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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 new found 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.
Aluminium wheels are perfect in offering dependable ride quality and durability. Advancements in wheel design means aluminium wheels have become lightweight and are able to almost rival that of carbon wheels.
The amount of options for Carbon wheels are almost endless, ‘aerodynamic’ and ‘fast’ are most commonly associated with carbon wheels, and fast they are, deep dish carbon wheels offer speed increases over shallow depth wheels, through both their aerodynamic design and increased stiffness. This aerodynamic advantage doesn’t come at a massive cost to weight either, with aero carbon wheels from Mavic, Shimano, Campagnolo, Fulcrum and Zipp will come in lighter than the majority of Aluminium wheels.
If it’s lightweight you’re looking for then shallow profile carbon wheels are the go to option, with some wheel-sets weighing as little as 900 grams. If your looking to make the lightest bike possible or simply want to get up your local climb a little faster then look no further. The likes of Chris Froome, Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana all use shallow profile wheels to lighten the load and climb that bit faster.
Tubular wheels are wheels where the tyre is sewn around the tube encased together and then physically glued on to the rim. Tubular’s used to rule the roost for racing, and they still do for the pro’s, but clincher wheels are forever getting better. Tubular wheels and tyres together offer the best performance possible, but fixing a flat out on the road is no easy feat, hence why they’re strictly used for racing where service support is available.
Clincher wheels make up the majority of wheels available today, the tube sits within the tyre and then clinches to ridges on the rim by a bead in the tyre. Clincher wheels offer the best convenience with easy repair and installation of tyres. With respect to performance, improvements have been made in leaps and bounds with clinchers now offering near performance to their tubular equivalent.
For a detailed guide on where to begin with road bike wheels, be sure to check out our 'Complete Guide to Road Bike Wheels' on the BikeExchange Blog.