Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels Now Available

Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels Now Available

Reserve Wheels Hero

The much anticipated carbon wheelset from California has finally arrived and more than lives up to the hype. 3 Years in the making and built from the ground up specifically for mountain biking, no detail has been left unattended to in the search for the ultimate in strength, compliance and performance on the trails.

Setting strength and impact resistance as their highest priority hasn’t led to an uncomfortably stiff ride, this wheelset is compliant enough to remove the ‘wooden’ feeling that some carbon rims suffer from, yet so strong it sailed through UCI testing standards so easily Santa Cruz had to develop their own tests where the Reserves beat all competition.

Thanks to relentless prototyping and testing everything from the thickness and shape of the rim beads to spoke hole reinforcements has been perfected to maximise strength, so much so that spokes will fail before the rim does. Thanks to a sensible build that doesn’t require a whole new set of tools, a broken spoke won’t slow you down for long though.

Backed by a no-nonsense lifetime warranty. Santa Cruz are so confident they have perfected the wheel that if they fail while you are riding they are replaced, simple as that. That kind of promise shows real confidence in a product. Santa Cruz haven't just assumed their wheels will be fine, they have been tested by their EWS crew for the 2017 season, the 50to01 boys have been hucking them around for a year and when Danny MacAskill's set survived his 'Wee Day Out' edit they gave him a set just to see how far he could push them before they would break. Watch him in action below;






One thing Santa Cruz knew for certain going into this project three years ago was that the industry standard impact test for carbon wheels wasn't going to cut it. That test, approved by the UCI, impacts both sides of a rim equally with a flat rubber pad without a tire mounted on the wheel. It's designed to replicate a pothole-type impact on the road.

On a mountain bike, a rock is much more likely to only hit one side of the rim, so the rim beads have to be independently strong. They created a test in our lab that simulates one side of the rim landing directly on a square-edged rock from over 3 feet in the air with no suspension, and a lightweight tire inflated to 25psi.

"As we began to put some of the other rims on the market through this test, we broke a lot of them more or less like we expected to—on the bead—but we also found that a critical failure mode was the spoke nipples pulling through the rim due to the sudden increase in spoke tension as the wheel flexed on impact"
Santa Cruz

That just wasn't good enough so Santa cruz designed and built a machine to test for this weak point in wheel design and, long story short, a spoke will fail before the rim does. We've seen this test in action and the strength of these rims is astonishing.


A carbon rim’s profile and the wheel’s build spec determine how the wheels ride. Santa Cruz built Reserve prototypes in dozens of combinations to come up with a configuration that they think strikes the perfect balance of strength and stiffness, we've had a go and we agree. Santa Cruz have looked at the competition and tested them to destruction to set a benchmark for how their wheels should perform. Every aspect of the manufacturing process has been considered for maximum performance. The images above show how this attention to detail pays off, a special wax mould used during the molding keeps the inside of the rim uniform.



  • Asymmetrical rims build up into stronger, more reliable wheels by improving the bracing angles and equalizing spoke tension side-to-side
  • Carbon layup is optimized to resist torsional forces
  • All wheels are hand built with 28 spokes, 3-cross for strength and comfort


Real World Testing

Without much fanfare, the Santa Cruz x SRAM EWS team has been riding the Reserve wheels for the whole of the 2017 season, with no failures. Josh Bryceland, Josh 'Loosedog' Lewis and the 50to01 boys have been putting the wheels though their paces for 2017 too and haven't managed to break one either. It took Danny MacAskill to eventually test one to the point of failure, removing the tyre and smashing up and down a concrete staircase in Scotland. Have a look below.


The Rims

27 rim info


Whether your hitting freeride lines in Utah or climbing steep single track there's the Reserve Wheels have you covered.

The 25mm rim is designed for XC and trail riding, is superlight and available only in 29".

The 27mm rim is designed for All Mountain and Enduro, the ideal compromise between strength and weight, available in 27.5" and 29".

The 30mm rim is designed for big hits and gnarly descents, also available in 27.5" and 29".

The Hubs

i9 Hubs

Featuring all of the advantages of the Torch hub mechanism-low drag, low weight, and the ultimate in axle compatibility- tied into a traditional, "Classic" hub. Torch Classic hubs are the solution for any rider seeking an approachable flanged hub to build into a no-compromise, high-performance wheelset. Standard and Boost specific hubshells available


Whoever is looking for the most affordable high performance hubs available, should take a very close look at the 350 hub line-up. The same performance as its even higher end cousins comes with slightly less weight optimized parts to offer the same reliability at a much lower cost. Being available in all standards and for any application, the 350 hub is for those who maybe like to ride the trails a little more than drooling over catalogs and specs


Early Reviews

"After just one day of riding on the new Reserve wheels, we can comfortably say: Santa Cruz didn’t promise too much in terms of handling!"
"Despite our best efforts to keep up with Cedric Gracia and Anka Martin, not a single person at the media camp managed to break a rim. After three days of riding, the wheels emerged unscathed"
And we love them!