REYNOLDS AERO 65 DB – STIFF, FAST GLIDERS

If you are looking at aero wheels like the Reynolds Blacklabel Aero 65 DB, you should be all about going fast. You likely race and may even live to do so. But you certainly have speed as your top priority and there’s nothing else in your top 5.

You’re probably doing the whole aero thing – an aero bike, aero position, aero road helmet, racing kit, shaved legs, etc., etc. You don’t much care about things that don’t matter when it’s all about going fast for you. Things like comfort, climbing, even the occasional crosswind are distractions at best.

If that doesn’t describe what you are looking for, you’re in the wrong aisle (or wrong review).

If it does, come a little closer and let me tell you about this Blacklabel Aero 65 DB wheelset from Reynolds.

Reynolds Aero 65 DB

Bottom line, this is a stiff, fast wheelset. My fellow tester Miles, a P/1/2 crit and road racer who finishes top 10 in his age group at the US Masters Nationals reported that “once in a full sprint, these wheels just simply fly.”

Riding the Aero 65 DB wheelset enabled him to snap a bunch of sprint-oriented Strava KOMs and make his Giant Propel Advanced SL Disc go about as fast as he thinks it can.

Speed comes from a stiff wheelset that responds when you tell it to go with rims that cut through the air on smooth-rolling hubs. That’s the make-up of this wheelset.

The Blacklabel Aero 65 DB uses i9 hubs. They’re louder than most but engage quickly and roll easily. The rims have a V-shaped profile with internal spoke nipples that trades-off crosswind performance and easy spoke tensioning adjustment for straight-ahead lift.

Remember, it’s about the speed with this wheelset. If loud hubs and the need to keep both hands on the bars in the crosswinds isn’t for you, neither are these wheels. They also aren’t the most comfortable wheels at the 75-80psi that Miles rode them at or the 60psi that I did on Continental Grand Prix 5000 TL tires that mounted easily but took a few iterations to seal and hold air.

For these Reynolds wheels, it’s not just about going fast in a sprint or straight line. Both Miles and I experienced the momentum the Aero 65 DB gave us to quickly punch the kind of 100 meter climbs up to about 10% you’ll often find on circuit races. We were also impressed with how well their aerodynamics assisted on extended climbs up to a 5% grade.

Oh, and they corner very well at speed too. While crits and road races are only a dream in the age of Coronavirus when we tested these wheels, Miles reported he “was able to confidently whip through some corners at around 30mph” in his non-race testing.

I don’t often ride that fast even on a straight but, when I do, I felt the sensation of gliding along at such pace and with such ease that I could block out the stresses of life around me.

Reynolds Blacklabel Aero 65 DB

If you’re all about going fast and doing crits and rolling road races and time trials – and everything else be damned – you should consider the Reynolds Blacklabel Aero 65 DB. At USD$2100, it is also competitively priced among others in the aero wheelset category.

You can get it through this link to Competitive Cyclist, one of my top-ranked stores, and at others I recommend for their low prices and high customer satisfaction ratings by clicking on this pre-sorted link to Knows Shop.

In The Know Cycling supports you by doing hours of independent and comparative evaluations to find and recommend the best road cycling gear and kit to improve your riding experience.

You can support the site and save yourself time and money when you buy through the links in the posts and at Know’s Shop to stores I rank among the best for their low prices and high customer satisfaction, some which pay a commission that helps cover our review and site costs.

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You can read my evaluation of other wheelsets in this category in the post The Best Aero Bike Wheels. 

First published on May 5, 2020. Date of the most recent major update shown at the top of the post.

13 comments

  • If nothing else, they make your Altum look totally Bada** !

  • Anthony Lazzaro

    Nice review. Did you experience any crosswind issue (more than expected at that depth)? How do they compare to the Enve 5.6 or the Bontrager Aeolus 6? Any possibility of you reviewing the Enve Foundation 65? They definitely do look cool!

    • Anthony, Thanks. Yes, they are below par for crosswinds compared to the ENVE 5.6 and Aeolus XXX 6 whose crosswind performance I wrote about and compared with other aero rim brake wheelsets in my review https://intheknowcycling.com/aero-bike-wheels/. I’m working to get a hold of the Foundation 65 wheelset and have several other aero road disc wheelsets lined up to review later this spring and summer. Appreciate your patience. Steve

  • Great review! I have come to regard your non biased information and reviews at the top of the cycling knowledge food chain. Thanks for all your hard work ferreting out the truth and getting it to us in a way we can use.

    Not to pile on but there is a lot of interest in the new ENVE Foundation 45 and 65 wheels and now the Zipp 303S. Any chances you will be able to give us your thoughts on those? My personal inclination would be towards the ENVE (still made in the USA which is ever more important) and the 45s for general/non time trial non race use. Since the ENVE SES 4.5 AR DISC are your favorites for carbon disc wheels, what are the chances that the Foundation 45 capture enough of that goodness at a more accessible pricepoint?

    Thanks again, keep riding and keep up the good work!

    • Derek, Thanks for your kind feedback. Much appreciated. I’m working on getting in all of those wheelsets for testing. Can’t tell you when I’ll have reviews out but know that they and others like them are on my list of priorities. Steve

  • How would compare Reynold Attack rims (2017) in weight and climbing ability and price to what is out there today?

    • Terry, I never tested the Attack wheelset as Tour Magazine rated its break track as unsafe. As to specs and pricing, see the table in this review of lightweight climbing wheels.

  • Michael Lindsay

    Hello and thanks for all of your dedication to this content! I truly enjoy reading your articles. I wanted to ask what your thoughts are comparing these Aero65 wheels to the Reynolds AR 58/63 wheelset. The AR series has the more “blunt” shape that is so common on modern wheels, while the AERO series still uses the older pointed profile which I assume would be the same as the “NACA” profile that Hambini talks about, so I was wondering if there is any significant difference there. For background/perspective, I ride a 2019 Trek Madone SLR, and use it for every-day riding, and a couple of short-course triathlons per year.

    • Michael, Reynolds has long had these two aero shapes rims in their wheel lines. The Aero line is more race-oriented and uses the V-shape rim to give you more lift at the expense of getting pushed around more by crosswinds as compared to the blunt or more U-shaped rim in their mid-priced AR lines. I’ve only tested the shallower AR41 wheels and found their crosswind performance inferior to other wheels with U-shaped profiles. The other major difference beyond the obvious front wheelset depth (58 vs. 65) and a minor 70 gram claimed weight penalty for the AR 58/63 is the superior (though noisier) Industry Nine hub on the Aero 65. If you are riding an aero bike like the Madone, I’d think the Aero 65 DB would be more in keeping with maximizing the aero performance you get from that frame than the AR 58/63. Steve

      • Michael Lindsay

        Thanks for that! One follow-up question… when discussing “comfort” I know that is subjective and it’s mentioned as a potential penalty with the Reynolds Aero 65. With the Madone of course you have the ISO-Speed setting to help offset some of the road buzz that Aero bikes are infamous for, and so when I ride long distances from 80-100 miles, if I am using a 28mm tubeless tire with relatively low pressure, should I expect to see a significant comfort penalty vs the stock Bontrager Aeolus Comp 5’s which are aluminum with carbon fairings? I’m kinda thinking I probably wouldn’t notice much, if any difference in that area…

        • Michael, a few things. First, you’ll suffer an aero penalty putting 28C tires on most aero wheels. Second, your Bontrager Aeolus Comp 5 wheels are carbon through and through. Third, the iso speed decoupled can help you here though I wouldn’t depend on it. Fourth, if you aren’t riding tubeless, you are limiting your ability to get max comfort (and better rolling resistance) from whatever wheels you are using. Fifth, if you prefer to use tubed tires, lowering your pressure can improve your comfort and not hurt your performance unless you lower it so much that the handling starts to get mushy. And lastly, unless your heart is set on the Reynolds Aero 65DB or another set of wheels, you may want to hold off a month until we finish our comparative review of aero road disc wheels that I previewed in my post here. Steve

          • Michael Lindsay

            Thanks again. Actually the Aeolus Comp 5’s ARE aluminum with carbon fairing. I know because they’re on the bike now and I promise they are aluminum. Some might be fooled by the appearance however because on older versions of that weel the aluminum rim was left as the original color so you could see the transition from the metal brake track to the carbon fairing. The newer ones now have a black aluminum wheel so from a distance it does look like full carbon, however, it is not. It’s just a cosmetic paint job meant to make it look like all carbon. Now, the Aeolus PRO 5, which is the next step up from those, IS full carbon. That might be the ones you are thinking of…

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