how to choose bike wheels

If the frame is the soul of a bicycle, then the wheels are the legs. The wheels are mainly composed of rims, hubs, spokes and nipples. Their combination and the lacing ways of the spokes together affect the performance of the bike wheels.

How to choose bike wheels? We generally take into account the weight, strength, rim depth, aerodynamics, smoothness and braking performance, while evaluate whether the price is affordable. Then we choose suitable bike wheels accordingly.


how to choose bike wheels Weight

The weight is perhaps the top consideration for a new pair of wheels, and this characteristic is the most significant factor affecting the overall weight of the bike, as well as the easy part to reduce weight.

The pure weight of wheels is only a static indicator, which is more valuable for climbing.

In general, the front hub weighs about 80~110g, the rear hub is 200~270g, the spoke is about 6~12g each, the weight of steel or aluminum nipple is about 0.5g, and the copper nipple is around 1g. Because of different specifications and materials, the rim weight changes greatly. For roughly calculating, the complete wheels is common between 1100~1800g.


how to choose bike wheels Strength

The strength of a wheel depends on several factors, such as rim strength, number of spokes, spoke tension, and hub strength.

Comparing the rims in same material, the deeper the rim, the greater the strength. The more spokes, the higher the tension of the spokes and the stronger the strength of wheels. At the same time, if the hub strength is higher, the transmission efficiency of wheels is better.

As you expected, the price of lighter and stronger wheels will be also higher. In general, the carbon fiber wheels can provide the best performance in the bike racing.

Depth of Rim

how to choose bike wheels Depth of Rim

For the shallow section wheels, when the spokes pass through the air or break the wind, they create eddy currents, which will slow the bike down and cause an additional effect on handling.

While for deep section wheels, the eddies currents are reduced, because the air flows through a solid and smooth surface. In addition, the deep section wheels are stiffer and have better feedback on acceleration and power output.


how to choose bike wheels Aerodynamics

The deeper the rims, the better the aerodynamics. Of course, the disc wheel is the best. The less the number of spokes and the flatter the spokes, the better the aerodynamics too.

However, there is a price to pay for better aerodynamic characteristics. When we are against the wind, we can break the wind like an arrow. But if we are facing crosswind, the wind works like a wall to prevent us from riding forward.


Ceramic Bearing

The smoothness mainly depends on the number, size and quality of the hub bearing balls. The smoother, the less friction on bearings and the more labor-saving.

At present, the smoothest bearings is the ceramic bearing, because its balls are much rounder, smoother, harder and more uniform in size than steel bearings. At 40km/hr, the power loss can be reduced by 0.8-1.0 watt.

Braking Performance

how to choose bike wheels Braking Performance

The braking performance of aluminum wheels is better than carbon fiber wheels, as well as heat dissipation. If with CNC or ceramic coating, it will work well even in the rainy days.

Carbon fiber wheel is poor in heat dissipation, and it requires special brake pads. Its braking performance (rim brake) will be attenuated on long downhill road. But relatively speaking, the carbon fiber wheel is lighter than aluminum wheel. You can view another article “Carbon Wheels vs Aluminum, Which is Better” for more details.

In general, lighter weight bike wheels are easier to accelerate, and better aerodynamic ones can help you maintain high speed cycling. For MTB wheels, the strength is priority. And for road bike wheels, the light weight is preferred. How to choose bike wheels ultimately depends on your budget and your riding conditions.

If you have any requirements of carbon fiber wheels or rims recently, please view our products to see if we have a product that meets your needs. If your preferred specs are not listed, you can leave us a message through

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