After a full year, the Reynolds Black Label 27.5 Plus wheels behave exactly like you’d expect them to. That is to say that really, they just kept rolling without the slightest hiccup. Obviously, that should be expected from a $2,299 wheelset, but that’s not always the case. Plus bikes seem to put a bit more stress on rims thanks to lower tire pressures, but the Reynolds rims came out the other side (nearly) flawless.
For the majority of the review period, these wheels found their home on our Advocate Hayduke test rig. The frame isn’t the lightest, so any bit of weight reduction helps, and the 1,830g weight of the Reynolds wheelset is a substantial decrease from the 2750g set of alloy wheels that were on the bike previously.
Starting out with a geared set up, I eventually converted the Industry Nine hub to a single speed set up with the Problem Solvers Zinger. I initially did this as part of the review for the Zinger, but I liked it enough that I kept the Hayduke in single speed mode from there on out. Between the Zinger and the Industry Nine hub, the set up has again been perfect without any creaks, noises, or issues. Just perfect chainline and a lot of single speed induced pain. Note that the wheels are only available in Boost spacing with a 15 x 110 front and 12 x 148mm rear with Centerlock brake mounts and Shimano or SRAM XD freehubs.
One of the quirks I’ve noticed with plus size tires is that they tend to ‘flick’ up rocks that then smash into the rim. Maybe it’s because I find myself riding rockier terrain more often on plus tires for obvious reasons, but regardless of why it happens, it does. And every time it happens I cringe – though the Reynolds wheels survived with some light surface scratching.
The same could be said for rim strikes with low pressure tires. I’ll admit I’m hardly a bike breaker. While I have broken one or two carbon rims in the past (and flat spotted the hell out of aluminum rims), it doesn’t happen that often. And it didn’t happen here either. The Reynolds held up admirably well even with a few strikes that made me get off the bike and inspect the rim just to be safe.
Set up tubeless with Terrene Chunk Light 27.5 x 3.0″ tires, the 40mm internal width was a good match to the tire profile offering plenty of stability while still allowing for an ideal tread profile. Overall, the Terrene tires were excellent – maybe a little slow in some situations, but once they were broken in they offered gobs of traction and a supple ride out of the 120tpi casings.
While it’s always a bit hard to judge the ride quality of a rim when there is so much rubber mounted to it, I can say that the wheels never felt overly harsh or stiff – which isn’t always the case for me at 150lbs with gear. Compared to the aluminum rims that these replaced, the Reynolds wheels made the handling feel lightning quick, and the stiffness was there for big single speed efforts. It will be a bummer to see these go back, but it’s time to move on to what’s next!