Posted in Cycle
Best road bike wheels 2021

 

Upgrading the wheels on your road bike can help you to drop some weight and get more aero, which can mean a faster and smoother ride. We share our pick of the best road wheels available right now.


Is it worth upgrading wheels on a road bike?

If you've bought a road bike, one of the most popular and effective upgrades is a new wheelset. Here are three reasons why it's worth considering new wheels.


Weight saving

Upgrading to a lighter set of wheels means you reduce rotational mass. Heavier wheels take more effort to rotate so any reduction in weight on your wheels will have more of an impact than reducing 'static mass' from your frame. With lighter wheels, you can go faster with the same amount of effort. 


Improved aerodynamic performance

If you want to be able to slice through the air, a more aerodynamic wheelset with deep rims and bladed spokes could give you the edge. Deeper rims, although adding weight, will help to reduce drag. Additionally, modern aerodynamic wheels have wider rims so that larger tires will sit flush, further reducing drag, reducing rolling resistance and improving control.


A smoother ride

Switching to wheels with higher quality hubs and hub bearings will make a noticeable difference to the feel of your ride and further reduces rolling resistance. Look for hubs with cartridge bearings - this means that the bearings are sealed away from moisture and grime so they're much more hard-wearing and easier to maintain.


 

Fulcrum Wind 55 DB Road WheelsetFulcrum Wind 55 DB Road Wheelset

Compatibility - Shimano/SRAM, SRAM XDR

Weight - 1680g/pair

Rim width - Internal: 19mm; External: 27mm

Rim depth - 55mm

The end result of endless wind tunnel analysis and lab finishing, Fulcrum promise that these wheels will give you an aerodynamic edge over your competitors. The 55mm carbon unidirectional rim with a width of 27mm not only slices through the wind but it's also been designed specifically to reduce the effect of side-winds so you can maintain your speed with less wasted energy.


Fast Forward Ryot 44 DT350 Carbon Disc Road WheelsetFast Forward Ryot 44 DT350 Carbon Disc Road Wheelset

Compatibility - Shimano/SRAM, SRAM XDR

Weight - 1520g/pair

Rim width - Internal: 21mm; External: 30mm

Rim profile - 44mm

These versatile wheels can take a tyre width of up to 42mm. The full carbon clincher rim construction means they're lightweight but also strong and stiff, making them a perfect all-rounder for riders who like to mix up tarmac and light gravel. Fast Forward's LAW (Laminar Airflow Wing) technology means the rim profile has been designed for optimum aero performance with the tyre and rim tested as a single entity.


Campagnolo Shamal 2WayFit C21 Carbon Disc WheelsetCampagnolo Shamal 2WayFit C21 Carbon Disc Wheelset

Compatibility - Campagnolo, Shimano/SRAM, SRAM XDR

Weight - 1585g/pair

Rim width - Internal: 21mm

Rim depth - 35mm front, 40mm rear

This reliable wheelset is perfect for riders who spend long hours in the saddle, no matter what the conditions. A 40mm rim profile at the rear gives you maximum responsiveness whilst the 35mm at the front feels more forgiving over long distances. Campagnolo's G3 Spoking System, with double spokes on the left of the front wheel, ensures safe and even braking in any weather. With an internal rim width of 21mm, you can run tyres from 25mm right up to 50mm, with or without an inner tube.


Fulcrum Racing Zero C17 2-Way Fit Road WheelsetFulcrum Racing Zero C17 2-Way Fit Road Wheelset

Compatibility - Campagnolo, Shimano

Weight - 1490g/pair

Rim width - 22.5mm

Rim depth- 27mm front, 30mm rear

The lightweight of this aluminium wheelset will help you to make short work of big climbs. Ceramic Ultra Smooth Bearings (USB) in the carbon hub at the front and aluminium hub at the rear give you a smooth ride whilst aerodynamic bladed spokes help you to slice through the wind so you can accelerate away from the pack on the flats. 


Prime BlackEdition 60 Carbon Disc Wheelset

Prime BlackEdition 60 Carbon Disc Wheelset

Compatibility - Shimano, SRAM

Weight - 1637g/pair

Rim width - Internal: 19mm, External: 27.5mm

Rim profile - 60mm

UCI approved and race-ready, these wheels were created to help you to find those marginal gains. The rims on the latest iteration have been constructed from an all-new carbon layup using a higher grade of carbon which has an improved impact strength/weight ratio. A beefy 27.5mm external rim depth means the tyre sits nice and flush so you'll benefit from reduced rolling resistance and more stability on corners.


ENVE Foundation 45mm Road Wheelset

ENVE Foundation 45mm Road Wheelset

Compatibility - Shimano, SRAM

Weight - SRAM XD: 1541g/pair. Shimano: 1561g/pair

Rim width - Internal: 21mm

Rim profile - 45mm

Built with road racers and triathletes in mind, the ENVE Foundation 45mm hits a perfect balance of light weight for climbing and stiffness on the flats. The rim has been designed to work best with a 25mm and 28mm road tyre and is shaped to combat drag and wind resistance. The ultra-low maintenance Foundation Road Hub uses ENVE's core hub technologies for minimum friction.



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About the author

NChamanian's picture
Nassrin Chamanian
Published on: 26 Aug 2021

Pretty OK at bikes. Enthusiasm outstrips ability.