Road Bikes Carbon Wheels Buying Guide


For bicycle parts, among the three attributes of hard, light and cheap, road bikes carbon wheels are the most suitable. When it comes to road bikes, if you already own a high-quality frame, the wheelset are your best upgrade project.

A Buyer’s Guide for Road Bikes Carbon Wheels–For those who are ready to upgrade wheelset.

There are so many wheelset options on the market, which one should you choose? Buying wheelset guide will help you!

As something that allows your bicycle to move forward. The wheel must have a slippery but reliable hub, high rigidity for precise steering, and a rim that can “grab” the tire under high pressure, and provide excellent braking power.

After achieving the above-mentioned foundations, it is best that it also has the characteristics of lightweight.

Upgrading your own road bikes carbon wheels that is more in line with the above characteristics is like injecting new life into the bicycle. Improvements include riding texture. Faster average speed, greater braking capacity or lighter weight, which are all things that help to ride faster. It may be confusing when buying a new wheel. After all, there are thousands of wheels to choose from. This buyer’s guide will help you know what kind of wheel you need. And understand the meaning of various functions and common terms.

road-wheelsRoad bikes carbon wheels introduce

Hub: It’s the cylindrical thing in the middle of the wheel. Everyone knows it. On the rear wheels, the hub has a ratchet structure, which allows you to stop and roll, but when you step on the pedals, push forward as needed. The hub includes an axle, which connects the wheel to the bicycle.

Spoke: Something that connects the hub to the rim like a wire harness. The number of spokes and material selection for each pair of wheels are important

Rim: The outermost part of the wheelset is it. The rim holds the tire and provides a brake edge for bicycles equipped with rim brakes. The materials are mainly aluminum alloy and carbon fiber.

Tire pad: Located on the tire mounting surface of the rim. Responsible for covering the spoke holes to prevent the spoke holes from pinching the inner tube after inflation.

What type of road bikes carbon wheels should I buy?

Just as there are more and more road bike categories (race, endurance, aerodynamic, adventure, gravel, etc.), there are similar categories of wheels. Knowing what type of rider you are and what you want will greatly simplify and narrow the options.

Road Wheelset Buyer’s Guide-For those who are ready to upgrade wheels

Once you narrow the range of options, your buying process will no longer hesitate.

Climbing wheel group

When climbing, you can directly feel the “heavy drag” of the wheelset, so the wheelset suitable for climbing is usually design to have a lower weight. Such wheels usually use lower rims. Another advantage of this wheel set is the riding texture. Generally, the higher the rim, the more steep the road feel feedback, so the climbing wheelset is usually smoother.

If the wheel weight is less than 1500g, and the rim height is less than 25mm, this kind of wheel is usually classified as a climbing wheel. If the budget is sufficient, a pair of ultra-light climbing wheels should be between 900-1300q. Due to the popularization of carbon fiber technology, there are not many “purebred” climbing wheels (gradually banned by 30-45mm, which has better aerodynamic and rigid performance).

For example, in the carbon wheelset 700C, there are 88mm Tubular Carbon Wheelset 700C 25mm Width and 38mm carbon wheelset 700C ect.

Comprehensive wheelset

The definition of a comprehensive wheelset is a wheelset with a rim height of 25-30mm. Its characteristic is that it is extremely versatile and can “walk the world in one round”.

The weight of the integrated wheels is generally between 1300-1600 grams, of course, the weight of the integrated wheels with carbon fiber rims is even lower.

Mid-profile rim pneumatic wheels

Pneumatic wheels have quickly become a popular choice because of their professionalism. Aerodynamic wheels usually have higher rims, with a typical aerodynamic rim height starting at about 35mm. In recent years, with the aerodynamic design improvements. These medium-profile rim wheels are currently in widespread use. Unlike some high-frame wheels (see below), the middle profile rim wheels provide a reasonable balance between low weight, riding quality and improved performance and wind groups.

High profile rims wheelset

When speed is the priority factor, the wind resistance of high profile rims wheels above 60mm is smaller. However, extremely difficult handling in crosswinds is the biggest problem with high profile rims wheels. This is why the mid-profile rims wheels have become the best choice in addition to time trials and high-speed sprints. The use of carbon fiber high profile rims group matches of people, usually have a set of training wheels for daily training.

Gravel/adventure/travel wheels

Riding on country roads or gravel, or commuting quickly, a good pair of traveling wheels should be similar to training wheels. The wheels must be versatile and easy to repair. For this type of riding, a high number of spokes (28-32) wheels are usually better.

What type of tires do I use for my wheels?

There are three types of road tires: clinchers, tubeless, and tubular. Each type requires a specific rim.


Clincher tires use a separate inner tube, which is a tire that stores air. This is the most common type of tire on bicycles. Generally speaking, where there is no mention of the type of tire, you can safely assume that it is a clincher.


Tubular tires are nothing new, although they also have an inner tube structure. The inner tube is stitched together with the casing and then glued to the rim. With this in mind, it is easy to see why tubular tires are most suitable for competition. Both tires and rims have extremely low dead weight, and in the event of a punctured puncture, few ordinary riders can simply (or reliably). Fix them on the road.


On carbon mountain bikes, tubeless tires have played a full role. More and more brands are beginning to promote its advantages to road bikes-tubeless structure, which can reduce the weight of the tire and reduce the resistance of the inner and outer tires during rolling, thus having more good rolling resistance performance. At the same time, tubeless wheels are also backward compatible with clinchers. After the tubeless tire is punctured not self rehydration. You can add an inner tube to continue riding.

Road wheel material

There are two common types of materials for modern road wheels: carbon fiber and aluminum alloy. Carbon fiber has become the standard for racing roads, where rigidity and weight have huge advantages. And the road bike discussion group has been improving.

What is the wheel diameter?

The standard road bike rim size is 700c, whose name comes from the approximate metric measurement of the diameter of tires that include pneumatic tires. Modern road bikes basically have a 700c wheel diameter, and a small number of small-sized female road bikes will use a smaller 650c wheel diameter. If you take a closer look at your road bike tires, you may see numbers such as 23-622 or 25-622. These numbers are the international tire size standards, the first number refers to the tire width (23c25c). The second set of numbers, in this case 622, is the bead seat diameter (BSD) of a tire design to fit a 700c rim.

Road rim width description

Although the 622mm bead seat diameter is an industry standard, the width of the rim is not available. Recently, the trend has tended to use wider rims because they provide greater inner tube air intake and better aerodynamic performance. For example, the famous carbon fiber rim 700C can provide a more comfortable riding texture, improved vehicle handling, lower rolling resistance and possibly less ground contact.

Shaft size

If your road bike was purchased or assembled in the past 20 years and braked with caliper rims, then it is likely to use 130mm wide rear wheel quick release gears (130QR or 130x9mm) and 100mm (100QR or 100x9mm) quickly disassemble the front wheel.

However, the introduction of disc brakes has greatly confused this point. There are now multiple standards for hub axles used in disc brakes, many of which are barrel axle designs borrowed from mountain bikes. It is best to refer to your bicycle brand website first to determine what standards your model uses.


The freewheel is located on the right side (drive side) of the rear hub and is used to install the flywheel in the transmission system and allow it to drive the rear wheels. Although most 11-speed freewheels are now backward compatible, for older wheels, you must careful to match the freewheel with your drivetrain speed and brand.

Rim brake road wheelset

Many road wheelsets are still design for rim brake calipers, which means that the rim must provide high-precision, high-strength braking edges. This is why most high-quality aluminum wheels claim to use “machined” brake rims-this ensures that the brake rim surface is uniform during manufacturing.

Over time, under harsh environmental conditions, the brake will not only consume the brake rubber, but also wear the brake edges. Damage to the brake side is very dangerous, because the high pressure of the road tire may cause the brake side to rupture and explode. Look for a small dimple or groove on the side of your brake. This is a wear indicator. When it starts to wear out and disappear, it’s time for you to change the rim or wheelset.

Disc brake road wheelset

The disc brake wheelset uses a hub with a disc brake rotor installation position. Since these discs exert a high force when braking, the disc brake wheelset usually has more spokes. Because the brake side reinforcement will produce extra weight, and the disc brake wheelset completely cancels the brake side, the disc brake rim is lighter than the general rim. It is worth noting that installing disc brakes on road vehicles is not as simple as “changing the right wheels”. Both the frame and the front fork must be redesigned for disc brakes. Please pay attention to whether your frame supports it in advance.


The spokes connect the hub to the rim. Generally, wheels with more spokes are stronger and more durable, but this will increase weight. The common material is stainless steel, and a few high-end wheels will use aluminum alloy spokes, and the once-flashing titanium alloy spokes, and some extremely high-end wheels will use carbon fiber spokes. The shape is divided into two types: round and flat.

A pair of high-quality wheels, the correct spoke tension is very important. Too loose, the spokes are too stretched, and constant bending will damage the spokes or the rim. Too tight will reduce the riding texture and increase the risk of the spoke cap cracking.

Finished wheels VS self-made wheels

It is often debated whether a finished wheel set or a self-made wheel is better. Confusingly, the finished product is actually handmade. However, the key difference lies in the fact that the hubs and rims of the finished wheels are customized according to the exact specifications and generally have better performance and durability.

Self-made wheels use a more classic method, in which hubs, spokes, spoke caps, rims and tire pads can  purchased separately.

Generally speaking, wheels for professional teams, whether it is climbing wheels or pneumatic wheels, basically use finished wheels. Because all major rounds of brand development and marketing must through sponsoring professional teams.

Buy second-hand road wheelsets

Expensive wheels can of course be sold as second-hand items. Just like a bicycle, the actual mileage and repair history of the wheels are the key to buying second-hand wheels.

The first step is of course to check the runout and runout of the wheel. Give it a spin, and visually make sure it does not “doop”. Also check whether there is any “jumping” in the longitudinal direction of the rim.

Rim: Check whether the brake surface is worn or not. The brake side is flat without unevenness. Look for signs of collision, and then check the entire rim for cracks, especially at the spoke holes.

Spokes: Check that all the spokes are straight and there are no gouges or scratches. Squeeze two spokes at the same time, all the spoke tension should be sufficient and even. Uneven tension is a sign of rim deflection, and it maintains its shape through spoke tension.

Hub: Hold the hub of the wheel rotating base. The bearing should rotate freely without any resistance or graininess. Then check if the tower body rotates smoothly. In addition, make sure that the tower body is compatible with your flywheel.

Glossary of road bikes carbon wheels

Asymmetricrim: Since the flywheel is on the right side of the rear wheel, the connection point between the spokes and the rear hub is shifted to the left. Therefore, the eccentric ring is design so that these offset spokes provide a more direct path to the rim, making the rear wheel stronger and harder.

Axle: The hub rotates around the axis, which is connect to the frame and the opening part of the fork. On road bikes, the axle is always hollow and is usually design to work with quick release rods.

Flat spokes (Bladedspoke): Flat spokes designed to reduce wind resistance. Flat spokes are very common in high-end wheels, and tools are need to assist in fixing the spokes when adjusting the circle to avoid deflection, which can allow for higher spoke tension.

Buttedspoke: You can see that the center of the buttedspoke is thinner than the outside. When the design is reasonable, the reduced diameter design can encourage the spokes to bend away from the weak point, so it can improve the durability while reducing the weight. Double reduction means two different diameters, and three reduction means three diameters.

Cartridge bearing (Cartridgebearing): In this system, the bearing is a cylinder with ball bearings, and the inner and outer races are a unit. The outer ring is tightly pressed into the hub shell, while the shaft center contacts the inner ring. Bearings are considered vulnerable and vulnerable parts. After wear, they do not need to repair and replace the new.

CenterLock: Shimano spline system for mounting the disc to the disc hub.

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