Show up at a gravel event, and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were transported back into the late 1980s. Gravel riding offers a bit of roll-your-own style, but these types of races and rides favor lightweight over bump absorption, so most opt to leave the suspension at home.
This resurgence of rigid bike riding has borne a variety of ways to reduce the chatter and impact of these less-than-smooth surfaces. Whether it’s an undamped carbon leaf spring, a shortened version of a telescopic suspension fork, or simply stuffing the biggest tire possible into a bike frame, everyone’s looking to take the edge off. That’s what Santa Cruz set out to solve with the Reserve 700c and 650b rims.
The Reserve 700c, in particular, required special attention to ride tuning and layup, because there’s less air volume (read: cushion) in these tires. Most wheels in this category are deep-section, aerodynamically-optimized, and harsh-riding. We looked to the rims used in the notoriously-rough Spring Classics races for inspiration, and settled on a profile that looks and rides a lot more like a box-section aluminum rim, but with the strength of our carbon rims, which allowed us to drop the spoke count to 24. The spoke drillings are offset, just like the other Reserve rims, to equalize bracing angles and spoke tension on each side of the hub.
In another first for Reserve, the 700c rim has a bead hook that looks a bit like a UST rim, which provides some added burp-resistance when you’re running low pressures with narrow tires. The Reserve 700c is 22mm wide, and will play nicely with tires between 30 and 45mm.
The wheelset uses Sapim CX Ray bladed spokes for a bit of extra compliance (and a tiny bit of aerodynamic gain!), and are available with DT Swiss’ venerable 350 hubs, or with Industry 9’s Torch Road hubs.
- 700c x 22mm
- Built with Sapim CX-Ray bladed spokes
- Optimized for ride feel and compliance on rough surfaces
- 700c rim features a slight bead hook to reduce burping at low pressures
- Lifetime warranty