Blackjack Sniper DH mountain bike wheelset review

Fine looking downhill hoops

BikeRadar score1.5/5

Blackjack’s downhill wheels look the part but they disappoint on the trail. The wide rims are great for adding girth and stability to tyres and the soft alloy means reduced pinch punctures on rock edges. Unfortunately that same softness means initial spoke creak from the thin straight pull spokes soon develops into loss of tension and rim warping.

They’ve refused to true up consistently too so the wobbles have become permanent and deep denting is a potential problem. While the white slotted flange hubs look smart, the green grease over the cartridge bearings attracts filth rather than protecting them. The 20mm front and 10mm rear axle are fixed not interchangeable either.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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