Reynolds Blacklabel Enduro 309 Pro Wheels
Last year, Reynolds rolled out the Blacklabel Enduro Pro 309 wheelset, a worthy successor to their very burly Blacklabel Enduro Carbon wheels. Reynolds has been producing carbon wheels for quite some time, using a Kaizen approach, and listening to feedback from the Pivot Factory Racing Team. Reynolds builds upon the fantastic durability of their wheels with a focus on a more compliant ride feel, in an attempt to tame down rider fatigue while pinning down an EDR course, or merely catching an after-work ride.
Over the past six months, I’ve been fortunate enough to have these hoops roll as an immediate replacement for the previous Blacklabel Enduro wheels from Reynolds, so let‘s see how they have fared...
The New Tech
The most notable difference between the previous Blacklabel Enduro and the new Blacklabel 309 Pro wheelset lies solely within the construction of the rim. The internal width grows from 28 to 31mm, while the height reduces to 20.5 from 29mm. The drastically shallower rim profile is said to extract nearly 40% more vertical compliance, reducing rider fatigue.
The rim remains asymmetric, though to a lesser degree than the previous generation. Fortunately, Reynolds decided to use the same spoke length for both wheels, fore-aft and side to side (306mm for the 29”). Everyone would agree that four different spoke lengths of the previous wheelset was pedantic - and a giant pain in the ass to source at your local bike shop.
The hubs are a Reynolds-flavoured straight-pull Industry Nine Hydra. A custom shell is milled and is visually slimmer than what I9 offers to consumers. The internals are pure Hydra, with 690 points of engagement. Buyers can specify what kind of freehub body they require, whether it be XD, Microspline, or Hyperglide. Brake rotor fitment is centerlock only.
Reynolds uses 28 bladed Sapim CX-Ray spokes with alloy nipples in a 3-cross pattern to tie everything together. Touted as one of the strongest spokes on the market, the CX-Ray is lighter than traditional J-bend stainless spokes, with a fancier-than-thou aerodynamic profile.
Setup and Ride Impressions
On the scale, the fresh wheels weigh in at 1824g - 10g less than claimed weight. These things are light, particularly when you consider the DH version merely differs by four extra spokes and brass nipples vs. alloy. The fit and finish is impressive. The rim is bare carbon, visually flawless with minimal Reynolds branding around the perimeter. There was even a very slight sheen of lube on the carbon rim, indicating that lube had been applied to the spoke threads.
I threw on some Continental Kryptotal DH tires and they aired up without issue. The lower rim profile is far easier to seat tires on vs. the old, slightly narrower rim. I didn’t bother to use any tire inserts, as I’m currently off that program until my wheels tell me otherwise. Fingers crossed that I have my tire pressure dialed in properly - so far, so good.
The new rim immediately felt more forgiving than the outgoing one. The latter was very stout, which would manifest as a tingly sensation through my hands and elbows after a day of riding. Upon switching to the new BL 309 Enduro Pro wheels, I noticed less chatter and vibration when slamming through rock gardens, allowing me to release the death-grip and focus further down the trail. The tingly hands also went away. I rode many rock slabs with less than ideal exits, noticing the newly-engineered compliance as I'd return gently to a level surface instead of being shot out. The BL 309 Enduro Pro also produces less noise, as the shallow cavity reduces resonance.
The Reynolds-branded Industry Nine Hydra hubs continue to roll as smoothly as day one. Routine hub maintenance is crucial during a PNW winter, so I'll report back if I encounter any resistance.
Switching wheels between bikes takes slightly more time due to the centerlock rotor swap. I've used both Ibis and Shimano 6-bolt adaptors with great success, but it adds another step if you decide to swap wheels immediately before a ride.
A note on the Reynolds lifetime warranty. I decided to remove the Tannus tire inserts on the previous generation Blacklabel Enduro wheelset, using a DH casing tire. Tire pressures went up by 4 PSI in the front, and 6 PSI in the back. I instantly felt so much more pop and liveliness on the bike, playing with the sensation of lily-padding over features instead of keeping planted on the ground. This was revelatory! Well, until I noticed a crack in the sidewall of the rear rim, from a hard rock strike in a compression. The warranty process was easy, I sent the whole wheel back to Reynolds and they laced up a new rim, along with new spokes, free of charge. Reynolds has the same lifetime warranty for the new BL 309 Enduro Pro wheels, if you happen to torch a rim.