Reynolds Dean carbon fat bike wheels review

The ultimate fat bike component upgrade — if you can afford them

Fat Bike Wheels Winter Guide
A set of carbon wheels such as the Reynolds Dean is arguably the No. 1 upgrade for a fat bike.

A set of carbon wheels such as the Reynolds Dean is arguably the No. 1 upgrade for a fat bike (click to enlarge).

Editor’s Note: This article is part of the Mtbr Ultimate Guide to winter mountain biking, fat bikes, gear, apparel, lights and trainers. We are taking a deep dive into all manner of cold weather mountain bike gear, with round-ups and reviews of fat bikes, tires, wheels, apparel, trainers, lights and more. To see all the articles, head over to our Winter Guide Hub Page.

Lowdown: Reynolds Dean Carbon Fat Bike Wheel

Clearly Reynolds’ new Dean carbon fiber fat bikes wheels are not for everyone. Indeed, the $2650 price tag is more than many would-be fat bikers are willing to pay for a complete bike. But if you’re looking for the ultimate fat bike component upgrade, addressing rotating weight is the obvious starting point. Strip away wheel heft and most fat bikes would be relatively light hardtails. But the standard bulky mass of rim, tube and tire often turns them into lumbering 30-plus-pound beasts, which is fat biking critic’s No. 1 piece of I-told-you-so ammunition. Swap on a set of chichi carbon wheels, though, and that pop shot misses its target. The question here is whether or not the Reynolds Dean are the right chichi wheels for you? Read our full review below to find out.

Stat Box
Rim width: 76mm internal/80mm external Rotor attachement: 6 bolt
Rim depth: 28mm Decal options: blue, yellow, white
Rim construction: Double wall carbon Weight: 2150 grams
Rim profile: Hookless bead Warranty: Two year limited
Spokes: DT Swiss Competition, 32 front/rear Price: $2650
Hubs: Industry Nine 3-degree engagement 6 pawl Rating: 4 Flamin' Chili Peppers 4-out-of-5 (if money is no object)
Spacing: 12×177 or 12×197 rear, 15×150 front

Pluses
Minuses
  • Tubeless set-up with floor pump
  • Expensive
  • Quick hub engagement
  • Not lightest carbon hoops
  • Fun graphics
  • Clunky hub conversion
  • Durable double-wall construction
  • Convertible hubs
  • All season capability
  • Light compared to alloy wheels

Review: Reynolds Dean Carbon Fat Bike Wheel

While it’s short sighted to always default to the weight question when talking fat bikes, it’s also hard to ignore. There’s no way around the fact that many of these big wheeled rigs are pigs. And that’s why swapping on a set of high-zoot carbon wheels is such an attractive proposition. While the composite hoop upgrade gain on standard mountain bikes is measured in grams, you can shave several pounds by switching from alloy rimmed wheels with tubed tires to carbon wrapped with tubeless rubber.

Our primary testing grounds were the snowy roads and trails in and around Crested Butte, Colorado, and the Gunnison National Forest.

Our primary testing grounds were the snowy roads and trails in and around Crested Butte, Colorado, and the Gunnison National Forest (click to enlarge).

Indeed, Robbie Squire, recent winner of the inaugural fat bike world championships, said his bike shed a full three pounds when he ditched the stock set-up on his Pivot LES Fat in favor of a pair of Reynolds Dean wheels shod with a Surly Lou tire in back and 45NRTH Dillinger 5 up front (both tubeless).

The Pivot LES Fat fat bike of (unofficial) fat bike world champion Robbie Squire, complete with a set of Reynolds Dean wheels.

The Pivot LES Fat fat bike of (unofficial) fat bike world champion Robbie Squire, complete with a set of Reynolds Dean wheels (click to enlarge).

Of course, Squire is a sponsored pro (he races on the road for the Holowesko-Citadel Racing) with industry connections. The bet here is he paid nothing for those wheels. You, on the other hand, will have to shell out $2650 plus another couple hundred bucks for tires. So should you? That’s a tough question to answer without knowing your tax bracket or fat biking intentions. What we will say is that the Reynolds Dean ticks a lot of important boxes, affordability not being one of them.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Reynolds Dean carbon fat bike wheels review »
About the author: Jason Sumner

An avid cyclist, Jason Sumner has been writing about two-wheeled pursuits of all kinds since 1999. He’s covered the Tour de France, the Olympic Games, and dozens of other international cycling events. He also likes to throw himself into the fray, penning first-person accounts of cycling adventures all over the globe. Sumner, who joined the RoadBikeReview.com / Mtbr.com staff in 2013, has also done extensive gear testing and is the author of the cycling guide book "75 Classic Rides: Colorado." When not writing or riding, the native Coloradoan can be found enjoying time with his wife Lisa and daughter Cora.


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