With an ever-growing number of options to pick from, where does Reserve’s 30 HD sit in the Venn diagram of carbon wheel choice?
There are loads of fancy carbon wheelsets on the market, some are lightweight, some are comfortable and some are just bombproof. Reserve says the 30 HD is designed for trail and all-mountain use, which is a big clue as to what sort of wheelset we’re looking at.
It features a 30mm (internal) width rim that comes fitted with tubeless tape and the brand’s innovative Fillmore valves I tested a while back. Hubs are made by US firm Industry Nine, and there are a couple of disc/cassette mounting options – six-bolt or CenterLock with either a SRAM XD driver or a Shimano MicroSpline. The rear hub features Industry Nine’s six-pawl freehub with 4º of engagement. The pick-up is ultra-quick and it literally purrs when you’re freewheeling.
Reserve is only selling the front wheel with 15x110mm boost spacing, but the Industry Nine front hub is modular, so you can upgrade to a 20mm axle or RockShox’s oversized Torque caps should you wish. You can also choose either 29in and 27.5in diameters, although, when I checked, the PBP webshop isn’t currently allowing you to mix and match if you have a mullet bike. Now here’s the key info – the wheels are covered by a lifetime warranty, but Reserve also has a crash replacement policy in place, which means if you wreck them, it will sort out a replacement at a reduced cost.
With its raised centre section to add extra meat around the spoke nipples, the rim is definitely burly. It also has a 4mm asymmetric offset, which means the spokes are shifted over to even out tension. Industry Nine uses oversized aluminium spokes in most of its wheels, but lacing the 30 HD together are 28 double-butted stainless-steel spokes. They’re laced three-cross and, as you’d expect with a wheelset costing this much, the build quality is superb.
When testing wheels, I always use Maxxis tyres as a benchmark because I’m familiar with how they set-up tubeless and what they feel like on the trail. The Minion DHF and Aggressor both seated easily, but subsequently I had an issue with them leaking. All tubeless tyres leak air and need topping up to an extent, but I’ve had to do this before every ride in this instance.
I’ve taken the tyres on and off a few times, inflated them to 60spi with a compressor, lubricated the bead with soap, changed the sealant, and all the usual tricks, but they still leak around 5-6psi overnight. Maybe I was just unlucky, as other Reserve wheels we have ridden have not had this problem.
If you have a stereotypical idea of what a carbon wheelset is supposed to feel like, then you won’t be disappointed. The Reserve 30 HD is super stiff, and this directly translates to an accuracy that you literally don’t get with an alloy wheelset. However, there’s noticeably less vertical compliance compared to carbon wheels like the Crankbrothers Synthesis E and SRAM’s Zipp Moto. I could feel more trail chatter through the bar, and this was something that was mentioned previously in the Zipp Moto review. Crankbrothers and Zipp induce compliance by using a different rim for the front wheel, but Reserve uses the same rim front and rear. I suppose that lifetime warranty and crash replacement policy do have a cost – it results in a stronger and more durable wheel, but one that’s also not quite as comfortable.
If you want to put the icing on the cake of a Gucci bike build, a carbon wheelset is the most popular upgrade, and, while the Reserve 30 HD doesn’t have the ride feel of a few other top-end carbon offerings, it’s a bomb-proof option with the warranty to back it up. Not quite a wheel for life, but pretty close. It also sounds expensive on the trail – that high-pitched whine from the Industry Nine freehub tells everyone within 50 yards that you’re riding a premium wheelset.
Although the Reserve 30 HD wheelset doesn’t have the ride feel of a few other top-end carbon offerings, it’s a bomb-proof option with the warranty to back it up. Not quite a wheel for life, but pretty close.