Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major
FIRST IMPRESSIONS

RESERVE's New 30 HD Aluminum Wheels

Photos Andrew Major
Reading time

Remarkably Unremarkable

No battery-powered tire pressure sensors or sealant moisture readers are linked to a digital handlebar display. No real-time traction measurement system or voice-activated pressure adjustment apparatus. No built-in power meter, or air compressor. There isn't an automatically decoupling freehub mechanism or a GPS-linked wheel-speed-reporting shift-point suggestion system. Heck, the nice folks at Santa Cruz's wheel brand, Reserve, didn't even come up with a way to route my brake lines through the hub shell bearings.

No matter how nifty the hoops, there's something beautifully boring about aluminum rims laced to DT Swiss 350 Star-Ratchet hubs using 32 j-bend Sapim spokes and nipples. Said DT 350 rear hub even comes equipped with the middle ground 36-tooth (10° engagement) ratchets which provide double the engagement points of the basic 18-tooth (20°) setup without the always-carry-spare-ratchets reliability of their more ambitious 54-tooth (6.66°) ratchet setup.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (3)

I enjoy little details. Like how the sticker opposite the valve hole is optimized for Maxxis tires.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (4)

I'm not saying that Reserve wheels are Maxxis-specific or anything, but it all lines up very nicely, n'est-ce-pas?

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (2)

My 3C logo is oriented ever so slightly forward from perfect, but I can live with it if you can.

To make things even more boring, I requested my test pair with my preferred HG freehub driver rather than the XD or MicroSpline drivers that are now most common on performance mountain bikes. Support for this legacy standard is a nice feature of using a DT hub set. It's compatible with the drivetrain on my non rigid bike, makes for easy single-speeding, and fits the drivetrains I'm currently most keen to review.

HG is not what arrived, and time was already tighter than DT's tolerances to get this first impressions piece live, so I'd like to shout out my friend the Squidulous Toucan for coming up with an on-the-spot swap. I need to remember to send him a nice Valentine's Day card.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (5)

DT Swiss 350 hubs aren't flashy, but they're widely recognized as reliable workhorses that will last forever with minimal service needs.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (6)

These hubs use the classic, quiet, star-ratchet configuration. The drive system is very easy to clean and lube, no tools are required.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (7)

Reserve chose to spec DT Swiss' 36t ratchets instead of the less-reliable but faster uptake of the 54t version. This means the hub engages within 10° of rotation.

Rotating Profile

The story behind Reserve's 6069 aluminum rim release is a tale of custom extrusions and spoke tension equalizing asymmetry. Like the choice of hubset, the wheels are meant to be hassle-free and they come with an impressive warranty. Impressive both because it's the sort of after sale support I'm generally only used to seeing with carbon wheels and also because Reserve goes to an effort to lay out what a lifetime warranty means in this case:

General Policy

  • Lifetime warranty for the original owner
  • Crash replacement rim or wheel cost at 50% of the retail cost
  • Ship out complete wheels as the first option; rims and service credit as the second option

Detail on Issues

  • Dented rim, no paint chipping, holding air: crash replacement
  • Dented rim, paint chipping, holding or not holding air: warranty
  • Dented rim, not holding air: warranty
  • Seam separation: warranty
  • Crack at spoke hole: warranty
Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (8)

Reserve wheels ship with their unique poppet Fillmore valves. Check out Cam's detailed explanation for more details.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (10)

They also come pre-taped - just add a tire and sealant. Both front and rear aired up ASAP with a standard floor pump.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (9)

The Fillmore valves do not play nicely with inserts that block the poppet from opening, so for the time being I'm not using them.

I will not be able to speak to these rims' dent-resistance abilities in this brief first look or at this time of year generally because I'm running CushCore inserts. When the trails are damp, dank, and daubed with grease I'm fully sold on the weight penalty I pay to have suppler tire and trail surface interface. Between the way my tire pressure ramps up thanks to the big grey volume spacer and how the system bottoms out on the insert instead of the rim, I've yet to manage to dent a rim through my insert setup.

When the hero dirt returns, I'll pull the inserts, put in air pressure over the 19-ish psi I'm currently sitting at with a 2.5" Assegai front and 2.5" SE6 rear, and see if I can ring them off some rocks in the name of science.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (13)

Three cheers for the j-bend spoke spec. Along with the renewed prevalence of BSA threaded bottom brackets, it's nice to see classic standards standing steadfastly in the face of ongoing bike industry adventurism.

SKU Maths

It's interesting that Reserve has brought out two versions of their aluminum wheelset, both featuring DT Swiss 350 hubs and Sapim bladed spokes. These HD wheels have a classic 32-spoke configuration and the SL version has the increasingly common 28-spoke configuration. Both feature the same 6069 aluminum material and 30mm internal width but the HD has more material. I would think folks who really care about a few grams here or there are going to probably buck up for carbon rims.

At the same time, the SL carries the same warranty as the HD for the same trail, all mountain, and Enduro use cases, so either way I'm not certain why they've bothered doubling up on SKUs when they could have settled on one or the other, or maybe a unicorn 32-spoke version of the SL.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (11)

The Reserve Aluminum wheels are unremarkable when riding downhill - which is fantastic.

How much weight does the SL wheelset save over the HD setup I'm running? According to Reserve, I'm looking at 1920 grams for this 32h HD pair compared to 1840 grams for the 28h SL version. That's a difference of 80 grams. But, also according to Reserve, the difference in rim weight between an SL rim and HD rim is 80 grams per rim.

The 30 SL|AL rims are claimed to be 460 grams for a 27" and 500 grams for a 29" hoop. The 30 HD|AL rims are 540 grams for a 27" and 580 grams for a 29" rim. So, I'd expect there to be a difference of 160 grams in rim weight plus 8 spokes and nipples between the SL and HD wheels in their respective sizes.

Something doesn't add up. As part of doing a wheel review, I'll get an actual weight for this specific wheelset with an HD driver. Reserve sells some of their hoops as rim only, so if that does end up being the case with the aluminum models, and you do care about a few grams, be sure to confirm before ordering.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (12)

For technical climbs, I'd prefer a rear hub with <5° of rotation between engagements, especially on my hardtail.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (15)

It's not the end of the world on my sag-wagon though, I just have to focus on a consistent spin or push a slightly harder gear.

First Impressions

I'm used to running much faster to engage rear hubs, with the most sluggish setup I've ridden in months hitting at 5° between power points. Worse yet, on my full suspension bike, I've been running an Industry Nine Hydra with close-to-instant engagement (0.52°). Switching to DT's 10° setup, there was a transition. I'd still much rather have a faster-engaging hub for any technical climbs, but aside from the odd time that the extra pedal floatation catches me off-guard in a power move, I've adapted well to the bit of lag on my sag wagon.

I much prefer the quiet confidence of the classic star-ratchet configuration on these 350 hubs over the guttural roar of the new Ratchet EXP drive system that comes on DT's higher-end 240 hubs for the same level of engagement.

Reserve 30 HD Aluminum Wheels NSMB Andrew Major (14)

A quality wheel build featuring asymmetric 30mm internal width aluminum rims with a lifetime warranty, laced to DT Swiss 350 36t ratchet hubs with 32 j-bend spokes. Very nice.

Aside from the hubs, there's not a heck of a lot to say at this point. Thank you to Reserve for going with j-bend spokes instead of direct pull. I know every mechanic trying to lace up a mid-June warranty wheel build, for what's hopefully a reasonable service credit, appreciates the difference, as do most riders trying to source a broken spoke or two. After all, there's nothing in the warranty about derailleurs, sticks, or other day wreckers getting between the spokes.

The wheels are clearly very well built and tensioned and were arrow straight out of the box. They aired up tubeless using a floor pump without complaint, and aside from getting used to the increased lag in engagement, they've been remarkably unremarkable on the trail.

The SL and HD versions both sell for 700 USD for a complete set of wheels, and there's more information available at Reserve Wheels.

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Comments

niels@nsmb.com
+6 Mammal Andrew Major bushtrucker Nologo Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

Seems like a decent option, price is not unreasonable either.

I'm a big fan of the classic DT ratchet. 36T is more than enough for me.

Looking forward to the long term review although I suspect these will just work boringly fine without anything spectacular to report ;-)

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AndrewMajor
+4 PowellRiviera Niels van Kampenhout Pete Roggeman bishopsmike

I suspect the long term review will be even more boring than this one. Which is nice, actually.

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Vikb
+4 Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout Velocipedestrian goose8

Nice to see a wheelset with metal rims/J-bend spokes and no motors/batteries/bluetooth/airtags! The marketing department must have been sweating bullets when they saw that spec. "How are we supposed to sell these museum pieces?!?!" ;-)

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AndrewMajor
+1 Velocipedestrian

Right!? I appreciate it greatly as when every new bike component comes with some battery powered feature NSMB is going to have to put me out to pasture. 

Only so many rants about the RIY bicycle being the pinnacular nexus of human art, design, and manufacturing that one site can post.

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TristanC
+3 Blofeld Andrew Major Niels van Kampenhout

Huh, these are... pretty much exactly what I just had built. DT350s, WTB KOM Tough i35s, DT Competition spokes. Looks like an unremarkable but pretty solid mid-tier wheelset. I could get behind this if I was in the market for another set of wheels.

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AndrewMajor
+1 TristanC

Total work horse wheels. I’ve had good experiences with the KOM Tough. That’s another aluminum rim (Stan’s Flow, EX 511, Spank, etc) that I can see adopting a warranty/guarantee after SCB’s release here.

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TristanC
0

I managed to dent a KOM Tough pretty good (through a Cush Core Plus, I was an idiot and ran 10psi through a downhill rock garden made of concrete chunks on a hardtail...) and it still holds air and doesn't have any cracked paint. I'm impressed with their ability to take a beating.

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Flatted-again
+2 Andrew Major Velocipedestrian

I wonder how long lifetime actually means. Usually it’s the expected life of the product or how long the manufacturer continues to make it, so that’s what, 5/10 years maybe? Still a great deal.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Generalist Grant Velocipedestrian Timer

Yeah, this was submitted on a tight deadline and I have a few follow up questions that will appear in the final review.

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stinhambo
+2 Andrew Major Kyle Dixon

Their weights seem to be all over the place, they claim 2,000g on their website!

I think I'll stick with my Nukeproof Horizon v2 wheels though. Slightly heavier but absolutely bulletproof, immensely strong, and 102 POE :) Great rim tape too!

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AndrewMajor
0

Totally. I was on a tight deadline from when the wheels actually arrived to get them on a bike and to get a few rides in before submitting something and I figured that riding was more important than how many grams more/less they are than another aluminum rim with 32 spokes and a DT-350 hub. I will absolutely weigh them for my review. 

What hubs are on your Nukeproof wheels? Spank Hex Drive with 3.5°/102pt engagement? It's a min-max favourite of mine.

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stinhambo
0

I'm pretty sure those are the exact hubs - I love them. Of course I'd love a lighter wheelset but I'm not sure I'd notice a 150g difference.

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AndrewMajor
0

They're great hubs for money. I've worked on plenty of them.

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UFO
0

I've just started using this Spank Hex drive hub, aside from the annoyingly loud buzz, it's performed the same as my P321 on trail

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KDix85
0

Another Vote for the Horizon v2's here.  Have them on Both my Camber and Tyee and under my Clydesdale self they take a fierce beating boppin' around on the North Ontario rock strewn Canadian Shield, and yet they keep on rollin' true.

They're my Min-Max pick that I recommend to all my riding buddies when they're searching for a new wheelset.

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mikesee
+1 lewis collins Blofeld jdamtb918 Cr4w hardtailhersh

I've been riding DT hubs since forever.  Now that they ship with 36t ratchets, I typically downgrade myself to 18t before I even lace 'em.  Silence is golden and engagement speed is irrelevant.

While most rim/tape combos these days do air up easily with a floor pump, how they fare a year+ down the road is of greater concern to me.  What I mean is, sometimes the tape end stops sticking, and sealant slowly works it's way under, such that a ways down the road from that new-wheel-smell, you stand some non-zero chance of the tape letting go and needing to stick in a tube to get home.

To avoid that scenario, I encourage all of my customers to stick a tube in for the first ride to get that tape stuck down well and any bubbles pushed out.

Look at it this way: You're sticking a tube in either way.  Doing it first means doing it in the shop, with a floor pump or compressor, and a sink right there to wash up with afterward.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Generalist Grant Mammal hardtailhersh

engagement speed is irrelevant...

This is so highly person and terrain dependent I’ll assume there’s a “for me” attached to the end. When you’re helping your customers choose hubs terrain and the amount of trials like moves they need to do is part of the equation? 

When I’m trying to ratchet up a steep switchback corner, climb a janky technical section, or stay on an awkward skinny the 36t ratchet setup certainly makes it harder compared to the <5 I’m used to.

———

A tube can also really help with stubborn to seat tires. I suspect many companies, including Reserve, use a heat gun when they apply tape? It’s perfect.

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mikesee
-3 jdamtb918 Cr4w gubbinalia hardtailhersh leon-forfar

Noob riders with little concept of the nuances or subtleties of applying power or maintaining traction can certainly get their skills fast-tracked by starting out with fast engaging hubs.  They often make the mistake of assuming it's *all* about the hub, when the skillset is way more important.

But a good rider can clean anything with a slow engaging hub that they can with a fast engaging hub.

Not remotely suggesting people don't notice or appreciate differences in engagement speed.  Saying that in the end it's waaaaaaaay more about the rider.

______

There are indeed lots of heat related tricks to getting the tape to stick well.  IME, unless the tape has been pressed down with a tube for some length of time, that end is probably going to work itself up.

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cooperquinn
+4 Mammal Kenny Morgan Heater hardtailhersh

"But a good rider can clean anything with a slow engaging hub that they can with a fast engaging hub."

Maybe. But I don't tele ski, or use hubs with 20deg engagement.

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jddallager
+1 Cooper Quinn

Indeed! It's more about the rider than the equipment ..... especially unless you're into the highest (national-class/world-class) level competition. And how many of us are in that class? Several handfuls?

That said ..... human nature is to hope that a single pill or better tech or YouTube lessons that we don't have the discipline to actually practice will make a difference are what marketing and businesses thrive on.

So .... my suggestion is to keep the rubber side down and remember that RULE #1 IS FUN!

I'm 76 and help coach a high school MTB team ..... trusting you'll all do the same as you "mature"!   :-)

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AndrewMajor
+8 Velocipedestrian Cooper Quinn Konda Mammal BadNudes gubbinalia hardtailhersh Tadpoledancer

I've learned a lot about what a tech-dependent mountain biking n00b I am today. I still think I'll stick with recommending hubs with <5° engagement for North Shore riding.

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mikesee
0 jdamtb918 hardtailhersh

You get to interpret it any way you like, but c'mon: that's not what I wrote and you know that.

Offrhodes42
+1 jdamtb918

I highly recommend the Caffelatex tubeless rim strips over tape. The are reusable, no ends to peel up, and saved me from throwing my Spank rims in a fit of rage when I could not get any tape to adhere to the rim bed surface and create a reliable seal.

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jcvd
0

I've had no issues taping Spank rims using their recommended method of two passes (check their FAQ). The narrower tape falls into the "Oohbah" grooves nicely and the centre overlap is insurance against sharp nipple hole edges. I don't even use fancy tape; just the cheap stuff from Aliexpress that's around $20 for 50 metres.

An overnighter with a tube at max PSI, pull the tube out and fill with sealant the next morning, go for a ride. No detectable PSI drop (using a digital gauge) in months.

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doodersonmcbroseph
0

I'm with you; I've never had a problem tech climbing or anything with an 18T and I enjoy that it is quiet.

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Inertiaman
+1 Tadpoledancer

Mikesee says "I encourage all of my customers to stick a tube in for the first ride to get that tape stuck down well and any bubbles pushed out."

Why would a tube press the tape down any more than just air?  If you've got, say, 25 psi in a tubeless tire or 25 psi in tubed tire, in both cases there is 25 psi of pressure pushing the tape down.

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YungSquab
+1 Andrew Major

In my experience, high end alloy wheels ride better than low end carbon wheels. I've been running the $750 i9 Enduro S 1/1's for two years and they feel so much more solid and confidence inspiring than comparably spec'd LightBicycle/Noble wheels (which cost 50% more). Also, I prefer the crisper engagement of a i9 1/1 hubs over a 54T DT350, even if the latter is easier to service.

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AndrewMajor
+3 bushtrucker Tommaso Gomez Hbar

I don’t trust DT 54t ratchets at all, so if someone wants more engagement than the 36t delivers - a personal choice dependent on rider and terrain - the 1/1 is a much better option at a similar investment.

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Hbar
0

I assume that experience drove you to lose your trust in 54T? After avoiding them for years, I recently picked some up after a few internet searches didn't reveal 54T carnage when used for MTB. We'll see how they fare. Currently I mostly find them a bit too loud, but the engagement is noticeable.

I do carry the 36T set in my pack on every ride, though :)

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AndrewMajor
+1 Hbar

Yeah, not my personal experience stripping them out but dealing with them in a shop environment and knowing folks who carry spares. They are very quick to field swap but I ride the kind of trails where I don’t want my hub to slip.

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generalistg
+1 Andrew Major

This comment has been removed.

AndrewMajor
+1 Generalist Grant

It’s interesting, the 157mm version uses a 1/1 hub for the same price. I too would prefer a 1/1 hub. 

I assume Stan’s, Spank, and DT will follow up with a similar warranty, at least for their most beefcake aluminum wheels - and hopefully rim-only as well.

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generalistg
+1 Andrew Major

This comment has been removed.

Flatted-again
+2 Generalist Grant Andrew Major

If you’ve got a superboost frame, it’s an option: https://reservewheels.com/products/reserve-30-hd-al?variant=42599043858613

Edit, Andrew beat me to it

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AndrewMajor
0

Oooo… just beat you by a minute! Hahahaha.

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generalistg
0

This comment has been removed.

andy-eunson
0

I have had a number of DT hubs. I think I chipped up the teeth a 36 tooth ratchet. Maybe too much grease caused it. But otherwise DT hubs for me at a good 142 pounds (+-) have never let me down. The 1/1 on the We Are One wheels I’ve had all last season skip around once every four rides or so. Pulled apart many times and I never see any problem. But my hub sucks. The Torch hub on my old small wheel set have been flawless. Well actually the first ride the hub skipped a few times. Pulled it apart to find a lot of grease. Cleaned most of the grease out and no issue since. Minimal grease in those mechanisms. Minimal.

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AndrewMajor
+2 JT Andy Eunson

Interesting regarding your 1/1 hub. What did I9 say about the skipping? 

I run Dumonde Tech freehub oil in Industy Nine hubs - straight - where I'll slurry it with Dumonde Tech freehub grease for other pawl hubs.

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jt
+1 Andrew Major

Had a racer come through the shop ages ago who swore up and down about powdered graphite. Profile recommended it for their hubs at one point but I never got around to try it, however I am still somewhat curious, especially if it improves performance on sub-freezing rides.

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andy-eunson
0

I never got around to asking them. I got the wheels in October 2021 and snow came early and I thought I had it solved after a couple rides on cleaned out pawls. Next season it started again but since it’s a once or twice a week thing then fine for a month I’ve not worried about it much. I should though.

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IslandLife
+1 Andrew Major

I'm confused by the warranty... probably need to read the fine print. Because as I see it.. I can roll around on 15 PSI and get a new wheel every week?

Realistically though, I've considering going carbon because I'm now at a point that by end of the fall, even with an insert, I've nursed my rear wheel to the end of it's life. So Santa Cruz will just give me a new rear wheel every year?

The current wheels I'm on will send me a crash replacement rim for a great deal, but I still have to get it rebuilt, which also usually means some new spokes, all new nipples, some cash and some beer.

With this option, I don't see a reason to switch to carbon anymore.

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AndrewMajor
+3 Generalist Grant Blofeld IslandLife

I will attempt to clarify what is a warranty and what is a Crash Replacement as part of my review. It's pretty amazing how dented/flat a rim can be and still hold air, and how durable the finish is on the current crop of high-end aluminum rims, so I think in this case the fine print might be right in our faces:

"Detail on Issues

Dented rim, no paint chipping, holding air: crash replacement

Dented rim, paint chipping, holding or not holding air: warranty

Dented rim, not holding air: warranty

Seam separation: warranty

Crack at spoke hole: warranty"

I prefer aluminum rims so if they made these in an i40, or even an i35, they'd be high on my list for my personal rigs.

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IslandLife
0

Hmmm... so a new wheel every year then?  I don't seem to have a problem taking a dented rim that's holding air to a dented rim that won't hold air anymore and now resembles a square or rectangle vs a circle.  I could see some issues around this part as well.  What if I couldn't get it to hold air, but somehow Santa Cruz can?  I guess you're paying for a crash replacement at that point.  That may be the ticket to how this will work out not too badly for SC... with lots of "well we got it hold air, so here's your crash replacement."  Which honestly is fair... otherwise they'd be shipping out a ton free rims/wheels. 

I could also see "some people" going down the path of: "Hmm, this rim is pretty dented, but it's still holding air... let me just take 10 psi out of here for, you know, extra grip... .... ...there we go."

And I'm assuming you ship the whole wheel to them (at your cost?) and they rebuilt it with a new rim, new nipples, old hub and as many spokes as they can salvage and ship it back (at their cost?).

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AndrewMajor
+1 Timer

Yeah, I'm going to seek some clarity on the warranty as part of the review. My side-hypothesis is that enough folks hate flats as much as I do that they're running inserts in their aluminum wheels and so the Venn diagram of folks who would trash rims and folks who don't have inserts is small enough that it's not really a concern? 

Maybe I'm totally skewered in terms of the percentage of riders running inserts though.

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IslandLife
0

Ya I'm sure SC has it figured out... I use Tannus but still needed a new rim by the end of the year.  But have also realized that Tannus do have a lifespan.  It's not cut-up like a cushcore gets or visually worn at all... but compared to a new insert, it's just much softer and pliable, which was definitely a part of the equation that led to needing a new rim this past fall.  Seems like about 1300 kms or 200 hours (moving time)-ish?

Previous year with a new insert, I tried to get away with a lighter weight rim and again by the end of the year that didn't quite work out.  Using Crank Brothers Synthesis Enduro Alloy this coming season (with a new Tannus insert).  Will see how it holds up!

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Blofeld
+1 Andrew Major

I am always curious what the weight and price penalty is for a lifetime warranty. Here, I’d guess it’s 80-100g/rim and $100-200/set. Not outlandish by any means. I think the wheel replacement after rim destruction clause is a major plus as it would stave off considerable hub and nipple maintenance.

Being skeptical of everything Pon-glomerate, I also wanted to point out the aluminum nipples, ASTM 4 rating (even on the “dh” rims), and the spec choice of Race Face ARC HD rims (which might be 20g heavier than these) on the V10.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Blofeld

Down here at the PON shop… Sublime. Hahaha. When they started buying IBDs vs. Trek & Specialized I couldn’t get it out of my head. 

It’s crazy how many big-bike wheels come with aluminum nipples instead of brass. It makes a difference to weight but it’s not significant.

I’d expect to see the V10 rim spec change (as a running change with sell-through) as these were just released and they were WC DH tested. Hadn’t thought about the ASTM rating - I’ll follow up on that for the review.

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Blofeld
0

I wonder if the aluminum nipples are to keep the lead out of the wheelset (to avoid a prop 65 shaming) more than an intentional weight savings? These pontoons have California roots, after all.

Fair point on selling through the RF rims now that they have a house brand alternative. The two brands‘ rims may come from the very same machines, for all I know. I didn’t find anything indicating that park or dh race use would void the warranty, so applying for the ASTM 4 ratings could just have been a means to avoid any potential release date setbacks on a more stringent test.

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AndrewMajor
0

I hadn't considered California environmental code, my wrenching colleague and I were talking about aluminum nipples today and I think he touched on it best in that aluminum nipples tend to last the life expectancy of a mountain bike rim. I switched to brass when I started running inserts and aluminum rims suddenly became virtually immortal - nothing worse than re-lacing a wheel because the nipples are perma-seized. 

I was building some offset ARC 40 Race Face rims today and had the same thought re. manufacturing.

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just6979
0 Niels van Kampenhout Cr4w

"without the always-carry-spare-ratchets reliability of their more ambitious 54-tooth (6.66°) ratchet setup"

Aww, they're plenty reliable IFF they are maintained, which is really just cleaned and re-greased. The others just go longer between services, but if you let them get the equivalent amount of nasty, eventually they'll be as "unreliable".

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AndrewMajor
0

I’ll agree there are plenty of factors including rider, terrain, gearing, and maintenance that dictate how long they’ll last but they’re on my do not recommend list because I’ve seen fresh ratchets in fresh hubs that are stripped and when they fail it can really suck if you’re climbing hard or riding up some skinny log or ladder.

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just6979
0

Not SKU maths, warranty maths. I'd bet after the 2nd time someone sends back an SL, they're getting sent an HD, accidentally on purpose. Or they're just willing to take a hit on maybe shipping lots of replacement SLs in order to gauge the market of folks willing to spend time waiting for replacements vs the folks willing to spend 80 grams and never wait for replacements.

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AndrewMajor
+1 gubbinalia

I was trying to think of where the SL even fits, and I suppose there's a reality of bikes with XT or GX spec coming with these wheels and the purchaser of the said bike trying to minimize weight but without spending on carbon wheels. 

They're also trying to match the SL/HD split from carbon rims, I'm sure. I just often wonder how much we, the riders, are paying for the constant SKU creep, when in reality one i30 aluminum rim would have probably been perfect.

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DBone57
0

Welded rims? Any info on where and how they are built?

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AndrewMajor
+3 DBone57 Generalist Grant IslandLife

They're welded - I assume chemically and then smooth-finished. There's no external seam, but I'll pull the tape and see what I see as part of the review.

Reserve wheels are machine-built and then hand-checked. I didn't mention this on purpose because I have a strong - but totally throw-back/unfounded - bias towards hand-built wheels that I was trying to drown here. I checked the tension of these Reserves and they required zero attention out of the box.

I've ridden plenty of high-end machine-built wheels and as a commodity, I don't think there's any reason not to buy a set. But, I also turn wrenches and appreciate the art of wheel building and the relationship of knowing the person who built your wheels and I think there's extra value in that.

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DBone57
+2 Andrew Major Mammal

"I'll pull the tape and see what I see as part of the review."

^ Stuff like this is why I come here for the real review.... Thanks!!

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AndrewMajor
+2 DBone57 IslandLife

No problem, at all, and thank you. It's a simple reality of timelines that I didn't have that information for readers in the first place and I always appreciate folks keeping us accountable. It makes for much better material.

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Mbcracken
0

Lots of chit-chat about which ratchet teeth count is the favored...personal choice always a given, I came across a DT Swiss video a few years back where they described what the intended purpose was for each tooth count.  One thing they specified was that for the increase of teeth count the friction also marginally increases.  I've since, adopted my 3 main steeds all running DT Swiss to have 18 for gravel/groad bike, 36 for my XC bike and 52 for my Enduro bike.  I seem to get along with these setups just fine and have never broken any teeth.  FWIW, I am a clyde but have been riding since the 80's so still let up ever so slightly with almost every shift.

Seems like a great wheel set SC has going now too.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mbcracken

The quieter action of 18t makes sense for road/commuter rigs as well. For mountain biking the drag difference is arguably negligible - but it makes sense to stick with the 36t if that works for you.

Given they weight next to nothing, are tiny, and can be swapped in basically no time, I’d recommend having spare ratchets with you when riding the 54t setup. Better safe than sorry, and you can I-told-you-so me years down the trail if you never use them. On the other hand, you can buy me a coffee someday if they’re the difference between pedaling home and a long walk/runbike.

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Mbcracken
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Sounds like you are really hoping for some coffee sooner then later...LOL. ;-)  

The 54t rings I have, are from some Derby wheels I built up back in 2015 and are doing well so far.  Like you also said, the difference between the various teeth offerings are slight marginal gains for what one is looking for too.  The drag reduction is probably more of a mental game for me when doing 20-40 mile XC MTB rides...but what ever helps, right?

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mbcracken

Ha. I mean, I love a good cup of bean water, but no, I never wish anything bad maintenance wise on anyone.

I just like to remind folks to have a plan - and then they can do with it as they will. Something like carrying a couple extra tiny/lightweight ratchets to resolve a fairly well known issue is the low hanging fruit.

These days where folks don’t wear packs even on long rides… carrying extra food and water (more than the minimum) is a thing of the last for most folks as well.

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Mbcracken
+1 Andrew Major

Sorry but I was not inferring you were wishing bad maintenance possibilities.  A good cup of bean water can fix lots of problems though... Always good to be prepared beyond reaching for ones cell phone.

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AndrewMajor
0

Ha, no stress - I knew you were joking and even if I didn’t I have the thick skin of a retail survivor.

I’ve cityboyed myself hard a couple times with a lack of cell signal - love a paper map backup these days. Or at least a screenshot of Trailforks.

Joe_Dick
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Is the the gateway drug to a subscription plan on wheels? As a hardtail rider, with out inserts I go through about 2 rims a year. Inserts have cut that down, but if they are going to send me a rim every time I dent one I’d never run an insert.

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