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Stiffness and strength for the long haul.
We're not going to encourage you to smash, bash, and thrash the Santa Cruz Reserve 27 29in DT 350 Boost Wheelset on massive urban drops and long stairs like MacAskill (without tires, no less), but we won't necessarily criticize your line choices on the trail when you're rolling on these burly carbon hoops. Santa Cruz designed the Reserve Wheels to be the strongest carbon wheels on the market through extensive research of critical failure points, going so far as to redesign the impact testing protocol used on traditional carbon rims.
Instead of replicating the pothole-like impact test employed on traditional carbon wheels, Santa Cruz developed its very own testing protocol, which simulates one-sided impacts that normally occur when a rider lands on a square, protruding rock after getting airborne off a roller or launching from an abrupt drop. As SC began testing leading manufacturer's carbon rims, it became readily apparent that most carbon rims not only broke along the expected bead, but they also failed along the spoke nipple interface, due to the drastic increase in spoke tension as the wheel flexed upon impact.
To mitigate these issues, Santa Cruz beefed up the rim bead, increasing its thickness by 1mm along each side for improved resiliency when you're thrashing the hell out of these wheels on the trail. The design engineers at Santa Cruz then fortified the spoke holes with square-shaped reinforcements you can visibly see, which protect the spoke nipples from pulling through due to harsh impact. Although Santa Cruz isn't the first company to reinforce a carbon rim's high-stress areas, they're one of the first to offer a lifetime warranty—so long as you actually break them while riding on the trail.
It's worth noting this particular Reserve Carbon 27 Wheelset is laced to DT Swiss 350 Hubs for outstanding reliability and relatively quick engagement with its 36t star ratchet system. The rim's 27mm internal width provides optimal support for your average trail tires, ranging from 2 to the new all-mountain standard of 2.5in. J-bend spokes and mechanical lock nipples make for relatively easy replacement, should you break something while riding in a distant locale. The wheels are available in Boost spacing only, which serves to make them even stiffer for precise tracking and handling.
- Designed to be the strongest carbon trail wheels on the market
- Meticulous carbon lay-up optimizes strength and stiffness
- Reinforced spoke holes prevent pulling through upon impact
- Thicker beads provide reinforcement from heavy blows
- 27mm rim width optimally supports 2.0 to 2.5-inch tires
- DT Swiss 350 Boost hubs for reliability and smooth engagement
- J-bend spokes, mechanical lock nipples for easy replacement
- Santa Cruz backs the rims with impressive lifetime warranty
- Item #SNZ00FX
- Q & A
SC is changing the game
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Carbon wheels used to be expensive. You could get them cheap, but had to build them up yourself with direct from china rims that often were sub par build quality and once they cracked, you were SOL unless you bought a new rim. Not anymore. Santa Cruz has reduced the price of reputable name brand carbon wheels by an astonishing amount, while not letting quality suffer.
Lets not split hairs here, these rims are still made in Asia, but they are made in a facility where quality is highly monitored and controlled. The rim is a ground up design by carbon engineers at Santa Cruz, and they found a facility overseas where the manufacturing is up to SC's quite rigorous standards. The result of this is a wheelset that can perform at the same level as wheelsets that cost twice as much, while retaining a lifetime warranty policy, even if they break while riding.
They ride extremely well, as you would expect. You definitely get a bit more trail feedback than from a comparable alloy wheelset, but the tracking and steering precision are noticeable. Lateral rigidity is great, I never noticed them moving around on me when changing lines mid corner. DT 350 hubs are the bomber option, and SC includes the 36 tooth ratchet with these, so while engagement isn't stellar, it is a drive system that very rarely, if ever, breaks.
In short, you should buy these wheels. Your bike will be better, you will be faster, and you'll have the confidence of the lifetime warranty to back up blind hucks into rock gardens.
Stiffness and Efficiency
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Wheels are often regarded as the best upgrade you can make to your bike, and Santa Cruz's Reserve wheels fit that bill as well as anything on the market.
I put these on my Hightower LT, after coming from the ethirteen Trs + that is stocked on that bike.
I immediately noticed how efficient they feel. While they are basically the same weight, give or take a few grams as the wheels I took off my bike, it felt more efficient.
Whatever effort you put into the bike, whether that's an out of the saddle effort, or really pushing into a corner you can tell it more quickly and accurately translates to what you want the bike to do.
I've been known to blow up other wheels in the past, and the durability of carbon is the biggest allure to these wheels for me. I feel piece of mind when I round a highspeed corner and see a pointy rock, knowing that it won't leave a ding like an aluminum wheel.
Lastly the lifetime warranty on these is indispensable for aggressive riders! You can rest assured that Santa Cruz will take care of you, no matter what you do to your wheels.