Reynold’s reserves its Blacklabel moniker for its flagship wheelsets, combining state-of-the-art carbon rims with premium hubs and a lifetime warranty to deliver the performance you expect from some of the best mountain bike wheels around.
I have been running the Reynold Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset on my Cotic SolarisMax long-term test bike and haven't held back during testing. Despite the unforgiving nature of riding enduro trails on a hardtail the Reynolds Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset has performed flawlessly, but is that enough to justify the huge price tag?
Design and specification
The Blacklabel 329 Trail rim features Reynold’s hookless carbon rim, constructed following Reynold’s MR5 variable thickness layup to balance strength with compliance, held together with a proprietary Impact Dispersing Matrix (IDM) resin to dampen impacts. The rim features a wide progressively wide 32mm internal rim width and a shallow 19mm rim height.
The Blacklabel 329 Trail wheelsets come in two build options. There’s a cheaper Expert version with Ringle Super Bubba X hubs offering four degrees of engagement or the Pro version I tested equipped with the Industry 9 Hydra hub and its legendary 0.52 degrees of instant engagement. The wheels are built up with 28 asymmetrically positioned Sapim CX-Ray and alloy nipples front and rear to ensure an even spoke tension.
I tested the 29er wheelset although the Blacklabel Trail wheelset is also available in 27.5in. Only available as a complete wheelset, the wheels come in 148mm Boost or 157mm Super Boost spacing options and the option of either SRAM XD or Shimano Microspline freehubs.
My Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset (29in, Boost, XD freehub) tipped the scales at 730g for the front wheel and 866g for the rear, a shade under the 1600g for the wheelset.
Reynolds has done a superb job of finding a performance balance between sharp precision and comfortable calmness. The wheels initially feel quite tight allowing precise wheel placement and hard corner carving without a twang in protest or a wallowy sensation when pushing them hard through big compressions or handlebar wrenching tech.
The tightness is only there when you need it though, the combination of MR5 layup, lateral compliant spokes, and shallow rim depth means the Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset is also damped and calming over rough terrain. Charge into chunder and I found the wheels did an impressive job of taking the edge off harsh impacts and boosting traction resulting in a very predictable and comfortable ride feel.
At 1596g on paper they are middling in terms of weight in the premium trail wheelset realms, although when you factor in the extra material required for a 32mm internal rim width it's actually more impressive than it appears. Not only are they wider than the majority of trail wheels including the benchmark DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheelset, but they also ride like a lighter wheel thanks to the smooth spinning Industry 9 Hydra hubs and snappy reactions of the instant freehub engagement. With a 200g weight penalty over a proper set of XC wheels like Rovals Control SL or Zipp 1ZERO HITOP SW they won’t be hanging with the best fastest wheels. Mounted with a fast-rolling set of XC tires though and the Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheels roll and accelerate extremely well and could dabble as a bomb-proof set of marathon, FKT, or downcountry wheels.
Durability has so far been excellent too, the spokes are still tight and the rims are still running true even after a sudden blow out which resulted in me clattering down a short rough section of trail on a flat rear tire. The Industry 9 hubs are still spinning smoothly having seen off some properly awful wet weather riding too.
Tire fitting was a painless affair, popping into place with ease and rarely requiring an air top-up between rides. The 32mm width has given the 2.4in Continental Kryptotal tires a broad profile and has firmly resisted burping or unseating despite some frighteningly high G-force cornering during testing.
It's very hard to fault the Reynolds Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset, they find a superb balance between compliant and precise making them a delightful and versatile wheelset to ride. I found the wheels to be extremely versatile too, energetic enough to ride all-day downcountry missions yet still have the clout to hang it out on enduro-level technical trials.
They are expensive, even in the hub-downgraded Expert version, but considering the flattering performance, durability, and versatility they certainly deliver on the trail. Factor in the lifetime warranty and the fact your initial outlay will be spread over many years, they start to feel more justifiable.
Tech specs: Reynolds Blacklabel 329 Trail Pro wheelset
- Price: $2,299.99 / £2,200
- Sizes: 29 or 27.5
- Options: XD or Microspline freehub / Boost or Super Boost
- Weight: 730g front, 866g rear, 1,596g pair