Big and brave.
Reynolds' peerless Blacklabel construction? Check. Boost hubs? Check. Aggressive angle of attack inherent in 29er diameter? Check. Rim width tailored for today's meatier tires? Check. Since it meets those requirements, the Reynolds 29 Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset is one of the only wheels capable of keeping up with the industry's new breed of six-inch 29ers. Long gone are the days when 29ers were relegated to hardpack and fire roads, and this version of Reynolds' flagship wagon wheels has the stiffness, the rim width, and the durability to explore the brave new territory of enduro 29ers.
The Blacklabel branding indicates that these wheels are Reynolds' top of the line construction. They feature the brand's Mountain Rim 5 (MR5) lay-up, which involves five different carbon matrixes applied to five different areas of the wheel. The lay-up takes advantage of different material properties to balance stiffness, durability, weight, and even a touch of engineered flex. It's an admittedly complicated process, but it speaks to Reynolds' insistence on outdoing the less-expensive open-mold models that might leave you stranded on the side of the trail on any given rock garden.
Compared to the Trail model, the Enduro 29ers plump out by 4mm, externally, so they take advantage of today's mid-sized tires in order to maximize air volume while still keeping the shoulder knobs on the shoulders. The combination allows for lower PSI, higher air volume, increased traction, and a touch of added cushion when enthusiasm overrules restraint and good judgment. These qualities are especially welcome on the six-inch 29ers mentioned above, which refuse to take the easy line whether climbing or dropping in.
Boost hubs have also become a staple around the Competitive office and the industry as a whole because of their increased responsiveness. It's something of an old story by now, but it's worth rehashing: by setting the flanges wider Reynolds (or more accurately, Industry Nine) improves the spoke bracing angle, which stiffens the wheels laterally and torsionally (translating brake and pedal input from hub to rim to trail) without stiffening them radially (not translating every bump and lump straight up the seatpost). Just one more reason for hardtail enthusiasts to drop the hammer on the way up and drop into the big line on the way down.
As implied above, the hubs are manufactured by Industry Nine, and are basically just rebranded versions of the Torch model. I9 machines all of its bits and widgets in Asheville, NC, with the only non-US component being the ABEC 5 grade Japanese bearings. And the Torch freehub is the real star, anyway, because it uses two sets of three offset pawls in order to reduce the hub's engagement angle to three degrees. The Torch hubs effectively replace DT Swiss' 240s, and—if it were any other make and model—we'd call it a downgrade. But I9's Torch promises to become the new standard, so we're perfectly content with the change.
- Wagon wheel hoops for enduro endeavors
- Blacklabel carbon construction is more complex than many frames
- All-mountain width marries perfectly with 2.4-2.5in tires
- Boost spacing increases responsiveness without harshness
- Torch hubs boast 3-degree engagement