As the popularity of 29ers has grown, so has the availability of high-end aftermarket wheels like the Reynolds Carbon 29er Wheelset. Built around a wider 21-millimeter(internal) carbon rim, and attached to the Reynolds-built hubs via DT Revolution spokes, there isn't a weak-link in the equation. The wider rim includes all the advantages of the competition's 19-millimeter widthAAAthen improves on them. The extra-wide rim provides a more stable platform for tires two inches and larger, preventing them from rolling like on a narrower rim. In addition, and contrary to many of their competitors, Reynolds' engineers concluded that more spoke holes results in a weaker rim. They examined thousands of broken or damaged rims and found that the break almost always originated at a spoke or valve hole. Instead of the typical 32 spoke count, the Utah-based company decided that a 24-spoke wheelset would both reduce weight and add strength, achieving the goal of both agility and durability. Weighing in at just under 1600 grams for the set, the Carbon 29er Wheelset isn't the lightest available, but what they lack in weight advantage they make up for in performance and stiffness, and weight doesn't matter if your wheels flex like a wet noodle underneath you.
Very disappointed in these wheels!
I found this post whilst looking for info on how to service the hub on these wheels and felt I had to post something as I have experienced the same issue!
I got a Scalpel 29er carbon last September with these wheels and after the FIRST ride I found I had completely lost a spoke on the rear wheel!! Due to issues with the headset the whole bike had to be exchanged. I was hoping on the replacement bike the wheels would be o.k. but on the first ride I got 2 loose spokes! This is really bad on a wheelset which costs this much money and I would expect much better from a company like Reynold. After all, they specialize in building wheels – badly obviously!
So, over the winter I rebuilt the wheel myself by removing each spoke one at a time and applying blue Loctite in lieu of Spoke Prep. So far the spokes have now been o.k.
Strengths: Lightweight, reasonably stiff for the weight
Weaknesses: Chronic spoke detensioning, poorly designed freehub/pawl mechanism (see details below)
I have two of the 2013 29er carbon wheelsets that came on my new Cannondale rigs (Flash and Scalpel Carbon 1). The wheels were part of the sell, and I fully expected that I'd be blown away by the combination of a lightweight AND stiff wheelset...the aura of carbon. This is my first carbon wheelset (first experience with Reynolds in general), but I've ridden a number of other hub/rim brands in my years cycling (DT Swiss, Chris King, Industry Nine, Stans...) For how much the bikes each cost, or for what these wheels run solo (near $2k?), I've sadly been disappointed. In 3 months on the wheels, I've experienced 2 notable problems - chronic detensioning of spokes (right out of the box!) and slipping/popping within the freehub body. I should start by mentioning that I'm not an aggressive rider nor am I putting much weight on the wheels - I ride mainly XXC events that take place on at least 50% gravel roads and pretty well tuned singletrack, and I'm probably topping out at 145 - 150 lbs. Relevant background since I know both of these problems could be rider dependent!
I'd like to address the freehub issues first. From the first rides I had on either wheelset, I noticed a few occurrences of the rear hub popping and could physically feel it slip a bit. This immediately reminded me of the older Industry Nine wheels, which are known to pop as the pawl springs begin to wear and become more elastic. The difference here is these wheels are brand new, so the popping was not only unexpected, but disappointing to say the least. After a few rides with similar issues, I called Reynolds to discuss the problem and they quickly offered to send a replacement freehub body. I was happy about their responsiveness, but after 2 weeks and nothing having yet come in the mail, I called them back only to find out that the replacement was never shipped (no explanation of why). A week later (3 weeks after the initial call), I received the new freehub, had it installed and inspected by my local shop mechanic, and headed out to the mountains for a test ride on the newly serviced wheel. Within 15 minutes of starting the ride, I had the same popping/pinging in the hub, and could again feel the pawls slipping slightly. Note that during this time, the other wheelset was doing the exact same thing, and I received feedback from teammates echoing the same problem. Upon visual inspection of the pawl/spring design, it appears the springs lack enough tension to consistently retract the pawls as they ratchet through the hub shell. I was able to depress some of the pawls and witness them literally sticking for several seconds before they'd spring back up. So, after 3 months of riding the wheels, I've written this off as being a design flaw with their hubs. Very frustrating for what's marketed as a higher-end wheelset. My most expensive wheels prior to these cost less than half the price and never gave me problems with the hubs. That's issue 1 (and a big one if you're prepared to drop $2k on a top of the line component!!)
Issue 2: spoke detensioning. I tried to look for user reviews before I bought these bikes, and the only one I found was here on MTBR, where another rider complained of spokes detensioning early on. I wrote this off as an outlier since I hadn't heard any other mention of the problem. Unfortunately I experienced similar issues very early on. On what was literally the second ride on my Flash, I got back to my vehicle after 15 miles of gravel road riding and noticed a spoke completely missing from the rear wheel (keep in mind that both rides up to this point were on gravel, simply so I could attempt to get bike settings dialed in before unleashing the bike on some real trails!!) 30 miles of gravel, and a spoke had already backed out to the point where it fell out of the hub - I found out the hard way that straight-pull spokes can slip out VERY easily without being noticed. Inspection of the wheels confirmed other spokes that had also loosened almost completely out of the nipple. This is where Reynolds customer service began to get a bit out of hand (keywords unprofessional, unorganized...) I relayed the missing spoke flaw back to Reynolds over the phone, and was offered a handful of replacements. 2 weeks later, nothing in the mail. I called back to follow-up, speaking this time with another representative, who apologized for the spokes not having shipped when I originally called, and stated that she'd drop the replacements in the mail that day. They arrived a week later, only to be the wrong size (26" instead of 29" - and they knew my wheels were 29er since I clearly mentioned it over the phone). Called back again and received a similar apology and 'they're in the mail' comment. 2 weeks later, nothing. I just called back earlier this week and received another half-confused "I don't know what happened, sorry....". So as of today, I've yet to get a single replacement spoke for the new wheel (6 weeks later). Frustrated, to say the least...
Strengths: The rims are super stiff and tough. Over all the wheels are light, and the rims are TLR. Performance wise they're very responsive and spin up real fast.I dropped almost 2lbs off my bike. The wheels come with every outer hub flange configuration to run every standard on the market. Super easy to swap from 9mm to 15mm, to 20mm, same goes for the rear wheel. Great customer service, so far. Read on, I'm having spoke issues.
I have to say again the rims are super tough. On a night ride while playing fox and hound I was tailing another ride who, like myself, is always boosting off little rocks and roots and jumping around. He boosted off a little rock and gapped over a log about 4ft away, not seeing the log but booting a bit any way I cased the log, HARD. I herd a "twinge" and figured, "that's it I've damaged the rim". If I had been running tubes it would have been a pinch flat. The rim had no sign of damage.
Customer Service has been great from Reynolds so far.
Weaknesses: This is hard to comment on. My experience could be an isolated issue. The rear axle came loose 6 times in 2wks worth of 20 2.5-3hrs rides. Not until I put red Loctite on the axle did it stay put. With in the first month the non drive side spokes ALL backed off. Back to the shop for re tensioning. 2wks later ALL the drive side backed off and one nipple head snapped off. Back to the shop, this time Reynolds was contacted and they sent an entire new spoke and nipple set for both wheels. The rear wheel was rebuilt with spoke prep. That was 3months ago and now I've still got spokes backing off. Two spokes were actually flopping around the other night. Reynolds has been contacted again. We'll see where we go next.
Over all for the price I'm not impressed, even at my pro deal price. Price aside there is no reason for a wheel to have this many problems as early as I have in it's life. I'd expect this from a wheel after a couple seasons of riding the way I do. I by no means am a hack, in fact I get complement all the time about how smooth I am. In 35+yrs of riding and more then 25 of them at an expert level I've never had a part fail nor have I had the kind of repeat problem I had with these spoke. I've only broken 2 frames, both from abuse, one BMX and the other an MTB HT back in the 90's. Other then that I've only ever broken parts from crashes.
I hope this provides some insight. If I can I'll up date this review as the problem progresses with Reynolds.