All I Know

Reynolds Solitude Wheelset: Don’t

If you Google Reynolds Solitude Wheelset Review or thereabouts, you will find a bunch of reviews at [1].  They vacillate between “GREAT!!” and “SUCKS!!” with very little if any middle ground.

How can this be?   You might conclude, as one reviewer did, that everyone who had a bad experience with the wheels is too heavy for them, overlooking the fact that the manufacturer does not express a weight limit for the product.

My experience is that I have, on separate occasions, broken about four nipples on the rear wheel, drive-side (DS) and NDS; replaced all the nipples with real brass, then the spokes started breaking. I abandoned the wheel for a different one I had in my stable.  I resigned myself to the idea that the wheels are just lightweight because they aren’t strong, and Reynolds doesn’t have guts to say so.

My brand new Vittoria Diamante Pro powdered onto my fork.

My brand new Vittoria Diamante Pro powdered onto my fork.

Until today, when I broke a nipple on the front wheel while doing nothing more strenuous than rolling down a paved road.  Every cyclist that’s ever changed more than one tire knows that there is much more stress on  the rear wheel, even without factoring in the drive pressure.  I was 16 miles away from home with a front tire so far out of true that it was rubbing the fork once a revolution.  Having nursed the thing home, I found a lot of my brand-spanking-new Vittoria Diamante Pro tire in powder form, stuck to the fork.  GRrrrr.

My conclusion is that the wheels are just junk.  At best, the manufacturing process has produced variable results, and the customer support war stories are troubling (I did not bother taking my case to Reynolds).  I weigh 212 pounds and have used the wheels about 3000 miles in a year, and they have been nothing but trouble.  I have never had nipple and spoke issues prior to this wheelset.  I don’t think there’s much engineering in a product that was made lighter by sacrificing strength.  As for the folks that are satisfied customers, all I can say is maybe we don’t have the same product beneath the label or are not generating much stress on the product.  I really don’t think there is any excuse ever for a nipple to break.
[1] you can find some at as well.  These are so uniformly glowing that, especially in light of the Road Bike Review reviews, I suspect they are groomed.

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