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review

Reserve 40|44 wheelset

8
£1,599.00

VERDICT:

8
10
Versatile and aero without the compromises of a traditional deep-section rim
Work with a wide range of tyre widths
Good weight for aero wheels
No rider weight limits
No Campagnolo freehub option
Weight: 
1,435g
Contact: 

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The Reserve 40/44 wheelset shows that going wide and not so deep can still be relatively aero and versatile. They're a good set of all-rounders that work in loads of conditions, and with a low weight are certainly responsive when you ask them to be.

Read our guide to the best road bike wheels for more options.

> Buy now: Reserve 40/44 wheelset for £1,599 from PBP

We know that deeper section rims are more aero, giving speed gains over shallower competition, but they do come with compromises like extra weight, and can be affected by crosswinds on blustery days, which makes them quite specialist.

That's probably why we've seen some brands going shallower but wider – much wider than previously seen, using rim shapes that make them feel just as fast as those deeper section offerings without as many compromises. That's exactly what Reserve has done here.

2022 Reserve 40 | 44 wheelset - valve hole.jpg

The front rim is 40mm deep and 33mm wide externally, while the rear is 44mm deep and 31mm wide, with both getting a u-shaped spoke bed rather than the pointier sort of style found on some wheels.

This is one of the main reasons why they aren't affected so much by crosswinds, so you can use them throughout the winter or when conditions aren't that great.

It also means the Reserves don't affect the handling of your bike as some deep-section wheels can. Some of those deeper wheels can also feel like they 'flop' or 'stall' when turning at low speed, but the Reserves don't at all, which means they're fine on twisty country lanes or when travelling through built-up areas.

Off the top of my head, a couple of brands that have used this wide rim design to create very fast wheels are Hunt with its Limitless range and Specialized with its Roval Rapides. While these Reserve wheels aren't quite as quick on the flat as either of those, they aren't far off.

The Hunts and Rovals are deeper at 48mm and 51mm/60mm respectively, so for their shallower depth the Reserves are still more aero than you'd expect, with that noticeable lack of effort required as you go through that sweet spot from around 18-27mph.

2022 Reserve 40 | 44 wheelset - rim detail 1.jpg

When you take into account their weight of just 1,435g (including rim tape), these wheels can carry on that aero efficiency into the climbs, or when sprinting out of the corners. Their easy handling also makes them feel sharp on technical descents.

They are stiff, too, so you can really get out of the saddle and crank the bike over, but they aren't so stiff that they are boneshakers to ride.

Build

When it comes to the build, the carbon rims are laced to the DT Swiss hubs with 24 spokes on both the front and rear wheels. You can choose the hub model you would like, depending on how much you want to spend: with DT350s the wheelset is £1,599, DT240s it's £1,999, or the top-end DT180s is £2,399.

We have the DT350s which use an aluminium alloy body, steel bearings and a 36-tooth ratchet system for a quick engagement of the freehub. I've used these hubs on a lot of wheels over the years and I've always found them to be reliable and robust.

2022 Reserve 40 | 44 wheelset - rear hub 2.jpg

Freehub options are Shimano HG and SRAM XDR with a Center Lock design for mounting the brake rotors. There's no Campagnolo option, though.

Out of the box the wheels were true in all directions and remained so throughout testing. I used them on a mixture of main roads, back lanes and cyclepaths, so nothing too strenuous in terms of terrain, but they have whacked a few potholes and seen loads of wet weather, mud and grit in the last month or so.

2022 Reserve 40 | 44 wheelset - spoke nipple.jpg

With an inner width of 25.5mm for the front and 25mm for the rear, these wheels are more suited to wider tyres of probably around 25mm minimum; the 30mm tyres I used them with fitted a treat in terms of profile for a smooth transition between wheel and tyre.

2022 Reserve 40 | 44 wheelset - rim bed.jpg

With their hooked rims you can comfortably run both tubeless and clincher tyres, plus if you wanted to you could run your tyres higher than the limit of 75psi found on hookless rims. Such is the confidence that Reserve has in its wheels, you'll find no tyre limitations or rider weight limits.

Value

In terms of competition, it comes back to those two I mentioned earlier. I reviewed the Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc wheels back in 2020 and I still regard them as one of the best-performing all-round aero wheelsets on the market.

They are heavier than the Reserves by a fair bit – ours tipped the road.cc Scales of Truth at 1,690g – but that didn't hamper their performance at all. With CeramicSpeed bearings they're £1,649.

Jamie also reviewed the Roval Rapide CLX wheels back in 2020, and I used them on Specialized's S-Works SL7 when I reviewed that in the same year. They were absolutely rapid, and light too at 1,410g.

The only downside was that they were clincher only, but the latest version, the CLX II, is now tubeless compatible. They aren't cheap at £2,500, but use the DT Swiss DT180 hub bodies as found on the most expensive Reserves (£2,399), and you get ceramic bearings.

Conclusion

If you want a set of fast all-round road wheels without the compromises found with traditional deep-section rims, these are a very good choice for the money. The quality, both in terms of build and ride, is to a high standard; they'll give reliability and work for all kinds of riding.

Verdict

Versatile and aero without the compromises of a traditional deep-section rim

road.cc test report

Make and model: Reserve 40|44 wheelset

Size tested: 700C, 40/44mm depth

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Reserve Wheels says, "The Reserve 40|44 provides all-day capability with aerodynamic sensibilities. The 40|44 features a wider, shallower front mixed with a narrower, taller rear wheel, which has proven on the tarmac and in the wind tunnel to deliver speed with the benefit of stability. It's also designed to provide a comfortable ride all day long. The 40|44 delivers just the note of forgiveness when you need it, to let you keep racking up the miles when others are already legs up on the couch."

They are impressive all-round road wheels.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Reserve Wheels lists:

Inner Width: Front 25.5mm, Rear 25mm

External Width: Front 33mm, Rear 31mm

Depth: Front 40mm, Rear 44mm

Recommended Tire Dimensions: 28 to 40mm

Spoke Count: 24

Rim Weights: 410g - RSV 40, 435g - RSV 44

Freehub Options: XDR, HG-EV

Disc Style Options: Centerlock

Hub Spacing: 100mm/142mm

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

Not quite as fast as the Hunt Limitless, but a little cheaper and a lot lighter.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

The wheels stayed true throughout the review period.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

Fitting various tyres of differing widths caused no issues at all.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

The tubeless tape and valves worked well, and while the wheel bags are quite basic they do at least offer protection when the wheels are out of the bike.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They performed very well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

Good aero performance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

No options for Campagnolo riders.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

They are a little cheaper than what I consider their main rivals, the market leader for this kind of wheel, the Hunt Limitless, and the DT180 version is £100 less than the Roval Rapide CLX IIs.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

In terms of build quality and performance, I have to say the Reserves are very good, offering a solid performance right across the board, at a good price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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1 comments

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gotty | 2 months ago
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Hi, could I ask what your 30mm tiers plumped up to please, thinking about using these with a Mason definition, of which they would seem to make perfect fellows. Thanks 

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