Road Bike Carbon Wheels Buying Guide
When you start cycling, remember that this is a discipline that requires everything to be studied down to the smallest detail. Each element is taken into account in its weight, the material of manufacture, aerodynamics and of course, the central element of the bicycle is the wheel. All of these points will affect the performance issue. Whether it’s a road bike, a city bike, a mountain bike, an electric bike, a track bike or a triathlon bike, it’s very important to choose the best wheels.
For this time, we will look in the next few lines on the wheels. We will see in particular the materials of manufacture, in which we particularly attach the carbon road bike wheel. Why buy carbon wheels on a road bike? How to choose ?
Why choose carbon wheels?
Generally, according to the carbon wheels on road bike reviews that we have noted, we decide to turn to this very particular model of wheels for questions of performance optimization. The carbon wheels on a road bike are indeed made of carbon, their shape has been particularly studied for lighter and therefore unparalleled practicality. But that’s not all, because the carbon bike wheels also guarantee aerodynamics.
Many professionals and cyclists have tested the carbon wheels on a road bike, and are convinced of it until today. On the classics as on the big tours, the carbon wheels which are light, but robust, efficient and efficient have made the happiness of more than one mountain biker.
Besides, we don’t forget triathlon either. Nowadays, you can see in bicycle parks that almost all the bikes on offer are in fact fitted with carbon wheels.
So, if you plan to enter the world of cycling, sports racing, triathlon or just to have fun and keep fit at the same time, we recommend carbon wheels on road bikes. You will have plenty of time to appreciate the advantages that these very special wheels bring to the bicycle and to your performance.
How to choose the right carbon wheels on a road bike?
Carbon wheels are made up of several elements. These are the characteristics that will be listed as the criteria that you will have to take into account.
The carbon rim
In principle, the manufacturer presents its customers with a wide choice of carbon rims. It all depends on the activity you plan to undertake with your bike. You should know that this bicycle material is the main part of a wheel, it is the essential element to take into account first.
You have rims for high-end wheels, they are made of 100% carbon. They offer the best yields because they are very light.
You also have rims classified in the medium range. In this case, they are composed of both carbon and aluminum.
And finally, you have entry-level aluminum rims that are made of aluminum and covered with carbon that takes the form of a shell. If you are still just a beginner, we also recommend this model.
Tire or tubular?
Each model has advantages and disadvantages. At the very beginning, only the carbon wheels were fitted with hoses. Admittedly, these are models that are very resistant. If we refer to the performance side, many cyclists still choose cased wheels. The hose conforms better to the shapes, which means that it offers better grip and, as a consequence, better performance. But on the other hand, when you have to go to maintenance and repair, or if you have to change the wheels after a puncture, it takes a little more time. Besides, if you need help choosing a road bike tubular, we’ve written a guide that may be helpful to you.
A little later, we see the carbon wheels mounted on bicycle tires. They are of two kinds. You have the inner tube wheels. It is a model that wants to be practical, handy, because easy to maintain and repair. On the other hand, the weight is slightly higher compared to what we have with the tubeless and the hose. Then, as a second option, you have the tubeless tire. It is very resistant. But mounting can be somewhat complicated. You will also need to have a compressor.
The carbon wheel cassette
We speak of a cassette to designate the group of sprockets which is found at the rear wheel of a bicycle. The number of pinions will determine the number of gears. On average, you will be offered between 9 to 11 speeds.
You have multiple choices, depending on the material used to make the gables. They are made either of titanium or aluminum, chrome metal or even stainless steel.
Then the price will vary depending on the weight.
To choose the cassette, it is necessary to take into account the compatibility of the cassette with the rear derailleur and the freewheel.
The carbon wheel hub
This is the central part of the wheel. It includes a ball bearing which rotates the wheel on its axis. It is therefore at the hubs that the spokes are received. You also have models to choose from, depending on whether the hub is made of carbon or aluminum.
You can always decide to change the part, but in this case the operation may be somewhat complex. All the spokes will have to be dismantled before installing a new hub. It will also be necessary to make sure that the rim is well centered during installation.
Carbon wheel spokes
The spokes connect the rim and the hub. It is through the spoke tensions that the rim is centered right in the middle of the wheels, as well as the hub.
You have a small nut which is at the end of the spokes, which will allow you to determine the tension and adjust it. Depending on the model, the nut can also be located at the wheel axle so that the weight distribution is optimal.
You have several models of shelves on the market. But most often, you will be offered spokes which are made of steel and which adopt a round profile.
You have the other models which are made either of aluminum or of titanium. And you have 100% carbon, which of course is classified as high-end accessories. They have a flat profile, the goal is to provide the best possible aerodynamic system.
You can consult the comparison above before making your choice. You can opt for Mavic, Ican, or Shimano wheels. For example, the right pair of wheels with a depth of 50mm from Vcycle are made of carbon fiber. They are fitted with brake pads designed to suit the rim of the carbon road bike. You can also opt for models with a rim height of 35mm, 40mm, 60mm, etc. Shimano Dura Ace wheels are also popular. You can buy this cycling equipment in a bike shop or online. You can take the opportunity to buy essential accessories such as a bicycle helmet, shorts, leggings, etc.
What exactly are the advantages of carbon wheels on a road bike?
We’ll take you through the essential points which make buying road bike wheels simply an excellent investment.
You are probably saying that the aluminum wheels are just as light as these carbon wheels. However, in return, the rigidity and solidity of the aluminum wheels, in order to lighten them as best as possible, are reworked and minimized. On the other hand, carbon wheels on road bikes are a good compromise between lightness, solidity and rigidity.
The principle is as follows: light wheels are required. This is why cyclists often change wheels and are always on the lookout for what’s best. Today, carbon wheels on a road bike can make a big difference. They are mainly offered in high-end models.
The tendency is to think that carbon is a fragile material. We must get rid of this conception, which is completely false. In reality, carbon is much more resistant than you think. The road bike fitted with carbon wheels withstands shocks well and has been designed to absorb impact as well as possible. In practice, we find that aluminum is much more subject to deformation, as soon as a slight impact occurs. On the other hand, the carbon wheels on road bikes will keep their initial shape. And then, it must be remembered that with the slightest damage to the aluminum, it will have to be replaced directly. While with carbon, we can always consider repair.
The carbon wheels on a road bike are versatile and suitable for all trails. You have both light wheels, which allow you to gain or stabilize speed and which will accompany you well up the slopes. You have a multitude of choices, the manufacturers have prepared for all eventualities, for all needs and for all profiles.
To appreciate, improve performance and above all, to gain speed, driving comfort is an essential criterion. This is a point that has been particularly highlighted on carbon wheels. When you are on difficult terrain, the carbon wheels have been designed to absorb imperfections. In this way, the impact remains less.
For reasons of weight, the manufacturers could not design tall aluminum rims. By reaching a certain speed, the inertia created by high-profile wheels can make a big difference to a cyclist. This is precisely what the carbon wheels offer to offer on road bikes. The speed will be kept constant and high.
What could be the disadvantages of carbon wheels on a road bike?
Like everything, of course, apart from the advantages, there are also some disadvantages of carbon wheels on road bikes.
The multiplicity of copies
The cost is high and it is then that many manufacturers begin to look for ways to reduce it. They start producing carbon wheels on road bikes at a lower cost, but which are also of lower quality. At first glance, these are carbon wheels on a road bike. But be careful, because, in reality, these are just copies. This applies to both carbon wheels and carbon frames. And as you would expect, they will not last long and worse, it could be very dangerous.
The only advice we can give you is to trust the brand. Take care to choose carbon wheels from a well-known and proven brand.
This is a problem that you will be able to meet on almost all the wheels of these last generations. Fortunately, the issue has been addressed by the manufacturers who now offer solutions that aim to improve the skates and the braking system in general. But if you opt for carbon wheels on a road bike, you have to choose a specific brake shoe. It must in principle correspond with the wheels, you must ask the manufacturer or if not, generally, the wheels are accompanied by instructions to follow. If you have a bicycle with disc brakes, in principle, you will be able to find on the market wheel versions designed specifically for the system.
The design and development of carbon wheels on road bikes require a little more study and research. The reason why they also imply a rather high cost. And we must not forget, if we make a small comparison of carbon wheels on a road bike, we quickly realize that carbon is in itself a material that is quite expensive, especially compared to aluminum. This is why we recommend that you consult the comparisons available online to find cheap carbon bicycle wheels.
In short, when you have decided to buy this bike equipment, you have to think of the whole bike. It is a safe and sustainable investment, you will not regret it in terms of quality and performance.
What you need to know before buying carbon wheels
Now that you know the undeniable advantages of carbon wheels, it is important to know the elements that make up each wheel before you start a comparison or test. This will give you an idea when choosing the best wheels for your ATV. The rims, the shelving, the freewheel, the hub and the cassette are the elements to take into account when choosing the best carbon wheel.
The rim is certainly the most important part of the wheel. You will find that several comparison sites offer different types of carbon rims. This should not be overlooked especially if you plan to start a race against the clock or a triathlon. High-end wheels are often offered with carbon rims. Particularly light, the wheels with carbon rims offer better performance.
The hub is positioned in the center of the wheel. The latter has a ball bearing, steel or ceramic, allowing the wheel to turn on its axis. The fluidity of the bearings and the cassette body will determine the quality of the hubs. The aerodynamics of your carbon wheel will also be influenced by the hub, which therefore requires regular checking.
The cassette represents all of the pinions positioned on the rear wheel. The number of pinions determines the number of gears. By making a comparison, you will notice that the best standard cassette bodies have 9 to 11 speeds. If you choose a high-end cassette model, make sure that it is made of titanium or aluminum. During a test, you will note that the cassette body can make a freewheeling noise. However, this does not affect its quality in any way. To limit friction, choose a freewheeling system.
You will find the freewheel on the rear wheel axle. The latter prevents the wheel from locking up as soon as you stop pedaling. Note that freewheeling is absent on track bikes. The spokes, on the other hand, will be based on the aerodynamics and stiffness of the carbon wheels. A wheel with many spokes will be much more rigid. The fewer spokes a wheel has, the more aerodynamic it will be.
Which wheel for which type of activity?
To make a comparison on the best carbon wheels, it will also be necessary to determine the type of terrain and the activity that you plan to do. In fact, the choice of carbon wheel will not be the same if you plan to follow the mountain tracks or do time trials. If you plan to cycle the mountains, put more weight on it. Wear your choice on carbon wheels with low rims less than 25 mm.
Wheels with high rims will be recommended for time trials. For flat or hilly terrain, make a small comparison on the best versatile carbon wheels with a rim height of 30 to 50 mm.