How do I choose the right wheels for my bike?
There are several considerations to make when selecting the right wheels for your bike. Keep in Mind the following questions when choosing a wheelset:
What type of riding do you do? Aggressive sprinter, svelte climber, rolleur etc… The right rim, spoke count and lacing pattern, as well as hub quality can make a world of difference when built specifically for a specific type of riding.
Most of us want a wheel that can do it all. But hold on, there has to be a compromise, right?
Are you looking for a wheel that is durable, light, aerodynamic, or all three? The answer to this question is– how much do you want to spend? There is always a compromise that can be made when it comes to cost. Even the most budget conscious rider can get on a wheel that is aerodynamic and stiff. A general rule of thumb is the lighter the wheelset, typically the more it will cost. Given an individual budget, all three characteristics are within reach. Performance aluminum wheels range in price from around $500-$1500. Wheels built using carbon rims range in price starting at $1,000 up to $6,000. Finding the right wheels with the characteristic you’re looking for don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. There is a way to get the additional speed you’re looking for even with an affordable pair of wheels.
How much do you weigh? Rider weight has a large bearing on the performance of any given wheel. A wheel that is stiff and durable for a rider that weighs 140 lbs may not be stiff or strong enough for a 190 lb. rider. Specific spoke counts and lacing patterns, rim styles and weights all affect the characteristics of a wheel.
So how do you know what will work best for a specific application or all around riding? Experience is the definitive answer but I will clarify the type of components that make a good wheel for a specific rider in the upcoming posts.