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Reynolds 29 Enduro Wheels

Noah Bodman reviews the Reynolds Enduro 29 Wheels for Blister Gear Review

Reynolds 29 Enduro Wheels

Reynolds 29 Enduro Wheelset

Build:

  • Reynolds hub by Industry Nine
  • DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes (28, 3 cross)

Internal Rim Width (measured): 27.2 mm

External Rim Width (measured): 33.5 mm

Blister’s Measured Weight:

  • Front: 808 g
  • Rear: 937 g
  • Total: 1745 g

Mounted to: Evil The Following

MSRP: $2500

Reviewer: 5’9” 155 lbs.

Test Duration: 30 rides

Test Locations: Whitefish, MT; Fernie, BC

Reynolds has been in the carbon wheel game for a long time, and they’ve enjoyed quite a bit of success on the road side of things. They’ve also been putting out carbon mountain wheels for years, and we had great things to say about their All Mountain wheels a few years back.

But now Reynolds has revamped their wheel lineup, and the Enduro series (available in 27.5” and 29” versions) leads the charge on the burly end of the spectrum. I’ve been riding the 29 Enduro wheelset for a few months now, and while the wheels may be lacking in the “creative name” department, they perform pretty damn well on the trail.

By the Numbers

The 29 Enduro measures a moderately wide 27.2 mm internally (33.5 mm external), which by modern rim standards puts it at the wide end of “trail” oriented rims. While there are plenty of rims on the market that are quite a bit wider, I’m of the opinion that super wide rims only work well if you’re running similarly wide tires. I found that the 29 Enduro’s width was perfect for 2.4” tires, and also worked fine with a 2.3” or 2.5” tire.

On my scale, the 29 Enduro wheelset weighs in at 1745 grams, which is actually a bit lighter than Reynold’s advertised weight (1753 g). That weight puts them in the running with other comparable carbon wheelsets, although some people might be thinking, “That’s not that light.”

Noah Bodman reviews the Reynolds Enduro 29 Wheels for Blister Gear Review

Noah Bodman on the Reynolds 29 Enduro wheels.

And it’s true — it is entirely possible to build up a wheelset with an aluminum rim that’s even lighter and costs a fraction as much. But, by a considerable margin, that aluminum wheel won’t be anywhere near as stiff or strong as the 29 Enduro. That said, if you’re looking for something a bit lighter, Reynolds offers the Trail series of wheels, which are a few millimeters narrower and around 100 g lighter.

All of Reynolds Mountain wheels are built around Industry 9 Torch hubs, which is fantastic. The Industry 9 hubs offer crazy fast engagement (120 points, or every 3 degrees);  they’re reasonably light; they roll fast (especially for a high engagement hub); and they’re easy to rebuild.

The only potential downside of the Industry 9 hubs is that, in my experience, their bearings don’t last quite as long as some of the competition — on Industry 9 hubs I’ve had in the past, the bearings were getting pretty chunky after around 2 years, while other high-end hubs will often go quite a bit longer than that. But despite any issues with bearings, they’re still my favorite hubs on the market right now.

The main downside I see at the center of the wheel is that Reynolds only offers the hubs with centerlock rotor mounting. I’m not a huge fan of centerlock rotors because they cost more, they’re harder to come by, and I’ve had them come loose on me. I ran the wheels using the supplied centerlock to 6-bolt adaptor, and while it worked fine, there’s a small amount of rotational play that accompanies literally every such adaptor I’ve ever used. Functionally, that play is irrelevant, but it’s annoying.

Long story short: I wish Reynolds offered a 6-bolt hub option.

The Wheel Build

The 29 Enduro only comes as a complete wheelset, and is only available in a 28-spoke configuration (both front and rear). The rims are made with Reynolds “MR5” carbon layup, which basically means the rim is broken down into five different regions (bead, sidewall, nipple bed, spoke face, and tire channel), each of which gets a different carbon layup.

The 29 Enduro rims are also somewhat unique in that they’re asymmetric — asymmetric rims certainly aren’t anything new, but they’re still somewhat uncommon in the world of carbon rims. The idea behind the asymmetric rim is that it helps make up for the fact that the hub flanges aren’t centered in the frame. On rear hubs, the hub flanges are offset to the left to make room for the cassette, and on the front, the flanges are offset to the right to make room for the disc rotor.

On a normal, non-asymmetric rim, the spokes from either hub flange don’t approach the hub at the same angle. But by skewing the rim to one side and offsetting the spoke holes from the centerline of the rim, the spokes can approach the rim at close to the same angle. This means that your drive side spokes have more or less the same tension as the non-drive spokes, which makes for a stronger wheel.

Noah Bodman reviews the Reynolds Enduro 29 Wheels for Blister Gear Review

Symmetrical (left) vs Asymmetrical (right) rims

I also took some tension readings just to assess the quality of the wheel build. Generally speaking, the better the wheel build, the more even the spoke tensions will be — usually anything better than a 20% deviation from the average is considered acceptable, and the best wheel builds will be quite a bit better than that.

My 29 Enduro wheels’ tension was about +/- 15% from the average, which is decent, but not quite as dialed as some other high end wheels I’ve looked at. It is, however, worth noting that the average tension on the drive side of my 29 Enduro wheel was up around 135 kgf, which is quite high (somewhere around 100-120 kgf is normal). Depending on who you talk to, that arguably makes for a stiffer wheel.

NEXT: Mounting, The Ride, Etc.

1 Comment

  1. Blister Member
    Tom October 16, 2016 Reply

    Your usual good review, Noah, but $2,500 these days is ridiculous for a carbon wheelset.

    Many options in the $1,500 range, and even cheaper in some cases.

    Footnote: Internal nipples, a’la Enve, should be banished from the universe.

    Or at least confined to road bike wheels!

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