Reserve 25|GR Gravel Wheels reviewed

Lightweight yet bombproof carbon hoops for the roads less traveled

Reserve 25|GR gravel wheelset
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Reserve 25|GR is an impressively light wheelset that strikes the perfect balance of durability and weight. Mile and mile, these wheels are an absolute bombproof workhorse made for those who ride on the gnarlier end of the gravel spectrum.

Reasons to buy
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    Lightweight

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    Durable, bombproof construction

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    Playful

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    Comfortable

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    No rider weight limit

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    Lifetime warranty and no-fault crash replacement promise

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Reasons to avoid
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    No aerodynamic benefits

Reserve may not be the first brand name that comes to mind when you’re shopping for new hoops, but with the trajectory they’re on, that will all change quite soon. 

Born from the mountain bike world, Reserve was founded by the Santa Cruz bike brand in 2014. Basically, what Roval is to Specialized, Reserve is to Santa Cruz: a wheel company within a bike company that eventually grows to stand on its own two feet. 

With Reserve, Santa Cruz engineers set out to not only create the most durable strength-to-weight composite bike wheels on the market, they were also prepared to back their claim up with—an at the time unheard of—lifetime guarantee.

They burst onto the market in 2017 with their first mountain bike wheels, and quickly earned themselves a reputation for making some of the most bombproof lightweight carbon rims one can buy. Standing the test of enduro and downhill racing and even the many shenanigans of MTB trickster Danny Macaskill, Reserve wheels quelled the fears of many who previously avoided carbon hoops due to the rather expensive risk of breaking them—myself included.

Taking what they’d learned from the demands of mountain biking, Reserve decided to tackle the gravel market next and released its first gravel wheelset, the Reserve 22|GR, in 2019. That same year, Reserve started working with the aerodynamics experts over at Cervélo for a foray into the road and triathlon market as well.

This season, you may have seen the Reserve wheels on the bikes of Marianne Vos and her Jumbo-Visma teammates or on Wout van Aert’s time trial bike when he stormed to victory on stage 20 of the Tour de France.

As Vos was well on her way to winning the green sprinter’s jersey of the Tour de France Femmes in late July, Reserve released its third and beefiest gravel wheelset yet. Staying true to their mountain bike origins, this wheelset was designed with the roughest, Grinduro-type gravel racing and riding in mind. With a 25mm inner rim width, it rivals some of the XC mountain bike rims out there, and is wide enough to comfortably hold a 50mm tire.  

Let’s have a look at these super-wide offerings from Reserve. 

Overview

Going wide. Reserve's newest and third gravel offering aims to go more places with a wider rim for more tire options and durable construction to meet the diverse needs of all drop-bar off-roaders. 

Grinduro, monster gravel, All-Terrain, singletrack, doubletrack — the Reserve 25|GR wheelset is ready for the gnarliest of gravel adventures or simply the comfiest, with super-cushy 50mm tires.

The construction:

The rims were completely redesigned from the previous two models. It now features not only a 25mm inner width, but also a semi-hook and asymmetrically shaped rim bed that matches the offset spoke hole position for ease of tubeless tire installation. 

Like their mountain bike siblings, Reserve's gravel wheels sport a low-profile, box-section rim with externally reinforced spoke holes to strengthen the area where the rim sees the most force: around the spoke nipple. 

Reserve recommends using tires no narrower than 28mm and up to 50mm. 

One thing I especially appreciate about Reserve's approach to wheel building is their understated design and use of external nipples and standard spokes for easy tune-ups and repair. And should something go wrong, Reserve offers a lifetime warranty and a no-fault crash replacement policy. 

The Fillmore Valves:

The 25|GR wheels come with Reserve's unique "Fillmore valves," which make sealant clogs and the need to remove the valve's inner core for installation, a thing of the past. 

Fillmore valves are coreless. There's no inner core or threaded nut, just a single thin stainless steel rod running through the middle of the valve. For sealing, there's an o-ring on the rim side of the valve and a special valve cap that goes on top. Unlike your regular Presta valve caps that are quickly tossed aside, these Fillmore valve caps actually play an important role. The valve cap contains two separate threads, one for the stainless steel middle rod and one for the outside of the valve. When the cap is in place, the inner threads lift the rod up to engage the o-ring and seal the valve. Sealant can be injected directly through the valve. 

Build Options:

Shimano and SRAM cassettes are well accounted for with hub options including DT Swiss 350 and I9's 1/1 Gravel each supporting both HG11 and XD freehub bodies. Campagnolo freehub options are not offered at this time. 

Weight:

1,339 grams with the Industries Nine 1/1 Gravel hub. 

Price: $1,599