First Ride: Reserve 50 Road Wheels

When Cervelo aero meets Santa Cruz durability.

Reserve Wheels was founded in 2014 by engineers from Santa Cruz Bicycles and hit the market in 2017. The motivation was simple; “we knew we could make the most durable strength-to-weight composite wheels on the market, and were prepared to back that claim up with a lifetime guarantee. So we did.”

Now the brand has partnered with their sister company Cervelo to incorporate aero options for road and gravel riding. The Reserve brand will now have a new online home www.reservewheels.com where you can find the full line of new road/gravel offerings as well as the mountain options.

For now, the new hoops will be offered as stock wheels on 2021 Cervelo bikes and will be available for the aftermarket later in 2020.  Thankfully, Reserve got us a set of their new 50 wheels to try before they hit the market.

A bit of quick entertainment so you can see that durability has been one of the main driving factors for the, ’till now, dirt oriented wheels.

RESERVE 50 FIRST RIDE

Reserve will offer each of the new wheels in three build options all using DT Swiss hubs. For our set, we got the most affordable DT Swiss 350 hub version that will set you back $1800. There are 24 spokes front and rear laced to the 53mm deep carbon rims. The hooked bead measures 21mm internal and the rim profile measures 28mm external. This hooked bead internal profile has 0.4mm bead shelf that helps lock in tubeless tires but also accommodates traditional tube-type tires. Our wheels hit the scale with tubeless tape and valves installed at 764 grams on the front and 909 grams in the rear for a system weight of 1673 grams.

 

First and foremost, road tubeless setup was very easy. Both sets of tubeless road tires we tested went on by hand. When inflating for the first time in both cases we had to inflate the tires over 80psi to get the bead to seat over the raised bead shelf, pretty much locking them into place. We did deflate them all the way down and check bead retention and they remain in place, so refreshing sealant through the valve should be hassle-free.

On the road the wheels are stiff but it’s not an overwhelming and jarring experience. Thanks to the tubeless nature and the wide internal profile, our size 28mm tires measured out to 30mm. This allowed us to run pressures as low as 60 psi but normally around 65-67psi. This is the recommended range when using the SRAM online tire pressure guide. We don’t always follow it exactly but it offers a great starting point as well as a consistent baseline while testing different tires and wheels.

Thanks to the hook bead, those less inclined to experiment with lower pressures can still inflate well over 80psi with a tube installed. For us, the stiff wheel matched with the 30mm tire and 65-67 psi offered a great balance of performance, traction, confidence and speed on the straights, but most noticeable on the twisty descents. At 1673 grams the wheels are not on the competitive list for weight weenies but they do claim to be built for a beating.

This is hard to test in the limited time we have had the wheels but trust us, we haven’t missed an opportunity to plow through a pothole or jump them off any available driveway gap. Long story short, they seem to be holding up even riding them in the most neglectful manner possible (still with a tire, see video above).

The DT Swiss 350 hubs are straight pull and use a center lock rotor, they also use the ratchet system that previously was only available on 240 and 180 hubs. This makes it hard to validate the higher end options since their claimed weight on the 240 build is only 35 grams lighter than ours.

The 50 seems to be a great balance of depth and performance, but that has been proven for years now by many brands. The new hoops are aero optimized by Cervelo for 25mm tires. We quickly mounted a handful of 25mm tires and all of them measured wider, tube and tubeless. Overall the real winner in all of this will be the riders because the warranty seems to be very good and if the claims on durability are true these will last well past being considered obsolete.

The prices are on par and if DT Swiss is not your top choice they will be selling rims too, but that will be the last phase of the launch. Look for the first sightings on new Cervelo bikes that should be rolling out anytime.

WHAT’S NEW?

Reserve 65

The Reserve 65 makes no apologies. A weapon made to cheat wind and a tool for when you’re at the absolute limit. When every second feels like a day, Reserve 65 excels when the suffering is at an all-time high. Designed with Reserve 50 upfront to cut right through any potential crosswind in its path.
● Pair it with a Reserve 50 on the front and reap the benefits of some serious aero gains for whatever you throw at it.
● Most aero when used with 25c tires & most comfortable when 28c tires mounted tubeless.
● Made with strength and aerodynamics in mind. Backed with a promise of lifetime service to the original owner.
Depth: 65mm
Width: 21mm
Weight: 520g (rim); 1673g (50/65 DT 240 set) (claimed)
Spokes: 24
Price: $2,400 (240 hubs) $2,800 (180 hubs) $1,800 (350 hubs)

Reserve 50

On the rivet. Flat out. Full gas. Pinned. Reserve 50 is designed for you to give it your all. Born to be raced but bred to perform on the start line or your weekend century, the 50mm-deep aerodynamic profile is the perfect mix of speed and stability for all kinds of pavement-based racing—crits, road and triathlon.
● As fast as you are. Perfect for going the distance with strength and aerodynamics as the goal.
● Reserve 50 saves you watts when the numbers are pinned on and every effort counts.
● Tubeless-ready and preferred. All Reserve road rims are tubeless-ready—all you need is sealant.
Depth: 50mm
Width: 21mm
Weight: 490g (rim); 1638g (DT 240 set)(claimed)
Spokes: 24
Price: $2,400 (240 hubs) $2,800 (180 hubs) $1,800 (350 hubs)

Reserve 35

At the intersection of aerodynamic bonuses and predictable handling in wind, you’ll find the Reserve 35 posted up and ready to ride. Whether it serves as your week in, week out wheelset, or your closest training partner, one thing for sure–you’ll be left wanting for nothing.
● Reserve 35 is the ultimate climbing wheel. Light, snappy, dependable.
● Our carbon road wheels are made with strength and aerodynamics in mind and we back them with a promise of lifetime support to the original owner.
● Tubeless-ready and preferred. All Reserve road rims are tubeless-ready—all you need is sealant.
Depth: 35mm
Width: 21mm
Weight: 395g (rim); 1449g (DT 240 set)(claimed)
Spokes: 24
Price: $2,400 (240 hubs) $2,800 (180 hubs) $1,800 (350 hubs)

Reserve 32

Most gravel products are aimed squarely at the rider looking for a pleasant day out in the country—and there’s nothing wrong with that. But for those of us looking to toe the start line in the morning, stay with the group at the front, and contest the win, the Reserve 32 is the weapon of choice.
● Gravel race. Purpose-built for speed in the rough thanks to the tall profile.
● For those who want to push the limits of what a gravel bike can do, one gnarly descent at a time.
● Tubeless-ready so you can float over the rough stuff.
● 24mm inner rim width and designed to pair perfectly with 32c tires.
Depth: 32mm
Width: 24mm
Weight: 410g (rim); 1515g (DT 240 set)(claimed)
Spokes: 24
Price: $2,400 (240 hubs) $2,800 (180 hubs) $1,800 (350 hubs)

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