The 14 Best Road Bike Wheels From Low to High-End + Buyer’s GUIDE (2023)

Best Road Bike Wheels: Group of riders with high-end wheels

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This article includes the best road bike wheels on the market. I spent dozens of hours researching and evaluating owners’ reviews to provide you with tips on:

  • Aluminum and carbon wheels
  • Shallow and deep-section wheels
  • Wheels for rim and disc brakes

I also have experience with some of the wheelsets included. Yes, I only tested some of them because big brands don’t sponsor me (yet, haha).

If you have no idea which wheels to choose, don’t worry. Feel free to read my guide on choosing the right wheels based on your needs and riding preferences.

Let’s dive in.

What Are the Best Carbon Road Bike Wheels?

The best carbon road bike wheels meet quality standards like ISO 4210, are UCI-approved, or are certified by 3rd party authorities.

They also should provide the right combination of weight, stiffness, aerodynamics, and durability, depending on your preferences, riding style, and the terrain you ride in the most often.

Read my buyer’s guide to learn more (e.g., how carbon wheels differ from aluminum wheels, etc.).

Lún HYPER 50mm disc brake version leaned against each other in the park
Lún HYPER 50mm DB wheels

Use this Winspace discount code CYCLISTSHUB10 at or during checkout to get 10% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email.

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Zipp 303 Firecrest 45mm deep carbon road bike wheel
Zipp 303 Firecrest

Zipp 303 S are similar but more affordable

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Farsports Ventoux S 45mm disc brake version leaned against each other in a park.
Farsports S 45mm DB wheels

Use the discount code CYCLISTSHUB150 at on the checkout page to get 150 USD OFF from wheels. Share this code via email.

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Skip to the comparison table…

Lún (Winspace) HYPER (Best Road Bike Wheels Overall)

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • One of the most popular Chinese wheels
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Carbon spokes
  • Well-built and durable
  • Ceramic or steel (HYPER SE) bearings
  • Worse crosswind stability
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Unique ‘butterfly’ finish
  • 2-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim or disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight
    • Rim brake: 38mm 1267g, 50mm 1349g, 65mm 1498g
    • Disc brake: 38mm 1343g, 50mm 1425g, 65mm 1608g
  • Rim width: 26mm (external), 19mm (internal)
  • Rim depths: 38mm, 50mm, 65mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 135kg (300lb)

The Lún (Winspace) HYPERs caused a stir online in 2020. Some people believe that the hype surrounding this Chinese wheelset is unwarranted, but I disagree. Check out my HYPER review for more details.

Numerous engineers and mechanics, such as Hambini, Peak Torque, Luescher Teknik, and others, have thoroughly reviewed this wheelset. They all came to the same conclusion: these wheels are exceptional for their price.

I’ve ridden hundreds thousands of kilometers on them, and they perform great.

The only minor drawback is their crosswind stability, which is not as good as on other wheels.

TIP: Read this article to learn why Winspace introduced the ‘Lún’ brand and the differences between HYPERs and Lún Road Series wheels.

You can choose between the rim or disc brake options and multiple rim depths depending on your preferences and the terrain you ride in the most often.

The packaging includes QR skewers and brake pads (for rim brake wheels), tubeless rim tape, tubeless valves, and valve extenders (for rim + disc).

You can choose from HYPER 2020 (the ones I reviewed), HYPER SE (the same as the ones I reviewed but with steel bearings), and HYPER 2023 (an improved version of HYPER 2020).

HYPERs come with a 2-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

Use this Winspace discount code CYCLISTSHUB10 at or during checkout to get 10% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email.

Zipp 303 S and 303 Firecrest

Zipp 303 S 45mm deep carbon road bike wheel
Zipp 303 S | Source:
Zipp 303 Firecrest 45mm deep carbon road bike wheel
Zipp 303 Firecrest | Source:

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Hookless rim design
  • Lifetime warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim or Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight:
    • 1538g (303 S) | Source:
    • 1355g (303 Firecrest) | Source:
  • Rim width: 23mm (internal), 27mm (external)
  • Rim depth: 45mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 115kg (253lb)

When it comes to mainstream wheel manufacturers, Zipp is among the first that most people think of.

Zipp’s 303 ‘S’ and ‘Firecrest’ series are some of the most popular due to their versatility, durability, and performance.

These wheelsets are not only perfect for road cycling but also for gravel. Their wider rim widths make them suitable for wider gravel tires.

The main difference between the ‘S’ and ‘Firecrest’ series is that the S series is more affordable but slightly heavier. According to Zipp, the Firecrest series is the best they offer and their wheels are faster.

Another notable feature is the hookless design of the rim bed. It offers several benefits, such as lower weight, a better transition between the rim and tire, and a lower risk of blow-off at high pressures*. Note that you also need to buy hookless-compatible tires.

*The maximum allowed pressure is 72.5 PSI. (Source)

Buying Zipp wheels is a status symbol since they are more expensive than many other brands. However, the price-value ratio is questionable.

On the other hand, the other major advantage of Zipp wheels is their lifetime warranty.

Farsports Ventoux S

Main Features

  • Meet ISO 4210 and UCI quality standards
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Carbon spokes
  • A large number of types and options
  • 2-year warranty
  • Crash replacement policy (35% off)

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim or Disc
  • Tires Type: 23mm (clincher), 25mm (clincher, tubeless), 27mm (clincher, tubeless)
  • Weight: Around 1400g depending on rims depth, width, and hubs
  • Rim widths: 26mm
  • Rim depths: 35mm, 45mm, 55mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: n/a

Farsports is a Chinese bicycle brand that has rich experience and produces high-quality wheels. They have been on the market since 2004, but they are not (yet) widespread in the US or European market.

However, their wheels belong to the most premium Chinese wheels available. The S series is one of the best they offer, with the more affordable C series coming with Sapim spokes and the more advanced EVO being more refined in every aspect.

Engineers and experts have reviewed and tested these wheels and agree that the in-house-made hubs and spokes are well-designed and high-quality.

When riding them, I appreciated their high stiffness and responsiveness (read my Farsports Ventoux S review for more info). They maintain speed well on flats and are more stable in crosswinds than, for example, HYPERs. They also have a cool “whoosh, whoosh” sound.

Although they are not UCI-approved because Farsports hasn’t applied for this certification, they meet UCI quality and ISO 4210 safety standards.

Farsports wheelsets come with a 2-year warranty and a crash replacement program. If you damage your wheels during a crash, you can get a 35% discount on the next pair.

Use the discount code CYCLISTSHUB150 at on the checkout page to get 150 USD OFF from wheels. Share this code via email.

Are these wheelsets too expensive for you? Check out the best road bike wheelsets under $1000.

Shimano Dura-Ace

Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 C40 wheel (disc)
Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 C40 | Source:
Shimano Dura-Ace 9170 C24 aluminum/carbon front wheel (rim)
Shimano Dura-Ace WH-R9100 C24 | Source:

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Tubeless-ready
  • 3-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim or Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1630g (disc), 1450g (rim) | Source:
  • Rim width: (external)
  • Rim depth:
    • 9170: 37mm
    • WH-R9100: 21mm (front), 32mm (rear)
  • Rider’s weight limit: n/a

Shimano is a leading manufacturer of bike components and accessories, including wheels.

Their best line is the Dura-Ace, which includes the popular Dura-Ace 9170 carbon disc wheels and WH-R9100 carbon wheels with aluminum brake tracks.

Released in 2017, both wheelsets are known for their durability, longevity, low weight, and high stiffness.

The Dura-Ace 9170 disc wheels are 37mm deep, making them versatile for various terrains, including climbing and flat surfaces.

The WH-R9100 is preferred by climbers due to its lightweight (1412g) and shallow profile. The front wheel is 21mm deep, and the rear wheel is 32mm deep.

The rim brake wheels remain affordable. The disc brake version is more expensive.

Shimano introduced a new Dura-Ace line (R9270) in 2021, which includes 12-speed freehubs, new rim profiles, and other improvements.

Elitewheels DRIVE (Best Road Bike Wheels for Climbing)

Main Features

  • UCI approved
  • Available in multiple rim depths
  • Unique ‘raw-carbon’ finish
  • Very stiff and agile
  • Good crosswinds stability
  • Don’t maintain their speed as well as heavier wheels
  • Carbon spokes and ceramic bearings
  • Rim tape included
  • 3-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim or Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: Depending on spokes and rim depth (from 1260g up to 1330g)
  • Rim width: 28mm
  • Rim depths: 40, 50, and 65 mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: 125kg (275lb)

If you’re searching for lightweight and affordable road bike wheels, consider the DRIVE series from Elitewheels.

I tested these wheels and was pleasantly surprised by their quality and performance, given their affordable price.

The 40mm version weighs only 1260g, making them agile and responsive – ideal for punchers, climbers, or crit racers. DRIVE wheels are like sports cars.

They feature in-house designed hubs, carbon spokes, and ceramic bearings. If you like to stand out from the crowd, you’ll appreciate their unique, raw-carbon finish.

I also find their crosswinds stability pretty good – on par with Farsports S and much better than HYPERs.

On the downside, they don’t maintain speed as well due to their lower inertia. So, they may not be suitable for time trials or steady efforts.

They also stand out with a wider external rim width of 28mm, making the tire-rim transition with increasingly popular 28 and 30-mm tires smoother.

DRIVE come with included spare spokes, so you or your wheel builder can replace them if necessary. They are also UCI approved.

Use this Elitewheels discount code CYCLISTSHUB at on the checkout page to get 15% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email.

ENVE 65 Foundation Series

ENVE 65 Foundation Series 65mm deep carbon road bike wheelset (disc)
ENVE 65 Foundation Series | Source:

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Hookless rim design
  • 5-year warranty
  • Crash replacement program

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1641g
  • Rim width: 21mm (internal)
  • Rim depth: 65mm (45mm rim depth available)
  • Rider’s weight limit: n/a

ENVE’s Foundation series wheels are an excellent option for flat terrain riders, triathletes, and time trialists.

With a rim depth of 65mm, they may take longer to get up to speed, but they have better inertia than shallow or lighter wheels (like DRIVE), allowing them to maintain momentum.

If you find the 65mm rim depth too deep, you can opt for the 45mm version.

ENVE recommends using these wheels with 25 or 28mm tires to maximize aerodynamic benefits.

While the Foundation series is a premium wheelset, it is not ENVE’s highest-end series. For the latest and greatest, check out the SES series.

Keep in mind that the Foundation series has a hookless rim bed, similar to the Zipp 303. As a result, tire pressure is limited to 90 PSI, and you must purchase specific tires (learn more here).

The wheelset comes with an extended warranty of 5 years, tubeless valves, a roll of rim tape, and pressure relief valve stem nuts.

YOELEO SAT C50|50 DB PRO Wheelset

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Simple and clean design
  • Maintain their speed well
  • Comfortable to ride
  • Available in multiple rim depths
  • 3-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim & Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1560g (disc and rim)
  • Rim width: Optionable (23, 25, 27mm)
  • Rim depth: 50mm (more rim depths available)
  • Rider’s weight limit: 105kg (231lb)

YOELEO is a well-established Chinese manufacturer that produces high-quality carbon wheels, framesets, and accessories.

Their wheels are UCI-approved, so you can rest assured that there won’t be any issues with quality or safety. I can also confirm the great assembly quality based on my in-depth review.

I prefer using these wheels on flat and rolling terrain because they maintain their speed perfectly and are very stable in crosswinds, thanks to their weight and design.

They are a little softer than carbon-spoked wheels, making riding on harsh roads more comfortable.

By the way, Hambini tested YOELEO wheels, and they outperformed some more expensive wheels from mainstream brands.

YOELEO wheelsets come with a 3-year warranty, one pair of titanium QR + ceramic brake pads (rim), two extra spokes, and valve extenders.

Use this YOELEO discount code CYCLISTSHUB on during checkout to get 10% OFF your purchase. It’s also applicable to YOELEO Canada, Europe, and Japan. Share this code via email.


FLO 64 AS (Disc) 64.4mm deep carbon road bike wheelset with black/red decals
FLO 64 AS (Disc) | Source:
FLO 64 AS (Rim) 64.4mm deep carbon road bike wheelset with white/blue decals
FLO 64 AS (Rim) | Source:

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • Tubeless-ready
  • In-house designed hubs
  • Available in multiple rim depths
  • 2-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim & Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight:
    • Disc brake: 1878g
    • Rim brake: 1676g
  • Rim width: 21mm (internal), 28.3mm (external)
  • Rim depth: 64.4mm (more rim depths available)
  • Rider’s weight limit: n/a

I think every brand should follow FLO’s lead. Their main added value is that they publish data about their wheels.

For example, their 64 AS wheels only absorb 22.02 W with Continental GP 5000 tires at 22mph. In comparison, Mavic Open Pro Disc wheels absorb 30.94 W. Unfortunately, there aren’t many data samples to compare this value to.

These wheels feature in-house designed FLO Vortex 3 hubs with Japanese bearings and Sapim CX-Ray spokes. They are aero-optimized for 25mm, 28mm, and 32mm tires, and FLO even recommends using Continental GP 5000 tires.

The FLO website provides a detailed guide with recommended tire pressures based on tire width, weight, and pavement type. It’s useful and unique.

Aside from the performance benefits of their wheels, you will feel good about your purchase. FLO donates 1% of its sales to the Bike For A Kid program, which purchases bikes and helmets for kids in need. FLO also plants one tree for every wheel sold.

The AS series is available in other rim depths (49 and 77mm), and you can choose the sticker color.

The main disadvantage of these wheels is their higher weight, making them unsuitable for climbers but perfect for time trialists, triathletes, and flat terrain riders.

ICAN AERO 40mm Wheelset

ICAN AERO 40 gravel bike wheelset
ICAN AERO 40mm Wheelset (Disc)

Main Features

  • UCI-approved
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Available in multiple rim depths
  • Lightweight
  • 2-year warranty
  • 15% crash replacement

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim & Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1360g (disc), 1355g (rim)
  • Rim width: 18.4 (internal), 25mm (external)
  • Rim depth: 40mm (more rim depths available)
  • Rider’s weight limit: 105kg (231lb)

Looking for an affordable yet aero and lightweight wheelset? Look no further than ICAN’s AERO series.

ICAN is a trusted Chinese manufacturer with several wheelset series, and the AERO is their flagship offering.

You can trust in the quality and safety of ICAN wheels as they undergo rigorous internal testing and QA, and the AERO series is even UCI-approved for use in official events.

With options for both rim and disc brakes and rim depths ranging from 35 to 55mm, you can choose the perfect set for your riding style and preferences.

The wheelset comes with QR and brake pads (rim brake option), but unfortunately, the disc brake option doesn’t include thru-axles.

Choose from ICAN R01 or Novatec hubs, both of which perform similarly. Additionally, you get a 2-year warranty and a 15% discount if you crash with these wheels.

Use this ICAN discount code CYCLISTSHUB on during checkout to get 5% OFF your purchase. Share this code via email.

TypeBrakesWarrantyPrice RangeBuy
Winspace (Lún) HYPERfrom 1349gClincher*Rim or Disc2 years$$Check Price
Use 'CYCLISTSHUB10' code to get 10% off
Zipp 303 S1538gClincher*Rim or DiscLifetime$$Check Price (front)
Check Price (rear)
Zipp 303 Firecrest1355gClincher*Rim or DiscLifetime$$$Check Price (rear)
Check Price (front)
Farsports Ventoux-Sfrom 1290gClincher*Rim or Disc2 years$$$Check Price
Use 'CYCLISTSHUB150' code to get 150 USD off
Shimano Dura-Ace R9170 C401630gClincher*Disc3 years$$$Check Price
Check Price (
Shimano Dura-Ace WH-R9100 C241450gClincher*Rim3 years$$$Check Price
Check Price (
Elitewheels DRIVE1300gClincher*Rim or Disc3 years$$Check Price
Use 'CYCLISTSHUB' code to get 15 %
ENVE 65 Foundation Series1641gClincher*Disc5 years$$$Check Price
YOELEO SAT C50|50 DB PRO (Disc)1560gClincher*Disc3 years$Check Price
Check Price (
YOELEO SAT C50|50 PRO (Rim)1560gClincher*Rim3 years$Check Price
Check Price (
FLO 64 AS (Disc)1878gClincher*Disc2 years$$Check Price
FLO 64 AS (Rim)1676gClincher*Rim2 years$$Check Price
ICAN AERO 40mm (Disc)1360gClincher*Disc2 years$Check Price
Check Price (
ICAN AERO 40mm (Rim)1355gClincher*Rim2 years$Check Price
List of the best carbon road bike wheels that includes info about their weight, type, brake type, and warranty.
All wheels are UCI-approved except for Farsports Ventoux-S. This wheelset meets (and exceeds) ISO 4210 safety standards.

What Are the Best Aluminum Road Bike Wheels?

The best aluminum road bike wheels meet all necessary quality and safety standards, are durable, stiff, and have shallow rims of around 25mm. Aim for a weight as low as 1500g.

Click here to learn more about aluminum wheels and how they differ from carbon wheels.

Fulcrum Racing 3 C17 shallow aluminum wheelset
Fulcrum Racing 3 C17

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Shimano WH-RS500 rim brake wheelset.
Shimano WH-RS500

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

Read More

Skip to the comparison table…

Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500

Shimano WH-RS500 rim brake wheelset.
Shimano WH-RS500

Main Features

  • Affordable aluminum wheels
  • Excellent price-value ratio
  • 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)

Shimano is a top manufacturer of groupsets and their wheels are among the best on the market.

The Ultegra WH-RS500, released in 2019, are excellent aluminum wheels for climbers and riders who want durable, high-quality wheels.

Thanks to their well-designed construction, these wheels not only look great, but they will also last for years with minimal maintenance.

They are also tubeless compatible, so you can use them with tubeless tires and keep up with the latest trends.

Considering their price and the positive reviews from riders who have used them for thousands of miles, it’s hard to find better wheels than these.

Also available at

Fulcrum Racing 3 C17

Fulcrum Racing 3 C17 shallow aluminum wheelset
Fulcrum Racing 3 C17 | Source:

Main Features

  • Ideal for climbers
  • Highly durable
  • 2-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher
  • Weight: 1560g
  • Rim width: 22.5mm
  • Rim depth: 27mm (front), 30mm (rear)
  • Rider’s weight limit: 109kg (240lb)

Fulcrum has been manufacturing bicycle wheels since 2004. They have multiple road bike wheelset series with varying numbers. The lower the number, the higher the quality of the wheels.

The Racing 3 is a mid-range wheelset series, perfect for riders who want to upgrade their stock wheels or are looking for spare training wheels.

Owners claim these wheels are reliable, durable, and have reasonable performance. Moreover, they weigh about 100g less than Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500.

You can select the freehub body for Shimano/SRAM or Campagnolo cassettes according to your groupset.

Fulcrum offers a 2-year warranty against any manufacturing defects.

TIP: See these best budget road bike wheels.

HUNT 4 Season Disc

Mason X HUNT 4 Season Disc shallow aluminum wheelset
HUNT 4 Season Disc Wheelset | Source:

Main Features

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

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Disc
  • 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, established in the UK in 2015, is gaining popularity due to its direct-to-consumer model. This allows them to offer quality products at competitive prices.

One of their most popular models is the Hunt 4 Season Disc wheelset. It’s affordable, versatile, and durable.

This wheelset is compatible with tubeless tires and is also used on gravel bikes as it can fit up to 45mm tires and is durable.

The extended warranty, 60-day ride & return policy, and crash replacement program are nice bonuses.

Another noteworthy feature is the reflective decal, which improves visibility and safety in low-light conditions.

The main drawback of this wheelset is the weight limit of 100kg (220lb).

Included with the wheels are tape, valves, spare spokes, and axle adapters.

HED Ardennes RA PRO Disc

HED Ardennes RA PRO Disc aluminum road bike wheel
HED Ardennes RA PRO | Source:

Main Features

  • Affordable aluminum wheels
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Ideal for climbing
  • 5-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Disc
  • Tires Type: Clincher (tubeless-ready)
  • Weight: 1540g
  • Rim width: 21mm (internal), 25mm (external)
  • Rim depth: 25mm
  • Rider’s weight limit: n/a

HED is an experienced bicycle wheel company designing and manufacturing wheels since 1984.

They offer a variety of wheel types, from low-end for amateurs to high-end for pros.

The Ardennes RA PRO series is a mid-range line of wheels, ideal for riders who need road bike wheels that can handle rougher terrain like gravel or forest roads.

The rims of this disc wheelset are tubeless-ready, so you can use them with tubeless tires.

The in-house designed HED Sonic 510 hubs are connected to the rims with Sapim Sprint Round spokes for efficient power transfer and durability.

The major drawback of this wheelset is its higher price than most alloy wheels on this list. However, you do get an extended 5-year warranty.

Campagnolo Shamal Ultra C17

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Main Features

  • UCI-Approved
  • Lightweight – ideal for climbers
  • Aluminum rims
  • Carbon hubs
  • 2-year warranty

Technical Specification

  • Brake Type: Rim
  • Tires Type: Clincher
  • Weight: 1449g
  • Rim width: 22.5mm (ideal for 25/28mm tires)
  • Rim depth: 27mm (front), 30mm (rear)
  • Rider’s weight limit: 120kg (265lb)

Campagnolo is known for not only its groupsets but also its wheels.

The Shamal Ultra C17 wheelset is a great upgrade from stock wheels. Its weight of around 1450g makes it ideal for climbers.

Campagnolo achieved this lightweight design by using in-house designed carbon hubs and ceramic bearings.

Although you can choose a Shimano and SRAM compatible freehub, I do not recommend mixing Campagnolo wheels with a Shimano groupset – it would look odd.

Unfortunately, unlike the HUNT 4 Seasons, HED Ardennes, or Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500, these wheels are not tubeless compatible.

The Ultra C17 wheels are also available for rim brakes only. They come with a QR and a 2-year warranty.

Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 Road Wheelset1649gClincher*Rim2 yearsCheck Price
Check Price (
Fulcrum Racing 3 C171560gClincherRim2 yearsCheck Price
Hunt 4 Season Disc Wheelset1588gClincher*Disc3 yearsCheck Price
HED Ardennes RA PRO1540gClincher*Disc5 yearsCheck Price
Campagnolo Shamal Ultra C17 Wheelset1449gClincherRim2 yearsCheck Price
List of the best aluminum road bike wheels that includes info about their weight, type, brake type, and warranty. *Tubeless-ready

My Verdict

When purchasing new road bike wheels, there are many factors to consider. For instance, you may prioritize brand or performance based on your preferences.

I suggest considering wheelsets from lesser-known or Chinese brands to get the best value for your money.

Mainstream brands often charge higher prices due to their marketing efforts and sponsorships of professional cycling teams. However, purchasing from these brands may also provide a sense of social status.

Since road wheels can be complex and preferences vary among riders, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Therefore, review these lists and select the wheelsets that suit your needs and riding preferences.

I hope this article met your expectations. If it did, please share it with your friends or leave a comment below.

How to Choose the Best Road Bike Wheels?

Buying a new wheelset for your road bike can be a significant investment, so choosing wisely is essential.

Here’s my consolidated guide on how to choose the right road bike wheels.

Material: Carbon vs. Aluminum

When it comes to road bike wheels, you have the option of choosing either carbon or aluminum wheels.

But how do they differ, and which is better suited to your needs? Here’s a table of pros and cons to help you decide.

Wheels (Rims) MaterialProsCons
Aluminum (or Alloy)• More affordable¹
• Better braking performance in wet conditions or long descents (rim brakes)
• Durable
• Heavier than carbon wheels
• Not as stiff (assuming the same rim weight)
• Less aero
Carbon• Lightweight
• Stiff
• More aero (widely available in various rim depths)
• Look cool
• Less affordable²
• Worse braking performance in wet conditions or long descents (rim brakes)
• The braking track of the rim brake carbon wheels wears off over time.
This table compares the pros and cons of materials used for road bike wheels (rims).
¹The price of aluminum wheels ranges from dozens of dollars to $1500.
²The price of carbon wheels starts from around $300 and can easily exceed $2000.
Please, keep in mind that these price ranges may vary. I included them to give beginners a better idea of what they can expect.

Buy carbon wheels if:

  • You want a better performance.
  • You have a larger budget.
  • You like deep-section (aero) rims.

Buy aluminum wheels if:

  • You prefer better durability and braking performance over low weight and aerodynamics.
  • You need affordable training wheels.
  • Your budget is tight.

NOTE: There are also wheels with carbon rims and aluminum brake tracks. They are lighter than standard aluminum wheels and provide better braking performance than full carbon rims.

Brake Type: Disc vs. Rim

To further narrow down your options, you can choose between disc or rim brake wheels.

Disc brake wheels use a thru-axle (also called through-axle), while rim brake wheels quick-release skewer.

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

The thru-axle standards differ. Its dimensions for the front wheels are almost always the same (100mm x 12mm), but the rear wheels differ:

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

You can measure your thru-axle dimensions with a caliper and meter or refer to your bike’s manual to determine its dimensions.

Fun Fact: Did you know that around 85% of new road bikes in 2021 were equipped with disc brakes? (Source)

Clincher vs. Tubular vs. Tubeless

Another imaginary filter that narrows down the available options is the type of wheels/tires.

There are three types of road bike wheels:

  1. Clincher
  2. Tubular
  3. or Clincher (tubeless-ready)
Illustration of different types of wheel profiles (clincher vs. tubular vs. tubeless)
Clincher vs. Tubular vs. Tubeless Tires

I summarized their advantages and disadvantages in the following table.

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, quality sealant required)
• Tricky installation without an air compressor
• Difficult to replace
• Difficult to repair
• More expensive than clincher
Pros & cons of clincher, tubular, and tubeless wheels/tires


Clincher wheels are the most common type. They use an inner tube made of rubber or latex, which supports the tire that sits in the rim bed.

Clincher wheels are easy to maintain because you can easily replace the inner tube when you get a puncture.

Road bike tires for clincher wheels are also cheaper than tubular or tubeless tires. However, they are heavier than tubular wheels, and you cannot inflate them to as low pressures as tubular or clincher tubeless tires.


Tubular tires have no inner tube inside. They are glued onto the rims and inflated directly. They are popular among pro riders, but very few hobby cyclists use them.

Tubular wheels allow you to inflate lower pressures, which provides better riding comfort and puncture resistance. They are also lighter than clincher wheels because they don’t have a rim sidewall.

The main downside of tubular wheels is that replacing the tire is more complicated and messy than replacing a clincher tire or inner tube.


Tubeless tires are becoming increasingly popular. They do not use an inner tube like standard clinchers.

Instead, they use a tubeless tire that ensures the air won’t leak when the rims are tubeless-ready.

They are also filled with a sealant that seals any possible gaps and fills out small holes that may occur after a puncture.

Tubeless tires are lower-pressure friendly, which makes them more comfortable and less prone to puncture. However, they are more expensive than standard clincher tires.

Rim Depth

Rim depth is one of the most important features of wheels that influence aerodynamics and weight. The equation is simple:


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

Rim depths of around 45mm are the most versatile as they are aero while still being reasonably lightweight. They are suitable for flats and hilly terrain, and you can climb with them easily too.

However, if you’re a pure climber and want a bike that’s as light as possible, look for shallow rim wheels (around 25mm).

The following video by aerodynamics expert Hambini is a must-watch for all enthusiasts who want to learn more about wheel aerodynamics.

Explained: Aero Bike Wheels (Zipp Enve Mavic Fulcrum)

Rim Width

In the past, road bike riders used narrow tires (19mm or 20mm). But recent studies show that wider rims and tires (25mm and 28mm) are faster, more comfortable, and more efficient.

The width of the rim plays a crucial role in this. The wider the tires you want to use, the wider the rims you should choose.

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

The ‘Rule of 105’ recommends choosing the rim width as follows:

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)

For example, if the outer rim width is 29.4mm, you should use 28mm tires to maximize aerodynamic benefits. You may not notice the difference if you’re not concerned about marginal gains.

The table below shows the minimum rim width and tire widths based on the Rule of 105.

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

For those interested in learning more about the Rule of 105, I attached the following video with an in-depth explanation of this rule.

EP 0009 Rule of 105, Part 1
Explanation of the Rule of 105

Hooked vs. Hookless

When buying road bike wheels, you may encounter so-called hooked and hookless rims.

So, how do they differ?

  • Hooked rims have ‘hooks’ for hooking the tire.
  • Hookless rims don’t have these hooks.
A profile illustration of hooked vs. hookless rims
Hooked vs. hookless rims

Hookless rims are not very common in road cycling compared to mountain biking. They may not securely hold the tire due to the high pressures used in road cycling, which increases the risk of blow-off.

Additionally, not every road bike tire is compatible with hookless rims. As a result, many riders do not consider the advantages, such as the better transition between the rim and the tire and lower manufacturing costs, worth the downsides. (Source)


How much should a good road bike wheelset weigh?

While the lightest carbon road bike wheels can weigh under 1000g, such as the Meilestein Obermayer from Lightweight, a more realistic expectation is between 1300 to 1700g.

Cheaper aluminum road bike wheels weigh around 2000g, while the more expensive ones weigh around 1500g.

The weight depends on:

  • Used materials
  • Rim depth
  • Rim type
  • Hubs
  • Spokes
  • etc.

Check out my road bike wheels weight market research to learn more.

Remember, lighter wheels are not always better. They tend to be less stable in crosswinds and don’t maintain speed as well as heavier wheels. So, consider your riding style and the terrain you ride in most often.

Cassette Compatibility

When ordering a wheelset, choose a freehub body based on your groupset. If you have Campagnolo, you need a Campagnolo-compatible freehub. Shimano and SRAM cassettes are interchangeable.


The hub is the heart of a wheel, so it must be of high quality. Established and experienced companies like DT Swiss or Novatec make quality hubs, so you can’t go wrong with them.

However, many wheel brands have started designing their hubs in-house. If a brand takes this step, it says much about its expertise and experience. But, eventual repair or bearings replacement might be more difficult.


There are multiple spoke types shape- and material-wise.

Spokes Shapes
  1. Rounded (straight gauge) spokes are the most common and affordable. They are used on low-end and budget wheels. But, they are less aero and stiff than bottled or bladed spokes.
  2. Buttled spokes are a compromise between rounded and bladed spokes.
  3. Bladed spokes are the most aerodynamic. They are also stronger but can compromise crosswind stability.
Spokes Materials

When choosing road bike wheels, you will encounter steel or carbon spokes.

  1. Steel spokes are more affordable and common than carbon spokes but are not as durable.
  2. Carbon spokes are stiffer, have higher tensile strength, and are about 60% lighter than steel spokes. On the other hand, they are more expensive.

See the following video explaining the benefits of carbon spokes.

Carbon Spokes - How FRAGILE are they? 🙈


Once marginal gains stack up, they make a difference. One of these marginal gains is how far are the spoke nipples exposed.

There are 3 basic types of spoke nipple exposures:

  1. Fully-exposed nipples are the most common and great for maintenance but are the worst for aerodynamics.
  2. Half-exposed nipples are less common than fully-exposed nipples. They are good for maintenance and aerodynamics. It’s a great compromise between the other two.
  3. Hidden nipples are the best for aerodynamics but worst for maintenance (you have to take off the tire if you want to adjust spoke tension).
Detail on fully-exposed spoke nipples of carbon wheels
Fully-exposed spoke nipples
Detail on half-exposed spoke nipples of carbon wheels
Half-exposed spoke nipples
Detail on hidden spoke nipples of carbon wheels
Hidden spoke nipples


When speaking of a brand, I want you to realize the following:

“The brand is part of the price.”

Established, popular brands are more expensive because they invest heavily in marketing and sponsorships.

As a result, the cost of these activities is passed on to us. brands are more expensive on average than less-known wheel manufacturers.

However, the quality of wheels from less-known or Chinese brands can be just as good as those from mainstream brands that cost more.

So, if you’re not attached to a particular brand, consider looking at less-known alternatives.

Did you know?
Some bike/accessories brands also have wheel (sub)brands, such as Roval from Specialized, Zipp from SRAM, Bontrager from Trek, and Lún from Winspace.

What’s in the Package?

When buying rim brake wheels, ensure they come with four braking pads and quick-release skewers.

Disc brake wheels may come with thru-axles, but those are not necessary. Deep-section wheels should come with tubeless valves or valve extenders for inflating the tubes/tires.

Wheelsets should also come with rim tape and spare spokes. The spare spokes can be handy if one or more spokes fails, such as when hitting a deep pothole.

Extra Services (Warranty, Crash Replacement, etc.)

When spending a significant amount of money on new wheels, it’s important to have a warranty.

Most manufacturers offer at least a 2-year warranty, with some offering extended warranties of up to a lifetime.

Crash replacement programs, which provide a discount on your next wheelset if you crash with the current one, are a nice bonus if available.

Choose a brand with helpful and reliable customer support in case you need assistance.

Road Bike Wheels FAQ

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

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