 depending on the plan you choose. You’ve already made the $2,500 investment in new wheels, a few hundred dollars on top of that knowing you’ll always be riding a fresh set is worth it in my book.
The Reynolds Cycling 29 ENDURO Carbon Wheels have completely changed my riding. Traveling to Utah, Arizona and Colorado, I’ve found myself riding terrain that used to make me nervous. I’ve thrown everything I can at them and they just won’t quit. I can see why some of the best Enduro racers are using them. They are built to the highest quality, offer a super plush ride, steering is decisive and controlled, and performance is on point. I can highly recommend these wheels to anyone out there looking to take their mountain biking to the next level. Spend the cash, buy the wheels, take the ride, tell the story.
You can learn more about the Reynolds Cycling 29 ENDURO Carbon Wheels on their website by clicking here.