School's in session.
At the 2016 edition of fat bike worlds, Reynold's new academic headman put on a masterclass of low-weight fatness. The Dean Fat Bike Wheelset brought the eventual winner's bike weight down to a claimed 27lbs, shedding around 3lbs at the wheels alone. The Dean achieves this outsized weight loss by substituting carbon fiber for the usual alloy and eliminating bead hooks and tubes. While we're sure that the rider — Hincapie Racing's Squire, who has produced some impressive performances in some of the Western Hemisphere's biggest races — had something to do with the win, dropping so many grams of rotational mass at the rims surely played a role.
While switching to carbon and shedding the extra material required for bead hooks obviously has an effect on weight, the real source of fat bike fatness lies in the tubes. Despite the optimistic claims some manufacturers make for lightweight fat bike tubes, our own digital scale has registered weights upwards of 550g. That's almost 1-1/4lbs per tube, which doubles up on a complete bike unless you're riding a fat unicycle. When combined with the claimed weight savings of 460g compared to alloy fat wheels, we calculate that Reynold's claimed weigh loss of 3lbs is refreshingly modest, putting that number closer to 3-1/2.
Despite its relative svelteness, The Dean is still built on the blueprint of Reynolds' Mountain Rim 5 (MR5) carbon lay-up schedule, which distributes different stripes of carbon, resin, and epoxy in a strategic landscape meant to preserve durability in high-impact areas while reducing weight wherever possible. It's the same process used in the brand's Black Label wheels, so it's trail-tested and gravity-approved. The rear rim is also laced to Industry Nine's peerless Torch hub, which features an offset six-pawl engagement design that grabs at three degrees. That's pretty much the top of the heap when it comes to mountain hubs, and it gives The Dean a remarkable spryness compared to its more lethargic fat competitors.