Upgrading your bike wheels is one of the biggest improvements you can make on a bike. You can make it lighter, faster, and even change the way that you approach a tyre change in a puncture situation.
You may have read about the differences in clincher and tubular wheels, and that is a decision that can be made when factoring in riding style and habits. Once you have chosen your wheel type, you can begin to look at the different materials and technical aspects such as aerodynamics and weight.
Lightweight Bike Wheels
Looking at the weight of road bike wheels is a great starting point for a cyclist wanting to upgrade. Generally lighter wheels will make ascending and climbing easier, which may be something you’re really focussed on. That said, hill climbing could be something that you hate, and so upgrading your road bike wheels to something lighter may be your way of minimising the struggle on the uphill sections so you can enjoy the flats and sprints. Either way, lightweight bike wheels are your best option.
A good, lightweight set of wheels can be priceless, and if you’re looking to save money and weight, we recommend something like the Fulcrum Racing 3 Wheelset.
Aerodynamic Bike Wheels
For some people, mainly triathletes and time trial fiends, aerodynamics and speed are much more important factors than weight. This is where aerodynamic wheels (or aero wheels) come in.
The deep rim on an aerodynamic bike wheel express a ‘thick’ look characteristic. Although this feature undoubtedly adds extra weight, the thick, deep rims help air and wind pass smoothly around your bike’s wheels, increasing the ability to resist wind and stay streamlined whilst riding. Some bike wheels have protection around the spokes, you might have seen this type of wheel ridden on the velodrome at the Olympics, and as you can imagine, these are a little heavier than your average wheel but also much faster.
Tubeless Bike Wheels
Tubeless wheels are bike wheels that don’t require inner tubes - sounds perfect right? Tubeless tyres are sealed to the wheel, and in case of a puncture can be resealed and reused as a regular tyre would. Manufacturers have claimed that punctures are less common with tubeless tyres, and the growing selection of tubeless wheels available on the market means that going tubeless is beginning to look like a good investment.