19 Jan 2018
Santa Cruz Reserve Carbon Wheels
Whether it's a sunset lap with friends or a race run against the clock, a broken wheel ruins any ride. We set strength and impact resistance as our highest priority, but strength doesn't have to mean uncomfortably stiff. Our wheels are compliant enough to avoid that harsh "wooden" ride that gives some carbon rims a bad name offroad. We only make offroad bikes at Santa Cruz, so we have the privilege of being able to focus purely on the mountain bike experience. Everything from the thickness of rim beads to external spoke hole reinforcements comes purely from our experience of knowing what riders need at every level—from international racing to your local trails.
A new line of premium carbon mountain bike rims and wheels from Santa Cruz designed to be the strongest, most reliable on the market. Designed, tested and prototyped in Santa Cruz, California using our new our in-house carbon lab and well-established carbon fiber expertise. Made in our exclusive factory. Backed by the best product support program in the industry—the Santa Cruz Lifetime Warranty, just like our frames.
MATERIAL WHERE YOU NEED IT
This information in hand, we set about determining how we might design a rim to mitigate those failures, and part of the result is the square-shaped reinforcements you can see around the spoke holes. We made plates of different carbon spoke hole designs in our carbon lab in Santa Cruz, developed a test that mimics the sudden increase in pulling force associated with an impact, and spent a few months breaking bits of carbon, spokes, and nipples until we got to the point that we were breaking all spokes and nipples and no carbon.
We're far from the first company to reinforce high-stress areas with more material, but they're visible to ensure that the spoke hole drilling matches the reinforcement. Super-precise placement of these reinforcements allows us to use only the amount of material necessary to achieve the strength required, rather than reinforcing the entire rim. We then invest that extra material into the other common failure point of a rim—the bead.
The rim beads on the Reserve wheels are thick, relative to other rims on the market. As much as a millimeter thicker on either side, in some cases. The material we saved by optimizing the placement of the spoke hole reinforcements went directly into the bead, making it extremely strong without adding weight to the overall construction. The beads are hookless: this makes for a better fit with modern tires, but also simplifies manufacturing, which results in more consistent carbon compaction—the technical way to say stronger rim.
STRENGTH & RELIABILITY
Making strong wheels is actually pretty simple if you don’t mind them being weighty. Thing is... we mind.