Road Bike Wheels – Everything You Need to Know

road bike wheels

Road Bike Wheels and best bike us more valuable any cycling – Everything You Need to Know

The wheels on your racing road bike wheels are your first point of contact with the ground and thus one of the most important parts of the bike. Especially the ride comfort depends to a large extent on the quality of the wheels and best bike us to essential. Of course, the powertrain and the frame also have some impact on the ride and ultimately the performance, but the wheels are the first components that absorb the road’s vibration, feel the road’s profile and, most importantly, your power brings to the road and convert into propulsion.

It is therefore extremely important to choose the right rims for your riding style and to have a wheelset that is both durable and performing.

That’s why many start upgrading their racing bike with the wheels. The benefits may include faster top speeds, more direct handling, better aerodynamics, lower weight, and/or longer life, but it may not always make sense to buy more expensive road bike wheels. In our buying guide, we’ll explain the key factors that make up an impeller and what to look for when buying it to get the best possible performance upgrade.


The structure of the impeller

The road bike wheel consists of four main components, all of which affect the weight, performance and durability characteristics. An upgrade usually results in a change, which is why we want to give you some information about the components of an impeller on the way.

  • Rim: The rim gives the wheel its shape and sits at the outer end of the wheel. The most important functions are the absorption of the tire and the provision of a braking surface for racing bikes with a rim brake. The rim width determines the width of the tire and is crucial for the ride comfort. The quality of the material of the rim or the brake surface is noticeable in the braking performance.
  • Hub: The hub of the wheel sits in the middle and acts as a rotation axis. At the rear wheel, the hubs still have splines to which the shift cassette is attached. This is controlled by the best bike us to bicycle chain and sets the rear wheel in motion. The rears hubs come on racing bikes almost exclusively with a freewheel, except Fixes.
  • Spokes: The spokes connect the hub to the rim, providing the necessary stability. The number of spokes varies depending on the front / rear wheel, the latter usually having a higher number in order to increase the rigidity. The bike becomes more robust, but of course heavier. The material of the spokes differs depending on the manufacturer and price range, the shape optimizes either the stiffness or aerodynamics, in rare cases, both. Usually, the spokes of a road bike impeller made of steel wire, the diameter is different, however, often.
  • Spoke nipples: The nipples attach the spoke to the rim and allow adjustment of the spoke tension. The spoke tension should be as even as possible to allow a straight run of the wheel.


What distinguishes good wheels

It’s actually quite simple. A good wheelset for the road bike should have reliable hubs, provide safe braking, have enough rigidity for efficient power transmission and, of course, be extremely light.

Since all these properties rarely match optimally, and if they do, cost a decent bar of money, one should select its road bike wheels according to the intended use. While some wheels tend to focus on keeping the weight down (not as heavy as they are for example), others score better with improved aerodynamics and stiffness for a few 100 grams more. That’s why we distinguish three classes of road bike wheels:

Lightweight wheels should be as the name already announced above all one – extremely light. That’s why they have flat rims and fewer spokes. A positive side effect is that the lightweight rims offer more comfort and compliance compared to higher, more best bike us aerodynamic models. High-quality lightweight wheelsets generally weigh less than 1,400 grams, and the high-end models can handle less than a kilogram.

Aerodynamic wheels are on the other hand to a minimum wind resistance and use very high rims (> 40 mm), which are getting wider and wider in recent times. The higher speed is mainly due to a higher susceptibility to side winds, more weight, and a slightly ponderous handling.

Who does not put so much on performance, but rather uses his road bike as a training device or commuter bike, is also quite good with the usual standard wheels. The rim made of aluminum ensures better braking performance in wet weather than the top models with carbon and the higher number of spokes provide extra stability. In addition, the rims are wider in order to raise larger tires can. Accordingly, the road bike wheels are then a lot heavier, between 1,500 and 1,800 grams on average. Wheels for touring bikes, which can still load additional luggage, are often built by hand and have up to 36 spokes with a weight of about 2 kilograms.


The material of the rims

Most racing bike wheels for beginners and advanced use the heavier aluminum material, while professional wheels are made of lightweight and extremely stiff carbon fiber. The biggest benefit of aluminum wheels is better breaking performance, both on wet and on long runs, where the carbon rims develop high heat which reduces the braking force. To get the best out of both worlds, some manufacturers offer carbon wheels with aluminum surfaces.


Rim brake or disc brake?

The trend towards the disc brake is apparently unstoppable. Of course, the development away from the classic rim brake also opens up new possibilities in the design of the frame and the wheels. The big advantage of this is that disc brake wheels need not have a brake pad or specific width to fit in the often very tight clearance between the fork and the frame. The profile can be modified to achieve aerodynamic and performance benefits.

The downside, on the other hand, is that the wheels have to digest the higher braking forces and therefore rely on higher stiffness. This means more spokes and special hubs, both of which bring a greater weight. Especially carbon wheels to best bike us benefit from the disc brakes, because they no longer have their major drawback, the poorer braking performance compared to aluminum versions.


Dimensions of the impeller

The width and depth (or height) of the rim are an important indicator of the driving experience with a road bike wheelset. The current trend towards wider rims improve road bike wheels the aerodynamics and comfort of the bikes. This goes hand in hand with the development towards larger tires that allow less rolling resistance and more comfort with less tire pressure.

The rim width is measured either on the inside or the outside, which can occasionally cause some confusing information. As a rule of thumb, it can be noted: If the measure follows a “C”, it is always the distance on the inside. By today’s standards, narrow rims are all under a width of 15mm, while wide rims start with a width of 17mm. The counterpart to this is the outside measured distances of 19mm (narrow) and 22mm (wide). The distance on the inside and outside is highly dependent on each other, with the outside rather the aerodynamics, the inside rather affects the comfort and rolling efficiency.

The depth of the rim influences above all the aerodynamics of the wheel on the racing bike and the handling of the bike. Here is the rule – the lower the rim, the better the aerodynamics, but more difficult handling. Especially crosswinds make such wheels difficult to manage. In addition, the additional best bike us weight manifests itself in a lower compliance. The depth of the high rims is depending on the manufacturer at least 40mm, up to Spitzenwerden of about 80mm.


The Spokes

There are three important factors in the spokes, which differ significantly depending on the purpose and price range: number, shape, material. Many spokes provide greater ruggedness and reliability but make the wheel heavy. The material ranges from steel and aluminum to carbon and titanium – but the most common are steel spokes.

The number of spokes on the front and rear wheels varies; with the road bike wheels in the rear always have more spokes, since they have to withstand a higher load. A lightweight front wheel usually has between 18 and 24 spokes, the rear between 20 and 28. Comparing these numbers with the beginnings of road bike wheels, where 30 to 40 spokes were installed, it becomes clear the benefits of improved materials and manufacturing processes Offer.

The shape is divided into flat and round, the former often being referred to as “bladed”, ie blade-shaped. They are designed to have less wind resistance due to their shape and are usually lighter without sacrificing rigidity. However, they are also more expensive.

Another important term for spokes is “butting”. In short, a “double butted” spoke has two different diameters, meaning that it thickens or thins in one direction. This has the advantage that they can withstand longer loads.


The freewheel

The freewheel on the rear wheel has two functions on the road bike wheel – on the one hand, the drive of the rear wheel and on the other hand, the possibility of idling. For example, a Fixit with fixed hub rear, it is not possible to idle, since the freewheel is missing.

Manufacturers use different freewheel types on their wheels, so you have to make sure when buying that they are compatible with your drive. For example, Shimano and SRAM components are compatible, as are Shimano and Campanology, but not SRAM and Campanology. Also, best bike us with regard to the number of sprockets you have to pay attention to the compatibility since not all freewheel types are downwards compatible here.



The price of road bike wheels is higher; the more high-quality components were installed. Even with the bearings inside the hub, there are high-quality differences. The material ranges from steel to ceramics, which are rounder, smoother and stronger than their metal equivalents. This reduces friction and improves performance. On the other hand, good steel bearings are significantly more durable than cheaper ceramic bearings.

In addition to the material, the lubrication of the bearings is an important factor for better performance. Too much friction in the bearings reduces performance and slows down the road bike wheels, which requires constant lubrication of the bearings.

If dirt, dirt or water (e.g. high-pressure cleaner) gets into the bearings, there is a lot of friction and the bearings may have to be replaced. High-quality bearings are characterized by a better seal and hold accordingly longer. The viscosity of the lubrication is also an important factor. Low viscosity results in less friction but deteriorates durability.

Bearings are differentiated into sealed industrial ball bearings and tapered ball bearings. The former usually last longer, have a better seal and are more precise to manufacture. The cone ball bearing can often be found on Shimano bikes of the entry-level class. Between the cone and the bearing shell, the balls roll on greased raceways. More prone to water penetration, the long-life tapered ball bearing retaliates when serviced regularly.


Tire types

Actually only step two after buying a wheel, it is important to know which tires you want to drive, because depending on the type of tire special rims are needed. A distinction is made in clincher tires, tubular tires, and tubeless tires.


Clincher / folding tire

Current practice in the tires for racing bikes is currently the clincher, which holds in its interior a hose that is felt with air. The tire is characterized by a reinforced with steel, wire or Kevlar tire bead.



The tubular tires use as the name promises a hose. However, this is sewn directly into the tire, which in turn is glued to the rim or otherwise secured. Professionals best bike us almost exclusively use the tubular tires because they save weight, offer less rolling resistance and have a better road bike wheels driving experience.

Tubeless tires

The tubeless tires come from the mountain bike sector and get more and more into the racing world. Trek has been using tubeless-ready rims since 2015, and Giant announced earlier this year that the company is launching its high-end 2017 models with tubeless tires.

Tubeless tires do not need a hose but rely on a special wheel design that allows a hermetic seal, so that the air is pumped directly under the tires.

The advantages over the clincher are a better rolling behavior due to lower friction, lower tire pressure for more comfort and better protection against panels.


Care and maintenance of wheels

  • Wheel Centering: A centered wheel is the nuts and bolts for durability and frictionless driving pleasure. Does not run the wheel straight or has a side impact, it grinds on the brakes and ensures a poor handling. If the rim does not run smoothly, the spoke tension must be checked and corrected. Use a matching nipple wrench and adjust the affected spoke in place of the lateral or radial stroke.
  • Replacing Brake Pads: Worn brake pads can tarnish brake performance and, in the worst case, damage your rims. Changing the brake pads is easy by hand and requires only Allen key and new pads.
  • Maintaining bearings: As mentioned above, bearing maintenance is road bike wheels important for a long life. Hobby screwdrivers can lend a hand themselves and disassemble, clean and lubricate the bearings. Others prefer to leave this task to the dealer. It’s a great deal of best bike us.
  • Inspect rim: with each brake cable, your rim closes. Check your rim regularly and look for any grooves or other marks that indicate your rim is worn and needs to be replaced.

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