Best Wheel Upgrade for Road Bikes

When it comes to upgrading bikes, new wheel upgrades tend to be high on the list. Even though there are plenty of components that can be upgraded, nothing can boost your performance on the roads when compared to brand-new wheels

With so many road bike wheel upgrades on the market, it’s easy to get lost or confused about which ones are the best for both your bike and your riding style. Below, we delve into a number of different popular road bike wheel upgrades at varying price points to help you find your perfect ride.

Our top picks 

Zipp 808 Firecrest Disc-Brake Wheelset

Starting with a wheelset at a higher price point, this Zipp wheelset is built for speed both in triathlons and time trials. They come with a wide carbon rim as well as ABLC Dimples that smooth the airflow over the wheel and through the frame. These wheel upgrades are German-built and the rear hub features 66 points of engagement that elicits quicker responses when it comes to your pedalling input. 

Built with Sapim™ CX Sprint J-bend spokes, this wheelset is a bike upgrade and a half. 

Price: £1999.99

Mavic Ksyrium SL Wheelset 

Under £1000, the Mavic Ksyrium SL wheelset is perfect for everyday performance. Super lightweight and durable, this wheelset weighs just 1400g and comes with aero spokes for high performance and control on the road. To top it all off, they offer a more dynamic ride as they’re both laterally stiff and vertically compliant. 

Spinergy Xaero Lite PBO 650/26” Wheels 

These Spinergy wheels are the perfect for wheels if you’re looking for an upgrade on a budget. Featuring Shimano hub fittings and Clincher tyre fittings, these black wheels are built to last. Both lightweight and strong with aluminium profile rims, these wheels are a proven race winner and are designed to keep the rotational weight down the speed up. 

Price: £274.99

Zipp 303-S Carbon Disc Wheelset 

Another up-market wheelset, these Zipp wheels come with an XDR driver body option and wide rims that optimise the tyre profile. The hookless rims also help to create a seamless transition to the tyre, which can reduce drag.

Alpina A5D 50mm/A3D 30mm Carbon Disc Brake Road Wheelset 

From our own popular Alpina brand, this 50mm/A3D 30mm Carbon Disc Brake Road Wheelset is great for the price. Weighing in at 850g, this wheelset comes with a 2-year warranty when you purchase through our site, and is tubeless compatible.

Price: £874.99

Campag Shamal Carbon Disc 2-Way Tubeless Wheelset 

This Campag Shamal tubeless wheelset comes from the popular brand Campagnolo and features a 2 Way fit that allows you to use clinchers or tubeless tyres without any taping. 

With a carbon rim, this wheelset is a great lightweight option when it comes to wheel upgrades and is currently on sale on our website. Although these wheels are on the steeper spectrum when it comes to wheel upgrades, they’re loved by professionals and novices alike making them ideal across the board. 

How to choose the best wheel upgrade for road bikes

Before looking at different types of wheels for your bike, it might be helpful to consider a few things about your riding style. How often do you ride your bike? What terrain do you ride on the most? And most importantly, what is your budget? These can help inform the type of wheels you choose for your upgrade. 

When it comes to the material, your wheels should complement your riding style. Most road bike wheels are made from either carbon or aluminium. Carbon wheels are ideal if you have a larger budget and want deeper rims, whereas aluminium wheels are ideal if your budget is tight and you want more durable wheels. 

If you’re unsure which type of tyre you wish to purchase, consider whether your riding takes place on more varied terrain or if it’s more niche. Clincher tyres are more compatible with a variety of bikes, but they can be heavier than tubular wheels. Tubular wheels have no rum sidewalks which reduces their overall weight. They come with no inner tubes and require more complicated maintenance, but are common among professional riders who ride at lower pressures. A tubeless wheel doesn’t have an inner tube and uses liquid sealant. 

Whichever wheel or wheelset you choose to upgrade your bike with, make sure you do your research and take into consideration any budget limitations.