It is often said that wheels are one of, if not the best upgrade that you can make to your road bike. A fresh pair of wheels can have your bike feeling like new, or riding like a completely different machine and can offer newfound speed, smoother riding, dependable durability and/or lower weight. There are hundreds of different wheels for your viewing right here on BikeExchange from independent retailers and private sellers.
Road biking is one of the best ways to enjoy the outdoors and exercise. Road bikes can last for years without needing to be replaced. Road bike wheels, on the other hand, are one of the first things that will start to wear down on your bike. If you need to replace your road bike wheels, or you’re just curious about when and why to replace your bike wheels, you’re in the right place! BikeExchange is the best place for anyone in Australia to find a bike that’s perfect for them. You can find road bikes, hybrid bikes, bike wheels, bike accessories and more on BikeExchange- start shopping today!
There are two reasons to upgrade your road bike wheels: age/deterioration and performance. If you’ve had your bike for a while, chances are the wheels on it are starting to get a bit worn down. This is especially true if your bike has rim brakes; rim brakes make direct contact with the wheels and degrade them over time. Replacing your bike wheels (and potentially brakes if they’re worn down, too) will ensure that your bike is safe and ready to perform.
Similarly, if the spokes on your wheels are bent or missing, you should think about getting new tires as soon as possible. Missing and damaged spokes decrease the performance of the bike and can make them quite dangerous to ride.
Also, if you’ve hit one too many speed bumps or potholes in your road bike, there is a chance that the wheels have gotten bent. If you’ve noticed that riding your bike isn’t nearly as smooth, or that using the brakes makes the bike wobble, it’s almost certainly time to replace the wheels. When you ride your bike for the first time with the new wheels on it, the difference will be immediately noticeable!
Performance-wise, the thing to look for in new road bike wheels is weight and material. The lighter your bike, the faster (and more efficiently) you ride. If you bought your road bike on a budget, it might not have wheels made of the best materials.
Upgrading to aluminium, carbon or titanium wheels is the best way to cut weight and improve performance on your road bike. If you have a flat bar road bike, in particular, there’s a high chance the wheels aren’t as light as you want them to be. Upgrade to the lightest wheels you can find and the difference will be pretty drastic- stretches of road that used to feel like a grind will now feel like gliding!
Road biking is an intense, high-energy sport that is surprisingly gentle on both the body and the bike. You have to train your muscles and lungs to perform at peak capacity, but barring any accidents, your bones and joints are well-preserved. The same is true for your bike and all the parts that comprise it. Unless you hit some major potholes or crash multiple times, your road bike, and its wheels, can last a very long time.
Anyone who’s purchased a road bike knows that they are not cheap but also that you get your money’s worth because of the high performance and long-lasting construction. The same is true for road bike wheels- they’re expensive, but they last a long time with proper use/care. That being said, they do wear down over time.
Instead of thinking of the longevity of road bike wheels in terms of time, you should think in terms of distance: “how many kilometres can I ride on these wheels?” Depending on how much you ride in a year, you can get a good picture of how long you’ll have until it’s time to replace them.
However, you can expect a higher or lower lifespan for your wheels based on how much you weigh. If you’re a lighter person, you’ll get a few thousand more kilometres out of your tires because they’re being subjected to less pressure. Heavier people, on the other hand, should plan to replace their wheels more often.
Before buying road bike wheels, you should determine what type of wheels fit your bike. That includes size, of course, but also the type of brakes you have currently. You’ll have to get different wheels for bikes with rim brakes than you would for bikes with disc brakes.
Beyond fit and type of wheel, you also need to choose a category and material. Tubeless wheels last the longest, are the lightest, and cost the most. Standard wheels are a bit heavier but much more affordable. Tubular wheels are a favourite of many road cyclists because the tube is stitched to the wheel, making them light and stable. The category of wheel you get is mostly dependent on your preferences, but some bikes may require a tubular wheel, others a standard wheel, etc.
Finally, you need to select a material for your road bike wheels. Aluminium is very light and relatively inexpensive but can deteriorate pretty fast compared to other materials. Titanium and carbon fibre wheels, on the other hand, are extremely light and durable- which means they’re also very expensive.
At the end of the day, each person should select wheels that fit their bikes and their budgets the best. At BikeExchange, you can find what you need from over 1,500 of the world’s best cycling brands. Whether it’s road bikes, cycling accessories and cycling shoes for your next race, or something different like a commuter bike, cargo bike, or mountain bike, BikeExchange is where you need to be!