Choosing the right set of wheels can have a huge impact on the speed, weight and overall handling of your bike so it’s a good idea to do your homework before reaching for your wallet.
The right wheelset for you will depend mainly on the type of riding that you’ll be doing with the overall goal being to find the balance between weight, durability and your budget.
Here’s an overview of what to look for when buying a new set of wheels for your ride:
Mountain bike wheels are most commonly available in 3 different diameters - 26”, 27.5”, & 29” and it’s important to get the right size wheels for your frame to ensure that your bike handles as intended.
The next consideration to make is the width of the rims. Mountain bike wheels come in a range of widths which cater to different riding scenarios. If you’re into downhill mountain biking then you’ll most likely want a wider rim (2.2” +) to provide maximum grip over varying terrains, whereas if cross country is more your style, then a slimmer rim will provide lower rolling resistance over flatter ground.
Finally, if your mountain bike uses non-disc brakes, then it’s very important to choose wheels that have a braking surface for your brake pads to make contact with.
Road bike wheels are most commonly available in one size which is 700c which will generally fit most adult sized bikes.
In terms of width, the general rule of thumb is the narrower the faster however the increase in speed comes with a trade off in comfort and you’ll find your ride a little firmer than if you had a wider rim.
BMX wheels are generally designed to do one thing - take a beating. As with road and mountain bike rims, BMX wheels come in various diameters and widths with 20” x 32mm being the most common.