The Best Road Cycling Wheelset for the Money

Road cycling wheelsets can be complicated, so do your research first.

Road cycling wheelsets can be complicated, so do your research first.

Selecting a new road cycling wheelset can be a tough choice. From wheels made for sprinting to those that work best when climbing, the options are overwhelming. Good wheelsets work well in a variety of cycling conditions. All you really need to know is how much you are willing to spend.

The 1,500 to 1,800-Gram Range

If you are a climber, you will want a lightweight wheelset. The opposite is true if you ride flat surfaces or downhill. Lightweight wheelsets have lower rotational weight, which helps with ascending, while a heavier wheelset feels more stable when pushed into a sprint. Wheelsets in a weight range of 1,500 to 1,800 grams per pair offer the best of these worlds in which they are neither too heavy for climbing nor too unstable for sprinting.

Know Your Budget

Before shopping for a wheelset, you should know that good wheelsets can cost a lot of money. In a recent article on Bike that focused on do-everything wheelsets, prices among several well-known wheel manufacturers ranged from $500 to more than $1,000. While high-end wheelsets in this range are offered with warranties, you should make certain that your local bicycle shop can fix your wheels should you have a problem after the warranty ends.

Tires Are Key

The two tire types that exist for most bicycle wheels are clinchers and tubulars. Clinchers have an inner tube inside them and are the most common. Tubulars are usually more expensive and have to be hand-glued to the rim when mounted, which will raise the overall cost of your ownership. When shopping for a wheelset, selecting one that uses clinchers will invariably be the best bet for cost as well as ease of repair should you get a flat tire.

“Spoken” Word

If you’re still undecided as to which wheelset to purchase, speak up. Talk to friends who also ride. And use your local bike shop as an added resource. If you prefer to do your search online, Wheel provides outstanding information. The more knowledge you have about wheels, their weight and under what conditions they perform best, the more power you’ll have to surge from the pack once you ride that next perfect wheelset.

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About the Author

David Dorion has been a professional writer for more than 10 years. He has published stories in the "Los Angeles Times" and the "USC College Magazine." A graduate of the University of Southern California with an M.A. in writing, Dorion lives in Los Angeles.

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