If you’re new to biking in general or don’t really know the finer points involved then trying to choose carbon wheels can be a rather daunting prospect. Chances are you already know that these lightweight wheels are aerodynamic and weigh less so that they can help you go faster – but what sort of factors should you be taking into account when you’re looking to buy them?
The first thing that you need to understand is that not all wheels are the same and there are really a couple of different ways in which carbon wheels can differ from one another.
- Tubular Wheels or Clincher Wheels
Nowadays there are two types of wheels that can be commonly found. Clincher wheels are the conventional variety where tires are attached to the rim via a clinch and have inner tubes. On the other hand, tubular wheels are fully encased and are attached with glue.
In general if you’re looking at getting more speed when riding road bikes, mountain bikes or triathlon bikes than tubular wheels are better – but for the uninitiated they can be difficult to deal with and install.
- Rim Depth and Aerodynamics
Most carbon wheels are designed with speed in mind and as such are intended to be more aerodynamic than their steel counterparts. However as much as that is the case, the rim depth of your wheels should also take into account other factors too.
As a rule of thumb, the deeper the rim the more aerodynamic it is. But at the same time, the deeper it is the more you’ll be affected by crosswinds too. As a result, really deep rims may be great for triathlon bikes but on mountain bikes or road bikes they could end up giving you difficulty controlling your bike.
Another factor to take into account is your weight or the weight of the rider. Heavier riders may want to look at deeper rims but lighter riders would do well to opt for shallower rims instead.
Both of these factors should be the main decisions that you make when choosing carbon wheels. Bear in mind that these factors are only for the wheels and if you’re looking at full bike frames than that is an entirely different story.
Also keep in mind that although two different sets of lightweight wheels may appear to be the same in terms of their type and rim depth, the fact is that their quality may differ greatly. Some carbon wheels such as Mavic wheels are renowned across the world for their quality whereas others from dubious brand names may not provide a similar guarantee of quality but may end up cheaper.