Reynolds’ Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro is a mid-to-high-end wheelset that should be seen as an investment. In return, you’re getting a flawless pair of hoops. Its blend of lightweight, superior durability and dialled stiffness-to-compliance ratio makes for one of the best mountain bike wheel options on the market.
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Reynolds Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheels - Technical details
The Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheelset is one of the freshest to hit Reynolds’ lineup, claiming to be the pinnacle of enduro-focused performance.
This wheelset ushers in a bunch of new technology for Reynolds, including a rim that gets a shallower 5.5mm profile that’s been chosen to encourage more vertical compliance. The brand says that this rim is 40 per cent more compliant than previous offerings, thanks to this new profile. It’s also asymmetric for a more even spoke tension, which boosts overall strength.
Reynolds also paid attention to the rim interface, so there’s a 30mm internal width and a 37mm external. This should support a tyre better and improve compliance. For durability, the rims feature the brand’s Impact Dispursing Matrix (IDM).
There are 28 Sapim CX-Delta spokes at both ends which lace the rim to a pair of Industry Nine Hydra hubs which have been tweaked especially for the Blacklabel wheelsets. These hubs are completely CNC machined but what’s extra special is that through six steel pawls, the freehub offers 0.52 degrees of engagement. They can also be serviced without proprietary tools.
This wheelset uses a Centrelock brake interface and external alloy spoke nipples and comes with a Shimano HG, MicroSpline or SRAM XD (tested) freehub. In the box, Reynolds includes a pair of tubeless valves and the rims come pre-taped. These wheels are also available in Boost and Super Boost sizing
If you would like to save a bit of cash but would still like to reap the rewards of the 309 Enduro rim, Reynolds offers it with the exact same spec but laced to Ringle Super Bubba hubs for £1,800.
As for the weight of this Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheelset, even though Reynolds claims that it comes in at 1,834g, I weighed it at 1,780g. Compared to other enduro-focused wheelsets, they pose a reasonable saving.
Reynolds Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheels - Installation
Reynold’s work on the rim bed features on the 309 Enduro wheels is something that definitely hasn’t gone unnoticed. During my time with this wheelset, I inflated Pirelli’s Scorpion Enduro Race M and Enduro S tyres, as well as a WTB Verdict and Maxxis Minion DHR II EXO. With each of those tyres, the tubeless setup was an absolute breeze. Even though the rims are built with asymmetric spoke beds, the valve hole is central.
Inflation is impressively straightforward and there was no need to add extra tubeless tape, soap tyre beads or pull any other tricks out of the hat. I even used a reasonable bog standard Topeak Mountain EX pump, too.
Installing the rotors is just as simple as any other Centrelock arrangement, as is bolting the wheels onto the bike.
Reynolds Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheels - Performance
Thanks to the changes and upgrades that Reynold has made to the rim of this wheelset, combined with the Industry Nine Hydra hubs, the Blacklabel 309s make a huge difference in terms of performance. Starting with the hubs, they’re incredibly impressive. The 0.52 degrees of engagement is as fast as it gets. There’s minimal movement of the crank before the hub locks and, while this results in the now iconic Hydra buzz (albeit nicely muted in Reynold’s application), the real benefit is that it delivers power to the rear wheel instantly.
The wheel’s instant power delivery is furthered through the stiff carbon rim and spoke choice, where little forward moment is given up through flex. These combine to create a wheelset that picks up speed quickly, especially when that hub engagement comes into play.
Where the wheelset provides a big shift in performance is in its ride feel when descending. Here, Reynolds has made good use of carbon’s ability to be specially crafted towards flexion and stiffness. The Blacklabel 309 offers just enough compliance to balance grip with comfort. Of course, that hint of flex also helps tyres work their magic, which was something I noticed immediately.
Those effects upped my general confidence as I hurtled into sections with much more speed than I ever had before but, importantly, complete control was retained. I’ve ridden these wheels harder than any other(s), simply because they actually made me ride faster and the rim is yet to show any sign of it. There may be the odd scratch here or there that’ll have been sustained after a trip through some rocks but deeper cuts into the carbon simply aren’t present.
And there have been a number of times where I’ve bottomed out a tyre. Usually, after the audible clang of a tyre meeting the rim’s beads, I’d be left wincing at the thought of what was left behind. However, the Blacklabel 309s shrugged such instances off as they were nothing, still looking as good as new, which leads me nicely to the next point.
These wheels look excellent. They’re not terribly flashy but the logos present are done with a glittered finish. You would have to look closely to notice this and that’s exactly how I like it. It’s subtle but special.
As for the bearings and general condition of the hubs, it’s all golden here. The bearings are running just as luxuriously smoothly as they did out of the box which says a lot considering that they’ve been put through a grossly damp summer. The rims are still running true too, after around three months of abuse.
Reynolds Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheels - Verdict
The only real downside here is the price – £2,200 is a lot of money but, in terms of the all-round performance offered, the outlay is justified.
Compared to Enve’s M730 wheelset with Industry Nine Hydra freehubs, there’s a considerable saving to be had, as these cost £3,000. The protective rim strip is a lovely addition and helps the rim and tyre hold air even after the rim is cracked. But it is heavier than the Reynolds at a claimed 1,956g with the same hub spec.
Reserve’s 30|HD x Industry9 Hydra wheelset shows some real competition though. Priced at £2,000. While weightier at a claimed 1,829g, this wheelset gets the i9 Hydra hubs and many of the same features found on the Reynolds offering.
At this price, it’s important to consider the warranty offered. Reserve’s warranty covers repair or replacement for the lifetime of the rim to the original owner. There’s then a Crash Replacement policy where Reserve will help with a crash replacement at a lower cost. Enve’s incidental damage protection offers coverage that protects against accidental damage from riding and crashing and offers a reduced-cost replacement or repair. Enve also offers a factory-limited warranty, offering replacement or repair for a defined period from the date of purchase.
Reynolds offers a limited lifetime warranty that covers carbon rim damage when riding normally. In the first two years, parts and labour of a repair are covered as well as return shipping. Like the other two brands, Reynolds may offer crash replacement pricing in other cases.
Reynolds’ Blacklabel 309 Enduro Pro wheelset is a very impressive set of wheels that poses a serious upgrade to any trail or enduro bike. It’s lighter than competing wheels from other brands while offering very real performance benefits: increased grip and comfort, and a super direct power transfer. The wheels are incredibly tough, too, so they’ll suit anyone with a point-and-shoot riding style.