Reynolds Carbon DH Wheels: First Look - Sea Otter 2017

Apr 20, 2017
by Mike Kazimer  
Reynolds DH wheels


It's no secret that downhill racers aren't kind to their equipment—bent and broken rims, smashed derailleurs, torn tires—they're all part of the price that's paid every race weekend in the quest to reach the podium. For that reason, aluminum is still the rim material of choice for many racers, largely due to the fact that an alloy rim is much less expensive to replace than a carbon fiber one.

But what if it was possible to create a stronger carbon rim, one that could handle hard impacts without failing, allowing it to be used for multiple race weekends in a row? Reynolds think they have the answer with their new DH wheelset, which was developed in conjunction with World Cup racer and nose-manual master Bernard Kerr.
Reynolds Limited Edition Bernard Kerr DH Wheelset

• Intended use: downhill
• Carbon fiber rims
• Sizes: 27.5''
• Internal width: 28mm
• External width: 34mm
• Industry Nine Torch hubs, 12x150 or 157mm spacing
• Made in USA
• Weight: 1910 grams
• MSRP: $2700 USD (includes jersey and signed poster)
www.reynoldscycling.com

The rims are handmade in the USA from a made from a material that was originally developed for the aerospace industry, with a special resin formula that's intended to provide a much higher level of impact absorption due to its ability to deform without cracking. The rim's profile is identical to what's used on Reynold's Enduro wheelset, with a 28mm inner width and an asymmetrical shape for more even spoke tension. The 32 hole rims are laced to Industry Nine's Torch quick-engaging hubs with Sapim spokes, creating a wheelset that weighs 1910 grams.


Reynolds DH wheels
Reynolds DH wheels
Originally developed for the aerospace industry, Reynolds' new carbon layup is designed to have a degree of compliance built into it, allowing it to deform during a large impact rather than cracking.

According to Todd Tanner, Reynold's product manager,“We came up with a material a year ago that exhibited the durability and ride quality characteristics that we were looking for, but at that time neither us or our material vendor could come up with a proper cure cycle to mold it into a product in a feasible manufacturing process.

"For the last year we've been working on figuring out how to manufacture a rim out of this material in a way that would be repeatable, and to have a rim that met our quality and durability testing requirements. In January we finalized that process and did some testing with Bernard. He's been riding them since then, and he has over 200 practice runs plus two downhill races, including the City Downhill race, all on the same wheelset.”

The new material isn't much heavier than what Reynolds uses for their Enduro and Trail wheelsets, but the cost is quite high, although Reynolds does hope that in the future they'll be able to begin using it throughout their lineup.


Reynolds DH wheels
Industry Nine's quick-engaging Torch hubs are laced with Sapim spokes.
Reynolds DH wheels
The rims have a 28mm internal width and come pre-taped for easy tubeless setup.


Reynolds' testing has shown the DH wheels to be 40% stronger than their Enduro wheels, which should help them withstand the abuse that's dished out by downhill racing or pounding out laps in the bike park. They're also backed with a lifetime warranty against any manufacturing defects, and for even more peace of mind Reynold's offers their Reynolds Assurance Program. For a yearly fee of $149 the program offers a "no-questions asked" replacement policy, which covers rider-induced damages, like coming up short on a massive canyon gap, or backing over your wheel on the way home from a ride.

The Bernard Kerr Limited Edition DH wheels will retail for $2700, a price that also includes a jersey and a poster signed by Bernard Kerr. These wheels seem to be working for Bernard Kerr, but we all know he only rides on his front wheel—how will they fare underneath slightly less talented riders? We'll be putting this wheelset to the test over the course of the next few months—keep your eyes peeled for a full review once we rack up enough downhill laps to reach a definitive verdict.


126 Comments

  • + 106
 I feel like the performance/weight difference between a $300.00 and a $3000.00 wheel-set is so marginal that the incredible price increase just doesn't make sense.
Who am I kidding nobody cares, this horse has been beaten to death so badly it looks like a carpet.
  • + 20
 weight difference? theres new alloy rims the same weight. My 26" spank race 33 on hope front, reverse efs rear came in under 1800g. Now there making the carbon to 'Flex' like alloy too..
  • + 30
 3000$ = alloy frameset +alloy dh wheels
  • + 3
 @cauboi: Or yt Big Grin
  • + 1
 I typically buy top end parts because the benefit to cost ratio makes decent sense to me. Rims are the part that I just can't wrap my head around, especially given that in my mind they are more akin to a cassette which will eventually need to be replaced than something like a frame which will last indefinitely. I honestly can't feel much if any difference between my alloy Industry9 wheels and most carbon offerings that cost 2-3 times as much.
  • - 1
 @winko: mmmm or maybe not. trhere are a lot of brands outside yt, in the range of 3.5 4.0k $ (mde Lumberjack welded here in italy, for example). I Dont like ride pop. Yt great bike for sure
  • + 3
 @ninjatarian: yep, expensive rims and xxxxx1 derailleurs are waste of money IMHO, just 'cause the places they visit during their lifes.
  • + 4
 Mavic Deemax DH:
Pair 650b/27,5" without tyre: 2015 grams
1100 USD
Won tenth of WC.
Sam Hill ride them.
And you don't need a rim tape...
  • + 2
 @ninjatarian Which carbon wheels did you test ?
  • + 8
 @laynehip
Yea, but with these wheels, you also get a signed poster!
  • + 1
 @Prax: and they come pre taped!
  • + 1
 @gnralized: forgot to mention...BOMBPROOF
  • + 1
 @strasznyzbigniew: dang, I was hoping they just came taped and not pre-taped. That's a showstopper!!!
  • + 1
 Most expensive stickers of the world...
  • + 2
 If everything cost 300. How are we going to spend our money?

Dental Club
  • + 1
 @ninjatarian: I like top ends as well but the carbon wheelsets are something that not give sense to me yet, the relation price/performance is not soo huge compared with a great pair of alloy/hubs ones. Like you my I9 Enduro Torch are the most expensive bough by my in my entire life in a MTB (since 1990) and they a re rigid as hell and lighter that many carbons, so we are at the same wagon, maybe in many years they can drop the price or show a huge gap in performance against alloy.
  • + 1
 @gnralized: yeah but you don't have a jersey and a cap....
  • + 1
 Hmm, maybe if we bump that up to $600, but point understood. 3k is a lot of coin.
  • + 69
 Mountain biking... Where no one has any money to buy ANYTHING... If only you got a nickel for every time you complained. Seriously... how poor are some of you folks!?!? I can't afford these either but my god some of you would b!tch if these were GIVEN to you..
  • + 6
 ahahahaha this comment made my day.
  • + 8
 Well put.
After reading all of the posts, the only thing that came to mind was this out of Caddy Shack, "Well, the world needs ditch diggers too".

Keep complaining Mountain Biking, lol.
  • + 11
 Are mountain biking sites the only ones you go to? The entire Internet is people bitching about something. That's what people do, especially with the anonymity of the Internet. I don't disagree with what you said, I just expect nothing less on the net.
  • + 1
 Maybe it is because those who 1)can afford these gear, 2)are OK with not being to afford any piece of gear do not feel the urge to inform the whole Internet of that.
  • + 4
 @bndrace: "You'll get nothing, and like it!"
  • + 1
 Same thought pops into my head when the 26ForLife crew makes their appearance. "I ride 26 by choice, not because I'm too poor for a new bike". Ha.
  • + 35
 Oh wow fantastic, only about $3000 for some wheels........
  • + 20
 The wheelset is about the same price for an aluminum YT tues...wow!
  • + 2
 Will they make them for my future 29+ boost 160mm new OLD spaced frame?
  • + 8
 I'm ordering sets for everyone I know
  • + 8
 .........Ya but they come pre taped
  • + 17
 Good lord, read the whole article, you get a jersey and a signed poster too.....
  • + 2
 For $2700, thery better come with a frame, fork, brakes, drive train, tires, dropper post, bar, stem....................
  • + 21
 "a special resin formula that's intended to provide a much higher level of impact absorption due to its ability to deform without cracking"

Rumor has it there's a new space-aged material coming down the pipe soon that does just this, I think I heard it called "aluminum" or something.
  • + 2
 Ha!
  • + 1
 I know this helps prove your point - but space age = 1960's tech
  • + 2
 Metallurgically, aluminum has an extremely low level of being able to deform without cracking. It sucks at it.
  • + 1
 @AyJayDoubleyou: Its a pun. And sixties engineering was top. Tupperware, microwave, Austin Allegro, Sinclair.
  • + 23
 I just don't understand why there is so much media pressure to get carbon wheels. They just aren't all they're cracked up to be.
  • + 2
 And yet this is the umteenth press release/ first look/ review/ first impresion for carbon wheelsets in the last 48 hours. What's the deal? If I didn't know better I'd be inclined to think these things are flying off the shelves.
  • + 1
 nobody is pressuring you. certainly not the media. they are just covering new products. there are a lot of new carbon wheels rolling out, therefore there are going to be a fair amount of posts about carbon wheels.
  • + 11
 What they're "cracked" up to be? I see what you did there...
  • + 4
 But carbon wheels make the bike so snappy!
  • + 1
 @jumpman2334: fair point, apparently there must be a budding market for them.
  • + 2
 I own three carbon wheelsets (2 LB and 1 Enve set I bought used). What I like about carbon rims is the durability.

I went back to an aluminum wheelset for a few months (Ibis 73Cool and now the aluminum rims are bent and dinged up. In thousands of miles I've never broken a carbon rim. My most recent LB wheelset came built up from LB USA perfectly true and dished and they're still that way after a month of riding.
  • + 16
 hahahahahahahahahah. hahahahahah.haha.hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah
  • + 3
 Well said.
  • + 16
 $2700 USD for a jersey and signed poster?
No, thanks

BTW: My alloy wheelset is lighter and cost $400
  • + 3
 Don't forget free rim tape Wink
  • + 13
 They better outlast humanity when the next meteor strikes for that price.
  • + 10
 I could buy a legit dirt bike for that cost. I'd rather have a dh bike and a dirt bike than just a dh bike that weighs a few grams less
  • + 11
 $2700us = $3636cad
or
6 pairs of $600cad CRC Hope pro4/flow mk3 wheelsets...
  • + 12
 Does 'rider induced damages' include landing on a chainsaw?
  • + 12
 Only $3000, AND I GET A POSTER!
  • + 6
 No Questions asked replacement! Now I am BONIN' Down the mountain without a worry in the world! High to get into... easy to stay in a set! Most all used carbon wheel sets you see in the Buy/Sell are a set of replacements that the rider got after they trashed the crap out of the first set and they realized, "Hey I really cant afford to keep running these Expen$ive Ba$tards, I'm cutting my loses and selling them.." This takes care of that problem Amigos!
  • + 8
 Did you read the part about it costing $149 a year? The company has done the math and believes it's the equivalent of charging a per rim crash replacement. So yeah, if you break 2 or 3 a year, go for it. If you break a wheel once every 3 or 4 years then you're getting hosed. It's a numbers game and the house (in this case Reynolds) doesn't lose.
  • + 3
 @Powderface: buy the 3 year for $299 and Bust em up boyeeeeez! Sounds pretty fair to me.
  • + 5
 @ryanholio: $3000 for a pair of carbon wheels for 3 years sounds fair to you? Sounds like a f*cking rip off to me. Lots of carbon options, multiple new releases this week alone for half the price. I just don't see the value in these.
  • + 1
 @Powderface: I guess you don't take car insurance either because lets face it if you don't crash your car for 10 years, you could buy a newer one with the savings.. Same logic right. Insurance is the name because it insures your covered for the worst. Better not get life insurance either.. I'm sure you'll make it to 150 before you kick it and think of the money you would have wasted!
  • + 1
 @ryanholio: 3 years ...As long as you have the same bike because in 3 years those wheels probably won't fit on any bike
  • + 8
 Well at least they are 32h and Traditional J-Bend spokes, but the whole "No Questions Asked Annual Membership" is pretty lame.
  • + 5
 I don't know. If we all bought one set and kept backing the car over them 'by mistake' once a year we'd either put them out of business......

.....or realise that it costs Reynolds less than $149 to make one of these rims?
  • + 1
 @orientdave: bike was consumed by fire. Nothing of wheel left. Send another plz thx.
  • + 10
 So a $1000 shirt?
  • + 8
 $500 worth of Sharpie ink.
  • + 7
 holy shit. 3K for a wheelset? i bought an used fulcrum red heat wheelset for 160 dolars :/ not carbon but damn...
  • + 6
 Obviously, there's excellent profit margin in carbon wheelsets for so many to flood the review media. What is this, the 5th recently?
  • + 6
 I don't want someone's name on my wheels regardless of how well they ride. I'm sure they perform great but that's a hefty price tag! Does the jersey make you ride faster?
  • + 7
 $ 3000 Wheelset + Jersey?
Only if the Jersey comes with a hooker.
  • + 3
 A classy one too
  • + 2
 First TLD coming out with the 1970's Huffy bar/sticker kit combo, now Reynolds with their $2700 -but wait, we'll throw in a Tiger Beat autographed poster- wheels.
Do people that can afford $3k wheels for their mountain bikes really WANT to sport equipment that's got some(other) dude's name on it(and lets not forget the accompanying autographed poster), or has the REALLY bad idea virus seemingly taken over parts of the mountain bike industry?
Heck, I'm a really big 'fan' of Aaron Gwin. But that doesn't mean I'm entertaining thoughts of writing his name on my bike.
It SURE as heck doesn't mean I'm gonna spend damn-near $3k for the 'privilege' of doing so
  • + 1
 It reminds me of the Simmons edition of that Rocky Mt DH bike I can't remember the name of circa 2004, I always wondered if it was weird for other pros to ride the Simmons edition haha
  • + 3
 "But what if it was possible to create a stronger carbon rim, one that could handle hard impacts without failing, allowing it to be used for multiple race weekends in a row?" Multiple races! I'm sold. What nonsense.
  • + 6
 Look at those 25 cent spokes
  • + 2
 FWIW, since carbon fiber was 'originally developed for the aerospace industry', any company that manufacturers carbon fiber ANYTHING(along with titanium and aluminum, plus a lotta other material) can claim the same fricken thing.
Seriously, who writes this shit?
  • + 7
 $3k = no way
  • + 7
 Kerr-ching $$$
  • + 1
 Anyone have any idea why the I9 torch hubs aren't straight pull. I have a I9 wheel set and love every part, from the straight pull hubs to the rims. I'm also just a weekend warrior. Is straight pull not good for DH racing? I honestly don't know.
  • + 1
 Who cares, in downhill the rims are the weak spot, not the spokes. It´s easier for building up the wheelset and not a bad idea to use a good old standard where you everywhere got spare spokes. Straight pull is often used when the rim and hub are coming from the same brand and build up as a system wheelset.
  • + 1
 For $3000 you get a wheelset made right here in the good ol US of A, paying hard workers a living wage. Don't forget about all the R and D tgat went into to pay engineers who probably love riding more than most of you folks. The warranty is icing on the cake. Don't cry about your poor paying job. Be thankful companies like this exist and are producing top notch DH specific equipment. I have a set of i9 Pillars and they are superb.
  • + 5
 Just bought 2 sets for my XC bike. Rad bro.
  • + 4
 for the poster right?
  • + 4
 What is this "wheel week"?
  • + 5
 Free shirt?
  • + 4
 Carbon, carbon and more carbon... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
  • + 3
 If i am going to pay for 3000 for a set of wheels, they are going to be ENVEs
  • + 13
 If i am going to pay 3000 for a set of wheels, they are going to be ... attached to a new bike
  • + 3
 you had me at aerospace industry
  • + 1
 I have some Mavic XA elite rims in my bike, the carbon versions save you maybe a third of a pound. Seriously, why do some want carbon rims so bad? Not worth it whatsoever
  • + 1
 the price is high and you say even the racer that have the name on it use only the carbon front wheel? looks like you what to kill sales...
  • + 1
 ha ha, nice joke ! (If that was your serious answer, please check all the other videos of him !)
  • + 1
 you Pike the joke?
  • + 1
 @mudmandhbrazil: Watch the other Bernard Kerr videos on Vimeo or Youtube and you´ll understand the joke !
  • + 1
 Aerospace industry my arse. I designed my fart for the aerospace industry. There was no buyers or practical use for it but its still aerospace spec
  • + 1
 $2700!! And here iam not having ridden for a year because I can't afford new brakes,derailleur and rear tire after a massive crash. My whole bike also cost way less.
  • + 1
 Bring on the commentary equating the best DH carbon money can buy to everything from 26" Alloy DH rims to cheap-o Chinese Carbon rims.
  • + 1
 Over 3 grand with tax for a dh wheel set???? I remember when I did crack too.
  • + 1
 SERIOUSLY ????? Two carbon wheel reviews a week, where is the Light Bicycle Review ????????
  • + 2
 More than I just paid for a new carbon frame. I'll pass.
  • + 1
 Sixth Elements wheels...choose your hubs...amazing performance at much better price.
  • + 1
 Looks super cool! Sort of like a supercar! Well, thanks for the eye candy, I am going to ride my bike.
  • + 1
 Jersey and poster...is that a joke?id buy these for 1200 next year
  • + 1
 2700 so I can smash them into a boulder field! No thanks!!
  • + 1
 you pay $149/mo for Reynolds Insurance just in case they break.
  • + 1
 @YouHadMeAtDrugs: Great- more insurance! What a joke!!!!!
  • + 1
 This confirms what I knew all along jersey's are worth about 5 bucks.
  • - 1
 Wow what a rip-off where is consumer protection, what's this insult includes (jersey and signed poster) for 3000 US dollars it should include a life time warranty
  • + 0
 But it does
  • + 3
 @TheMrPlow: yeah, but it's against manufacturer's defects, so it probably doesn't cover all that much
  • + 1
 I'd also remove the BK decals first thing,no offense
  • + 2
 No 29!? Hmm
  • + 1
 Wheels so expensive even a dentist wouldn't buy them.
  • + 1
 For that price and weight they better be damn near unbreakable
  • + 1
 They came up with this 19 days too late
  • + 1
 Im done with the mtb industries pricing
  • + 1
 Buy wheels. Never ride bike off road.
  • + 0
 What? No 29er option for my DH bike!! God!

PS: I am from the future.
  • - 1
 $3000 for a sub-30mm internal "DH" rim? My AM rims are wider than that.
  • + 7
 Most DH guys aren't riding 30mm internals. Gwin rode EX471 DT's for a few seasons as well as Bronson for example. Those are internal 25mm. don't beleive the hype on super wide rims. Same with the 800mm bars, most pros run narrower bars that the media hypes up as 'must haves'
  • + 12
 @seraph That makes a lot of sense when you say it like that. My 25.5mm inner aluminum DH wheel set retails for $1000, so for $3000 I should get at least a 76.5mm inner rim. Because if I pay more I obviously want more.
  • + 5
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Excellent mathing right there.
  • + 2
 @TEAM-ROBOT: you can get an 80mm inner from HED for your fatbike for about that much Smile . lol.
  • + 0
 @TEAM-ROBOT: Just saying it seems overpriced for not enough width. I don't run less than 30mm internal for any MTB application.
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