Your stock road bike wheelset does the job but may not be the greatest.
Depending on the bike’s cost, more may have gone into a higher-specced frame and drivetrain rather than the wheelset. The wheelset has a significant influence on your cycling experience and performance and can be upgraded without blowing a hole in your wallet.
This article covers the leading wheelset brands you can choose from.
Zipp was founded in 1988 and is owned by SRAM. In 2010, Zipp introduced the first carbon wheelset during the Spring Classics for professional cycling. Zipp makes versatile and energy-efficient wheelsets with wider rims, and tubeless tires run at lower pressures.
Whether tubeless or clincher, Zipp has an extensive range of wheelsets for your riding style. You can use their handy tool to choose which wheelset matches your objectives. They also have an easy-to-read chart that breaks down each model by budget and discipline.
- Zipp 303 Firecrest is arguably the best all-rounder wheelset for road endurance, cyclocross, and gravel riding. This carbon wheelset weighs 1,352g and is only available in tubeless and disc brakes.
- Zipp 303S is a strong contender for demanding disc riders on a budget. It’s slightly heavier at 1,530g.
More reading : Zipp 303, 404, 353 and 454 – Which is Better?
Established in Osaka, Japan, in 1921, Shimano created the first single-speed freewheel in 1951 and has always been the primary antagonist to Campagnolo.
For many years, progressive cyclists rode Shimano, and traditionalists, Campagnolo. Today, labels have been set aside, and both brands have a thriving following.
While Shimano has an excellent reputation for its high-end wheelsets like the DuraAce series used by pro cyclists, their mid to lower-end offerings are among the best value-for-money wheelsets on the market today.
Enve is synonymous with carbon quality, speed, performance, and aerodynamics, but it comes at a price. Enve’s engineers constantly break carbon technology ground with their popular, award-winning products.
Enve makes excellent wheelsets, components, and now even custom bicycles. The wait is a year for delivery, and you’ll pay a pretty penny, but you’ll have the last bike you ever need.
Campagnolo is an emblematic brand with deep roots in cycling history, was founded in 1933 by Tullio Campagnolo in Vicenza, Italy. Campagnolo invented quick-release and derailleurs and makes everything for bicycles, including performance alloy and carbon wheelsets for rim and disc brakes.
Campagnolo wheels are versatile since their freehub body hasn’t changed, meaning 9, 10, 11, and 12-speed cassettes work perfectly. Compatible hub bodies are sold as replacement parts if you love their wheels but ride Shimano or SRAM. However, their disc and brake systems are not interchangeable and must be Campagnolo.
HED is one of the oldest names in the bike industry. The American company known for aerodynamic innovation introduced the first disc and aero-spoked wheels to racing in the 1980s. Their wheelsets continue to evolve, adapting to the demands of today’s road cyclists. HED was an early advocate of the wider rim movement.
If you’re already a rim-brake HED customer but are now on discs, you can trade in your older HED rim brake wheels for a new disc set and save up to 40%. Bravo to this customer-focused program that breathes new life into money and confidence already invested in the brand.
DT Swiss is an iconic Swiss brand that rings quality in cyclists’ ears. DT comes from an abbreviated version of their original name, Drahtwerke Biel. Primarily known for hubs and spokes, DT Swiss manufactures high-performance bicycle components in five countries.
DT Swiss is well-known for its wheelset hubs thanks to its star ratcheting system. Following the success of their hubs, DT Swiss built on its excellent reputation and translated it into making sophisticated performance carbon wheels.
Roval wheels were first made in France in the 1970s by Claude Lanhauer. He laid the groundwork for many of the principles used in bicycle wheel design today. Roval was purchased by Specialized in 2005 and comes with their S-Works range of bikes.
Call this division Roval and not Specialized, as they hope to develop the brand into separate OEM (original equipment manufacturing) wheelsets for other labels.
Fulcrum has grown into a respected wheel manufacturer that makes alloy and carbon wheelsets for rim and disc brakes.
Did you know Fulcrum is a sister brand to Campagnolo? Fulcrum was launched to meet the needs of Shimano and SRAM drivetrains without defaming the Fulcrum name or reputation.
Fulcrum wheels are lightweight, reliable, made to perform in all conditions, and match every budget and discipline. Fulcrum wheelsets are tubeless compatible for improved rolling resistance, comfort, and performance, and Fulcrum high-end wheels come stock with ceramic bearings.
Whether carbon or aluminum is your thing,
- Fulcrum Racing Zero lineup is the most versatile and sought after among all its wheelsets. It’s 30mm deep, lightweight, and available in alloy and carbon versions for rim and disc brakes.
Hunt Bike Wheels
UK-based Hunt Bike Wheels are ridden by the professional team, Qhubeka-Assos. Hunt employees are also passionate about making wheels for devoted cyclists like you. All their wheelsets are tubeless-ready and designed with a purpose.
Hunt believes your time and money must yield results every time you ride. Cyclists in wet climates appreciate their waterproof grease that gives long life to their precision bearings. Hunt’s rims are U-shaped for aerodynamics and wider for improved rolling resistance. Hunt offers rim and disc brake rims in carbon and alloy.
- Hunt 52 Carbon Aerodynamicist pushes the boundaries of rim-brake aerodynamics and is fitted with Ceramic Speed low-friction bearings.
French brand Mavic has existed since 1889 but made its first bicycle rim in 1934. The search for an aerodynamic performance inspired its first wheel in 1973.
Mavic has had a bumpy ride recently, being sold and resold and losing its decades-old place as the neutral support provider in the Tour de France (Shimano took their place).
Alex Lee is the founder and editor-at-large of Mr. Mamil. Coming from a professional engineering background, he breaks down technical cycling nuances into an easy-to-understand and digestible format here.
He has been riding road bikes actively for the past 12 years and started racing competitively in the senior category during the summer recently.