Evans Cycles
Evans Cycles

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Mountain Bike Wheels

A new set of mountain bike wheels is one of the best upgrades you can treat your bike to. There's a wide variety of different wheel sets available and it's important to consider what you're expecting from the wheels to narrow down your options. If it's weight saving you're after then a lighter set of wheels can transform the performance of your bike; less rotational weight will improve acceleration and climbing, so is often the choice of the XC racers. It's always worth bearing in mind what sort of rider you are and also how heavy you are. A skinny race whippet might suit a skimpy set of hoops but for a weekend trail rider carrying a little bit more around the middle, or a rider regularly pushing their technical limits, then more durable wheels would be appropriate.

If you intend to use tubeless tyres then check the rims are suitable, and whether or not the tubeless valves are included. Another consideration is to select wheels according to the brake system your bike uses. 'Disc specific' rims do not have a braking surface so cannot be used with other styles of brakes such as V-brakes or cantilevers. For disc brakes the hub will need to offer compatibility either directly or via an adaptor with your disc rotors, for example a centre lock mount or 6-bolt mounting.

Road Bike Wheels

If you're going to spend any money upgrading a road bike the wheels is the place to start for maximum return for your investment. Lighter and more aerodynamic wheels can have a significant effect on speed and performance and in some cases a sluggish machine can be transformed into one that feels stiff and fast.

It may seem a mind-boggling amount of options, but it's easy to narrow down the choices where road bike wheels are concerned. First, decide on the tyre compatibility you require; either tubular or clincher. Next begin to match your expectations in terms of performance gain, with your riding style, body weight and budget. Super light wheels with deep rims made from carbon, very few spokes and minimalist hubs, can deliver fast acceleration, climbing performance and aerodynamics for maximum speed, but will be costly and might not last in the hands of a big and powerful, aggressive rider. Equally you wouldn't want a wheel like this for your daily commute, so unless you don't mind swapping wheels regularly, consider the practicality of where you will mainly be riding. There's plenty of choice available to find the right balance, a heavier rider can have light wheels, it just means selecting a model that offers superior stiffness and strength in the right areas through material choices and design.

Another option to consider is hand built wheels; this gives you the benefit of selecting specific individual components, such as high quality hubs or spokes to build to your specific requirements. Hand built wheels are often easier to maintain and repair so are highly suitable for training wheels. They are also the preferred choice for touring, especially as the number of spokes can be increased for additional strength and comfort.

Wheel Skewers

Wheel skewers or quick release levers run through the hub axle to clamp your wheel into the dropouts of the frame. They are absolutely essential to your safety. A loose wheel is an accident waiting to happen. Make sure your skewers clamp the wheel up tight and don't work loose during riding. Various finishes and materials are available to compliment your bike and there are many super lightweight options available.

Rim Tape

Rim tape is a basic essential; it lines the inside of the rim helping to prevent pinch punctures and punctures caused by sharp edges of the spoke holes. There are various options available from the traditional cloth tape to flexible, lightweight plastic options. If performance is critical go lightweight as anything adding to the rotational weight of the wheel will slow down your acceleration.
This story was last updated on 18/01/2012