Looking to keep pace with the changing world of XC mountain biking, Reynolds has just unveiled their newest model. Designed to cover the spectrum from full-on race bikes to fun-focused short travel rigs, the new Reynolds 309/289 XC family has a number of different options depending on your needs.
At first glance, you may think that the 309/289 in the name references two different models. Instead, it refers to two different wheels – the front and the back. Reynolds decided to go with front and rear specific rim profiles to maximize performance up front, while keeping the weight down and compliance up in the back.
The front 309 rim with its 30mm inner width allows you to run lower pressures up front with more sidewall support, and the stiffer rim itself should add to the steering precision. Out back though, the rim has been narrowed to a 28mm internal width to create a rim that is more compliant and a bit lighter. Both rims use a shallow 21mm depth to increase overall compliance as well.
Naturally, the rims are tubeless ready and use a hookless bead. Built with the same Impact Dispersing Matrix and MR5 rim tech used in Reynolds’ DH rims, Reynolds claims the resulting rim construction is not only light, but offers “industry-leading impact resistance and durability in a new lightweight XC package”.
There’s more than just different rim width between the front and rear wheels though, as the wheels use different spoke counts as well, with Sapim CX-Ray steel spokes. This time, the front has the lower number with 24 spokes up front and 28 out back. More spokes should help the rear wheel hold up to the torque put into the drivetain and impacts from big hits, while few spokes up front help balance out the feel from the wider rim.
Two versions of the high end Reynolds Blacklabel carbon wheels will be offered, one with proprietary hubs made by Industry Nine featuring their Hydra engagement system, and a limited edition version with the Ringlé Super Bubba X hub “anodized in a turquoise homage to the original Super Bubba’s of the past.” The Hydra hubs still offer one of the fastest engagements out there at 0.52°, while the Bubba X hubs are still a fast 4°.
You may recall that in 2018, Hayes Performance Systems bought Reynolds Cycling making the two into sister companies. As far as we’re aware, this is the first collaboration between the two brands, and the result is pretty rad. First impression of this new limited edition set is coming up right after this post.
With almost an identical spec other than the hubs, the BL wheels with I9 Hydra hubs are the lightest at 1435g per set. The BLr wheels with Ringle hubs check in at a claimed 1540g, but are less expensive at $1,850 vs. $2,099.
TR 309/289 & TR 309/289s
Stepping down from the Blacklabel level, there are two more options in the TR and TRs models. These wheels still use the 309/289 rim design, but use Reynolds’ PR3 rim construction for a more affordable carbon fiber rim.
The higher end TRs model gets an upgraded freehub with 6 phased pawls for 5° engagement, while the TR uses 4 pawls for 10° (the spec sheets above are incorrect for 6/12°). You also get higher end Sapim CX-Delta spokes and EXT alloy nipples for a 110g in weight savings. Of course, the price is different too with TRs wheels selling for $1,549.99 and the TR selling for $1,299.99.