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Old 04-13-2012, 08:50 AM
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Default The Carbon Wheel Experiment – Reynolds MT29 Wheels: Mid-Term

The Carbon Wheel Experiment – REYNOLDS MT29 Wheels: Mid-Term: by c_g
Hello there, it is already another 3 months of riding the REYNOLDS MT29″er wheels, In my initial ride impressions (here) I have reported on what I thought about them on board the ROCKY MOUNTAIN Element 970 where they have spent the early testing phase. I have ridden them some more on that bike until late January with loads of nasty conditions and aggressive winter riding (mostly with the SCHWALBE Ice Spiker Pros, reviewed here).

Then they went on the TRANSITION BIKES TransAm two9 (Intro here, mid term report here and verdict here) where they have been ridden until that frame was returned recently.
That ride time included some severe terrain and hardcore riding during the already cited trip to Lago di Garda, Italy, where the wheels were ridden hard on boulder strewn downhills with plenty of loose rocks, jumping all over, with plenty of drops, and … well I guess you get it. The wheels have survived all that without distress. Well almost…

Late February during a cold weather ride I heard a little “ping” in the back of my bike and when I couldn’t locate the source, I rode back home. There upon closer inspection I detected that a nipple in the rear wheel had simply snapped leaving a noticeable wobble in the wheel. Was I shocked – yes! Was it a serious problem? Not really. I took some tension off the wheel, put in a new nipple, re-tensioned and re-trued the wheel and went off riding again. With no proprietary parts and a straight forward build, all was easily replaced and worked. It took me about 20 min to repair, so the issue was less dramatic than it may read. No permanent untrue condition or wobble – good as new from what I can say.

What this incident did though was a bitter taste and the question whether the 24 spoke count is not placing too much stress on the individual parts under peak loads. This is why I jumped at the occasion to ride the wheels under rocky Lago conditions in the long travel hard tail.

What´s more – I also had a free ride professional take a ride on the bike with the okay to push the wheels as hard as he wanted to … and he did. I was raging on in an earlier post on how I was ripping down the trail on the TRANSITION bike, but that guy took riding to a whole new level and he is not a tiny guy either . Anyhow the wheels took all that willingly. After that trip I have ridden the bike and wheels as hard as I could here on my home trails and the result is the same .. absolutely no more peculiarities or weaknesses anywhere.

Could it have been a weak nipple from beginning on? I think it could, and considering that despite several riders trying their best to induce high stresses on the wheels, I don´t necessarily blame the wheels anymore.
The decals though are showing severe signs of use and maintenance – the colors are fading from the elements and the multiple cleaning sessions have left scratches all over –
they are easily removed or replaceable should you like to and therefore are not functional issue (besides most readers seemed to have despised them anyway ). Still, this shouldn’t be for such a top-end set of wheels.

Lately the wheels have been ridden with the SCHWALBE Hans Dampf tires, which are one of the widest tires I currently have, and while it is a stout tire with strong sidewall support, I trust the decent inner width of 21 mm has played a positive role in keeping the tire from deflecting in high-G situations. So far the width has proved to be pretty universal.

MID TERM SUMMARY: So what is my current position with the REYNOLDS MT29″er wheels? I still am skeptical about the low spoke count of the wheels, but count it for the good of the wheels how they have taken all the use without any further issues. But the verdict is still open and left for the last period of the wheel test to tip the scale in either direction.
For that the REYNOLDS MT29 wheels will go on a third bike where they can proove their reliability and durability … and potentially make a return trip to the European enduro Mekka of Lago di Garda.


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