The 5 Best Budget Road Bike Wheels for Rim & Disc Brakes (2022)

Best Budget Road Bike Wheels: A rear aluminum road bike wheel

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Upgrading your current stock wheelset is one of the best decisions you can make to make your bike faster.

In this roundup, you find the best budget road bike wheels. It includes wheelsets for around $500, wheels for rim and disc brakes, alloy, and even carbon wheels.

Learn more about these wheelsets below.

This article also includes a buyer’s guide and valuable tips for choosing the right wheelset for your bike.

What Are the Best Budget Road Bike Wheels?

The best budget road bike wheels offer a balance between durability, stiffness, and weight. It means that they will last you for years, support heavier riders, and weigh 1400 to 1700g.

Superteam 50mm deep carbon road bike wheels with White and red decals
Superteam road bike wheels

Read More

Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 aluminum rim brake wheelset
Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 wheelset

Also available at jensonusa.com

Read More

Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc aluminum wheelset
Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc wheelset

Read More

Skip to the comparison table…

To learn how to choose budget road bike wheels, visit the buyer’s guide section.

Superteam Road Bike Wheels (Best Carbon)

Superteam 50mm deep carbon road bike wheels with White and red decals
Superteam non-UCI-approved road bike wheels
UCI-approved Superteam 50mm deep carbon road bike wheels with black
Superteam UCI-approved road bike wheels

Main Features

  • Affordable carbon wheels (UCI-approved version also available)
  • Ideal for flats or hilly terrain
  • Available in multiple decal colors
  • 2-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher
  • Weight:
    • 1565g (non-UCI-approved)
    • 1635g (UCI-approved)
  • Rim width:
    • 23mm (non-UCI-approved)
    • 25mm (UCI-approved)
  • Rim depth: 50mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 130kg (286lb)

These Superteam wheels are the best budget carbon wheels out there. They are perfect for people who want to try carbon wheels but don’t have a large budget.

Thanks to their deeper rim profile (50mm), they are suitable for flat or hilly terrain.

You can choose from UCI-approved and non-UCI-approved options. There are only small differences between them.

The non-UCI-approved version comes with colored decals, is slightly lighter (for about 70g), and has narrower rim width of 23mm.

Based on reviews online, these wheels provide an excellent value for the money. They hold true, and their Powerway hubs roll smooth.

TIP: Read this in-depth review of Superteam wheels.

Remember, they are not tubeless-ready and are only compatible with Shimano or SRAM cassettes. You can’t opt for Campagnolo-compatible hubs.

The biggest disadvantage of Superteam is their bad customer support and poorly performing braking pads.

Superteam carbon wheels come with two years warranty, skewers, brake pads, rim tape, and extra spokes + nipples.

TIP: Check out this Superteam wheels review to find out more about Superteam and their wheels.


Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 Road Wheelset

Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 aluminum rim brake wheelset
Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 wheelset | Source: jensonusa.com

Main Features

  • Affordable aluminum wheels
  • Ideal for climbing
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Nice aesthetics

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1649g
  • Rim width: 20.0mm (ideal for 23-28mm tires)
  • Rim depth: 24mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 120kg (265lb)

If you are looking for proven wheels from an established brand, Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 are the ones to buy.

Their shallow profile is ideal for a climbing bike, but you can use them for hilly terrain or flats too.

One of their biggest advantages is their compatibility with tubeless-ready tires. Learn more about them here.

Owners praise the high built quality and robustness of the WH-RS500. They will last you for years with minimum maintenance.

Their weight of 1649g is not the lowest, but considering they are made of aluminum, it is acceptable.

You probably won’t find better aluminum wheels for rim brakes at this price point. If you do, let me know!

Also available at jensonusa.com


Don’t mind spending a little bit more? Check out these road bike wheels under $1000.


Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc Wheelset

Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc aluminum wheelset
Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc Wheelset | Source: huntbikewheels.com

Main Features

  • Affordable aluminum wheels
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Ideal for climbing
  • Reflective decal for improved safety at night
  • 3-year warranty
  • 60-day ride & return policy
  • Crash replacement program available

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1588g
  • Rim width: 19mm [internal] (ideal for 23-28mm tires, can fit up to 45mm tires)
  • Rim depth: 26mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 100kg (220lb)

HUNT is a relatively young brand coming from the UK. They offer a large number of wheelsets from budget to premium.

Their Mason X Hunt 4 Season wheelset is a great option for riders who look for a pair of versatile, high-quality wheels for a reasonable price.

Thanks to the wider rim profile than on other wheels on this list, they can fit up to 45mm tires. This means they are suitable not only for road bikes, but also for gravel bikes.

Except for the standard features like good stiffness and durability, they also feature reflective decals. As a result, they will improve your visibility on the roads at night.

You can also take advantage of their 3-year warranty and 60-day ride & return policy. So, if you won’t like riding them, no problem.

The HUNT’s crash replacement program is also worth mentioning. You get a discount on your next wheels if you crash and damage your current wheelset.

Their disadvantage is the low rider’s weight limit, so they are not suitable for heavier riders.

These wheels come with tape, valves, spare spokes, and axle adapters.


You might also be interested in my roundup of the best road bike wheelsets.


ICAN 50mm Clincher Road Bike Wheels

ICAN 50mm clincher road bike wheels with grey decals

Main Features

  • Affordable carbon wheels
  • Ideal for flats or hilly terrain
  • 2-year warranty
  • Crash replacement program available

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher
  • Weight: 1460g
  • Rim width: 23mm (external), 16mm (internal)
  • Rim depth: 50mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 105kg (231lb)

This ICANs’ clincher wheelset is very light considering its low price. Additionally, thanks to the 50mm profile, it is still pretty aero. Therefore, I recommend it for flat and hilly terrain.

It will be a perfect choice for you if you are looking for an affordable carbon wheelset. ICAN is an established brand with plenty of experience in carbon manufacturing.

On ICANs’ website, you can opt for a freehub body compatible with Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo cassette, and also for spokes type.

Get Sapim CX-Ray if you count every gram or Aero CN 494 spokes if you care about speed (they are more aero optimized).

The biggest disadvantage of this wheelset is they are not tubeless-ready.

They come with quick-releases, brake pads, and rim tapes.

Use this ICAN discount code ‘cyclistshub‘ on www.icancycling.com during checkout to get 5% off your purchase.

Also available at icancycling.com


My Verdict

Based on my research and evaluating owners reviews, the following wheels are worth buying:

  • Superteam wheels (also available in a UCI-approved option) – the best budget carbon road bike wheels. They will surprise you with their great built quality and riding performance. These 50mm wheels are ideal for various types of terrains, including flats, hills, or climbs.
  • Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 (also available at jensonusa.com) – the best budget aluminum road bike wheels. If you look for an affordable, proven, and durable wheelset for climbing or hilly terrain, this is the one to buy.
  • Mason X Hunt 4 Season Disc wheelset – the best budget road bike wheels for disc brakes. Great performance and benefits like a 3-year warranty, 60-day return policy, or crash replacement policy make this wheelset a go-to option if you look for a disc brake road bike.

How to Choose the Best Budget Road Bike Wheels?

This buyer’s guide teaches you what to look for when choosing budget road bike wheels around $500.

I will explain the types of wheels, their features, and other areas to consider before you decide to spend your money on a new wheelset.

Wheels for Disc or Rim Brakes

The first choice that will narrow down the selection is to look for wheelsets for rim or disc brakes. Nowadays, most road bikes use disc brakes (source).

Wheels for rim brakes use quick-release while disc brake wheels a through-axle (also called thru-axle).

Quick release vs. Through Axle side by side
Quick-release vs. through axle (thru-axle)

Keep in mind to also choose the right thru-axle standard. The front thru-axle is standardized at 100mm x 12mm. However, rear thru-axles may differ:

  • 142mm x 12mm
  • 135mm x 12mm
  • etc.

To find out your thru-axle, check out your bike’s manual or measure the thru-axle with a caliper and meter.

Clincher vs. Tubular vs. Tubeless

Wheels exist in three basic types.

  1. Clincher
  2. Tubular
  3. Clincher (tubeless-ready)

Budget road bike wheels (around $500) are almost always clinchers. Sometimes, they are clincher tubeless-ready.

Illustration of different types of wheel profiles (clincher vs. tubular vs. tubeless)
Clincher vs. Tubular vs. Tubeless Tires

Clincher

Clinchers are the most widespread type of wheels/tires. The tire is supported by an inner tube that can be made of rubber or latex.

They are easy to maintain because the tire (or inner tube) is easy to replace. They also tend to be cheaper.

Their main downside is that they are more prone to puncture. You cannot inflate them to lower pressures and ride safely.

NOTE: If the wheels are ‘clincher tubeless-ready,’ you can use them with tubeless tires (read more).

Tubular

Tubular tires are common among higher-end wheelsets. They are widespread among pro riders.

Tubulars allow you to inflate lower pressures that contribute to better riding comfort. They are also less likely to puncture.

The main downside of tubular tires is their maintenance. It is more complicated than clincher maintenance because you have to glue them on wheels.

Tubeless

Tubeless tires are the most modern ones. Some budget road bike wheels are tubeless-ready. They are like clinchers but use sealant instead of the inner tube.

Their benefit is their self-repairing feature. The sealant fills out small holes, so your tire won’t lose too much pressure. If the hole is too big, the sealant won’t help you, though.

Tubeless tires also allow you to inflate lower pressures (like tubular), so they are more comfortable and less prone to puncture.

The main downside of tubeless wheels/tires is their higher price.

Wheel/TireProsCons
Clincher• Easy to replace
• Easy to repair
• More prone to puncture
• Heavier than tubular or tubeless
Tubular• Allows very low and high tire pressure
• Less prone to puncture
• Lightweight
• Difficult to replace
• Difficult to repair
• More expensive than clincher
Tubeless• Allows lower tire pressure
• Self-repairing capability (sealant
fills out small holes)
• Difficult to replace
• Difficult to repair
• More expensive than clincher
Sources: theproscloset.com, cyclingtips.com

Rim Depth

The shape and the depth of the rim influence aerodynamics. The general rule of thumb is that the deeper rims, the more aerodynamic and faster wheels. But of course, other factors like spokes, wind direction, etc., also affect wheel efficiency.

Climbers often choose shallow rims because of their lower weight. A rim depth of around 45mm is a sweet spot for most riders.

Rim depth vs aerodynamics (the deeper wheels, the more aero)
Rim depth vs. aerodynamics

If you want to learn more about wheel aerodynamics, I recommend watching the following video by Hambini. I put a time stamp there, so you don’t have to watch the whole video.

Rim Width

The rim width also affects how wide the tires you will be able to fit on the bike. In general, wider, high-volume tires are more comfortable.

In the past, riders used narrow, 19mm, or 20mm tires on their road bikes. But over time, studies have shown that wider rims and tires (25mm and 28mm) are faster, more comfortable, and more efficient.

The rim width is given as the inner rim width. However, the outer width is also important for road cycling because aerodynamics plays an important role.

Illustration of the inner and outer wheel rim width
Rim inner & outer width

You should choose the tire width based on the ‘Rule of 105’:

The Rule of 105 states that the rim must be at least 105% the width of the tire if you have any chance of re-capturing airflow from the tire and controlling it or smoothing it.(Source)

In other words, if the outer rim width is 29.4mm, you should use 28mm tires to maximize aerodynamic benefits.

However, if you don’t count every second, you probably won’t notice the differences.

Tire WidthMinimum Rim Width
20 mm21 mm
21 mm22.05 mm
23 mm24.15 mm
25 mm26.25 mm
28 mm29.4 mm
Tire and minimum rim width based on the Rule of 105

Weight

The wheelset weight depends on:

  • Material (usually aluminum/alloy or carbon)
  • Rim depth
  • Rim type
  • Hubs
  • Spokes
  • etc.

Good budget road bike wheels (e.g., wheels around $500) should weigh between 1450g and 1700g.

Keep in mind that the lower weight doesn’t always mean a better choice. If you are a heavier rider, you should sacrifice a few grams for better stiffness and rigidity.

Cassette Compatibility

To avoid an unpleasant surprise that your cassette doesn’t fit the freehub body of your new wheelset, make sure it is compatible.

Shimano and SRAM cassettes are interchengeable. But if you plan to use a Campagnolo groupset, you have to opt for Campagnolo compatible hub.

Other Features to Consider

Weight limit – wheels have their weight limits. If you are a heavier rider (no offense), make sure you don’t buy wheels with a low weight limit. You could damage them, and in the worst-case scenario, they can fail, and you can crash.

HubsBudget wheels usually come with heavier lower-end hubs and use cheaper bearings than high-end wheels.

What is included in the package – Carbon wheels often come with rim tape, valve extender, brake pads, extra spokes, etc. These small “things” are a nice detail that will save you time and money because you don’t have to order them separately.


Budget Road Bike Wheels FAQ


This post is regularly updated to provide you with the most up-to-date tips on products. If you find a product that is not up to date, please, contact me.

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