Santa Cruz Reserve DH rims go 650b

Santa Cruz Reserve DH rims could be a heavy-rider solution
Santa Cruz Reserve DH rims are very expensive but will last a lifetime (Image credit: Santa Cruz)

Reserve rims are known as some of the toughest carbon wheels in mountain biking.

A product evolution of the extensive experience Santa Cruz developed working with composites, these Reserve wheels have a reputation for being virtually unbreakable. Which is why Santa Cruz offers them with a lifetime warranty.

Santa Cruz has now added a downhill racing certified 27.5-inch Reserve rim option called the DH. In terms of raw specification, these 27.5-inch Reserve rims have some very robust numbers.

Designed for 32-spokes, Santa Cruz has clearly engineered the Reserve 27.5-inch DH rims for maximum strength. They are also formed to work best with the current generation of higher-volume 27.5-inch tyres.

Internal rim width is 31mm, which should shape a perfect profile to any 2.4- or 2.6-inch wide tyres, which are most popular with extreme terrain mountain bikers.  

These new Reserve DH rims weigh 564g, which is nearly 100g more than Santa Cruz’s similarly sized Reserve 30 option. The additional mass is attributed to a more structurally reinforced carbon-fibre layup, adding material in crucial places to ensure that even harsh rock or root strikes don’t damage the rim.

With its lifetime warranty, the Santa Cruz Reserve rims are an interesting offering. In the realm of extreme downhill and freeride mountain biking, carbon wheels are often seen as a fraught investment. This is due to the potential of a direct terrain strike shattering the composite structure.

Santa Cruz’s Reserve rims mitigate the cost risk of carbon-fibre wheel ownership, with its official manufacturer warranty.

The new Reserve 27.5-inch DH has interesting potential beyond its primary market as a downhill racing or freeride mountain biking rim. For enduro riders who are tall or of a larger frame, the additional spoke count (32 instead of 28) will create a wheelset with better energy absorption and fewer potential spoke snaps.

Featuring a more robust construction the Reserve 27.5-inch DH is a great option for those heavier enduro riders who want the lower rotation weight and steering feel benefit of a carbon rim, without the fragility risk.

Customers have the choice of either purchasing the rim, at $649 apiece, or optioning for a built wheelset, spinning Chris King hubs, priced at $2499. 

Lance Branquinho
Freelance writer

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born journalist who graduated to mountain biking after injuries curtailed his trail running. He has a weakness for British steel hardtails, especially those which only run a single gear. As well as Bike Perfect, Lance has written for, and Cycling News.