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review

Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset

9
£1,800.00

VERDICT:

9
10
A very impressive set of wheels, though I found that profile took some getting used to
Very fast
Most stable deep-profile rims I've used in cross winds
Light for 60mm wheels
Their aero-whoosh sound!
Expensive
Profile takes some getting used to
Weight: 
1,540g

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The Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheels are very fast, stable and fun to ride, though the initial setup was a bit more of a pain than I'd have liked.

> Buy now: Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheels for £1,800 from Upgrade

Our best road bike wheels buyer's guide rounds up our favourite hoops from just £500 to over £2,500.

You know you have gone deep down the rabbit hole of wheel reviews when you become obsessed with the profile of a rim. It's how I know I may have a problem because the profile of these is something I have never seen before – but it was a profile I became very impressed with.

These rims are not simply 60mm deep, they bulge out around 25mm below the tyre bead and taper back in towards the tyre – this isn't a manufacturing error, rather it's Reynolds' DET2 profile. There's no doubt it looks weird, as if you've put the wrong size tyre on, but it works, with a maximum width of 34.25mm at the bulge narrowing to an inner rim width of 21mm that's optimised for 28mm tyres.

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset - valve hole.jpg

The supposed purpose of this unusual-looking design is to increase aero performance and improve stability in cross winds. The first I can't give any accurate readings for until road.cc stumps up for a wind tunnel, but I can vouch for the fact that these perform incredibly well in cross winds, where I found them much less jittery than I would have expected from a deep-profile rim, so Reynolds boffins are clearly doing something right.

Although I couldn't do any accurate testing for aerodynamics (that wind tunnel again...), the one thing I can say is that the aero swoosh is one of the most impressive I've heard, which normally suggests that the aerodynamics are at least doing something. I can also say that these feel fast, both in terms of how well they spin up to speed and how well they maintain it.

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset - rim tape.jpg

The 60mm CR6 carbon rims are laced to Reynolds/Ringle SBX Road DB hubs with 24 Sapim CX-Ray spokes front and rear.

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset - front hub.jpg

In terms of ride feel, I found these managed to maintain rigidity and stiffness without them being bone rattlers. When I pushed on the pedals acceleration was pretty much instantaneous and power transfer was equally impressive when the road headed upwards too.

For wheels with 60mm deep rims the climbing performance is impressive, part of which will be down to their weight of just 1,540g per pair, which compares well to other deep rims we've reviewed recently. The Campagnolo Bora WTO 60s weigh in at 1,590g per pair while the Cadex 65 Disc Tubeless wheels are a fraction heavier than the Blacklabels at 1,550g.

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset - rear hub.jpg

When on the bike these wheels worked incredibly well, though I did have an issue with the initial setup that is still inexplicable to both the distributor and me.

Fitting the front wheel was a cinch with the tyre going on easily, and I could seat it using a regular track pump.

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

However, the back wheel's thru-axle wouldn't go through smoothly and even the smallest additional force pushed the freehub away from the wheel, which meant the pawls fell out and I had to refit them, which was a fiddly process. This would happen whether it had visibly moved or not, so the only way to test whether I had got everything in place was to fully secure the wheel then spin and listen.

I brought this up with the distributor who said it wasn't a known issue but was one it could fix. The distributor sent me through a new freehub body, axle and end caps that I changed in a couple of minutes and which fixed the problem. So, while this was definitely an initial issue, it did show the warranty process was working.

Value

There's no doubt that the £1,800 RRP is steep for a set of wheels, but given their low weight and the impressive performance delivered by their unusually shaped rims, I'd say they're actually pretty well priced.

The Campagnolo Bora WTO 60 wheels that Liam reviewed a while back are £200 dearer at £1099.99, 40g heavier and don't offer the same control in cross winds.

The Cadex 65 Disc Tubeless wheels are a full £700 more expensive, and while their extra 10g weight is imperceptible, they are also a bit more tetchy in cross winds, though Liam was impressed with the stiffness, speed and acceleration they offered.

Conclusion

I was very impressed with the Reynolds Blacklabel wheels: they're fast, stable in cross winds and – let's be honest, the most important bit – they create an amazing whoosh when you're flying along. For 60mm wheels they also accelerate well and fly up climbs, thanks to their impressively low weight and their quick uptake.

Verdict

A very impressive set of wheels, though I found that profile took some getting used to

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset

Size tested: 21x622

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Based around our Dispersive Effect Termination (DET2) rim profile, the BLACKLABEL rims are optimized to lower drag and provide unmatched stability in crosswinds when used with modern, wider tire profiles. The rims feature a 22mm tubeless ready rim channel and a precision crafted hub by Ringle that lowers rolling resistance, enhances lateral stiffness and improves the overall ride quality to give you every advantage in your search for speed.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

*Usage: Road

*Rim Technology: CR6 DET2

*Rim Depth: 60mm

*Rim Width: 21mm

*Hubs: Reynolds/Ringle SBX Road DB, 4° engagement, 6 pawl phased

*Front Axle: 12 x 100 Thru Axle

*Rear Axle: 12 x 142 Thru Axle

*FH Body: Shimano HGR and SRAM XDR (Campy N3W available)

*Brake Interface: CL

*Spokes: Sapim CX-Ray

*Nipples: INT Alloy

*Hole Count: 24/24

*Size: 622c

*Weight: 1540g(Set)

*Included: Tubeless tape (installed), Alloy tubeless valve stem

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Very well made with a curious but innovative profile, and they maintained true throughout the review period too.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

Fast, light, and stable – very, very impressive.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10

No reason to think these would not last.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10

Not the lightest wheels, but the 1,540g weight is very impressive for wheels with 60mm-deep rims.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

When you compare these to the Campag Boras or Cadex 65s, both of which have flaws that these don't and cost a considerable amount more, then the £1,800 price tag doesn't seem excessive.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

They stayed true throughout with no spoke tension issues.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

I used these with a tubeless setup and once I had got the tyres on it was a simple process to get everything sorted. Oddly it was more difficult to get the same type of tyre on the front as on the rear, despite the tyres and wheels being the same - but that's the reality of a non-standardised market.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

No skewers as its a disc brake setup, but the valves seem like the standard no-nonsense tubeless valves and the pre-taped rims held up perfectly well with no leaks of sealant or air.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Very, very well, incredibly fast, stable, and even climbed impressively with a 60mm depth – which is not something you see every day.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

That aero whoosh is the best I have come across so far! Is that entirely superficial of me? Perhaps, but I just don't care – they sound great.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The profile takes some getting used to looking at – it looks weird. However, it performs impressively well, so it's very much a case of function over form.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Campagnolo Bora WTO 60 that we looked at are nearly £200 more at £1,999 without the same control in cross winds and are 40g heavier. The Cadex 65 Disc Tubeless are a full £700 more expensive, weigh 10g more and are a bit tetchy in cross winds too.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

A very good set of wheels that are fast, stable, comfortable, and can even go up hills fast despite being 60mm deep.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 35  Height: 6 ft  Weight:

I usually ride: CAAD13  My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,

George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between. 

Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.

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2 comments

Avatar
RobD | 3 months ago
1 like

Makes me smile how reviews of often rather trivial items, such as gloves/mitts, or a simple tool that is similar to many others can end up with paragraph upon paragraph written about them, yet a pair of wheels costing £1,800 gets little more than 750 words, with quite a few of those being the price/weight comparison to other wheels.

I get that they're wheels, they're round, they're apparently aero, so there's a limited amount that can be written about them, but this felt a little phoned in. I don't usually like to criticise reviews, but I don't feel this gave me much information with which to help make any kind of decision, other than they might have a bit of a dodgy freehub design.

Avatar
ooblyboo | 3 months ago
1 like

I don't see how you can arrive at a score of 9/10 for a wheelset costing £1800 that you couldn't get a thru-axle into without all the pawls falling out. Yes, they sorted it quickly but they would do for someone reviewing their product on launch. I'd have thought having a wheelset whose freehub didn't come apart on installation would be a minimum requirement at pretty much any price point.

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