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Last updated: April 09, 2022
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Gravel bikes are one of the latest trends in cycling, and they’re growing ever more popular. This is because gravel bikes give riders decent performance on-road thanks to their skinny road tires while also making it easy for them to take the off-road bike thanks to their wider tire clearance. But what do you need to look out for when shopping around for a gravel bike?
Whether you’re looking for the best carbon gravel wheels, alloy gravel wheels, or budget gravel wheels, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about your options. Check out our list below and read on to find out more!
"The Nukeproof Horizon V2 Wheel ARD and Sealant Bundle is a lightweight, durable alloy set for the price of all-road performance wheels for cyclists looking to add an extra dimension to their riding.."
"Due to the aluminum material, the Fulcrum Racing 3 Disc Brake Wheels can handle a variety of terrains in a wide range of weather conditions, in addition to being an excellent price for what you get.."
The Sun Ringle Duroc Pro is our Editor’s Choice since it’s a high-quality aluminum wheel suitable for both off-road and on-road adventures. The Sun Ringle Duroc 35 Pro Rear Wheel Boost is the perfect gravel wheelset for riders who are looking to get more bang for their buck. Designed to be tubeless-ready, this rim has a mid-internal depth and comes in multiple wheel sizes. This allows you to pick the best fit for your bike and your riding preferences.
The Sun Ringle Duroc 35 Pro is an enticing upgrade compared to the Duroc 30 Expert rear wheel, which is smaller in internal rim width at only 26mm, has a spoke count of 32, and weighs only 968g. So the Duroc 35 Pro is much more durable and offers higher speed and stability on rough terrain.
What do we love it for?
It is perfect for gravel, cyclocross racing, or any kind of long-distance riding
The lightweight aluminum rim material allows this road wheel to perform well during steep climbs and high speeds
With a mid internal depth, the tire profile will remain rounded throughout the life of the tire, which provides a better riding experience
What were we disappointed with?
These wheels don't come with end caps if they don't fit in your hubs
This carbon tubeless-ready wheelset is best for cyclists looking for a lightweight, durable set of all-road performance wheels for their gravel or cross-country bicycle. The Nukeproof Horizon V2 Wheel ARD and Sealant Bundle is an alloy gravel wheelset that features a 30mm internal rim width, mid internal rim depth, 897g wheel weight, and multiple size options. Lifeline high-friction sealant is a semi-permanent tire sealant that can be used to plug punctures in tubeless tires quickly and easily. It comes in both an inner tube formulation and an ARD tire insert formula, making it set Premium.
Compared to the Nukeproof Horizon V1 hub, which has only 42 points of engagement for instant power transfer, and an inner rim width of 29mm, the Nukeproof Horizon V2 is equipped with 102 points of attention in a range of freehub options and an internal rim width of 30mm. The Nukeproof Horizon V2 wheels produce a hardness similar to a 7-series alloy but with the yield properties and ductility of a 6-series, giving you the best of both worlds in terms of weight, stiffness, and strength.
What makes it special?
A high-quality aluminum rim with multiple wheel size options suit any rider looking for an all-road performance set of wheels
It comes with a pair of high-friction Lifeline sealants, so riders can plug punctures in their tubeless tires quickly and easily
It is lightweight enough to be used on long rides without weighing down your bike
Its mid-depth 25mm internal rim depth provides additional aerodynamics and stiffness, making it ideal for flat and hilly rides alike
What cons did we find?
The warranty only covers manufacturing defects for the first year of the wheels' life - and does not cover labor or shipping costs
DT Swiss has been producing wheels for more than 20 years and is widely known for making some of the finest bicycle wheels on the market available for all budgets. The DT Swiss E 1900 30mm Rear Wheels will give you an advantage on the road, allowing your bike to accelerate faster than ever before. These tubeless-ready wheels come equipped with valves already installed with a rim width of 30mm and an internal rim depth of 40mm. The alloy rim material is wide, giving you a wheel that can hold up under the most rigorous conditions.
The DT Swiss E 1900 is an upgrade to the DT Swiss E 1800 Spline Disc Wheelset, which weighs heavier at 1667g, with a 3-cross lacing in the wheels, compared to the 2-cross lacing of the Swiss E 1800 model. The Swiss E 1900 model also has an internal rim width of 30mm, compared to the 20mm on the Swiss E 1800 model, which is much better for off-road trips.
Why are we impressed?
There is no need to buy inner tubes separately due to tubeless readiness
Its durability can support your weight when riding over bumps and potholes
Aluminum alloy material will last for years
What negatives must you be aware of?
It comes without a skewer or cassette, meaning you have to purchase them separately
The DT Swiss is the best carbon gravel wheels. The DT Swiss PRC 1400 SP 35mm Front Wheel features a carbon rim material that is durable and lightweight. It also features an 18mm internal rim material for added stiffness, deep internal rim material to enhance tubeless compatibility, and a tubeless-ready design for riders who are looking to ride on tubeless tires. Best of all, the carbon rim material won’t rust over time.
The DT Swiss PRC 1400 is a better alternative for riders with it weighing only 984g, compared to the Swiss PRC 1100 model, which weighs 1,266g. Whilst the PRC 1100 uses DT Swiss Aero Comp T-head spokes, the PRC model utilizes the DT AeroLite straight pull with DT ProLock Hidden Aluminum nipples and radial lacing. It also uses Rim Brake to favor the Disc brake on the PRC 1100 model.
What are its best features?
It features an 18mm internal rim material with alloy spokes, which means it'll be able to hold up against many different types of terrain comfortably
Deep internal rim material enhances tubeless compatibility
These Fulcrum Racing 3 Disc Brake Wheels are built to be versatile, meaning they can handle street riding, unpaved roads, and gravel trails. The 23.8mm internal rim width is ideal for tires in the 700c size range. Plus, these wheels come in at an impressive 1,412g total weight, making them easy to accelerate without feeling like you’re carrying extra weight on your bike. The Aluminum Rim Material is tough enough to handle regular city streets but still light enough that climbing hills won’t feel impossible over long distances. The aluminum alloy rim has a high-quality build with double walls making it durable yet lightweight so you can get wherever you need to go.
The Racing 3 Disc Brake wheelset is the better alternative to a wheelset like the Fulcrum Racing 3 C17, which weighs heavier at 1560g, uses an alloy braking system, the rim is constructed from alloy and is only road suitable. The Racing 3 Disc Brake wheelset spoke is made of stainless steel, rounded, straight-pull, and has 21 spokes in both wheels, compared to the Racing 3 C17 bladed straight-pull steel spokes, with 16 spokes in the front wheel and 21 in the rear.
What are our favorite features?
These wheels include pre-installed quick-release skewers, letting you pop them on or off easily while also increasing the overall safety while riding
Its sealed bearing system keeps everything rolling smoothly along
The tubeless-ready feature allows you to switch out your tires when they get worn
What could be better?
The tires and tubes sold with these wheels are not tubeless compatible
The Prime has introduced a new 650b*27.5″ alloy clincher with a 21mm internal width rim that looks as fast as it will perform on any road you’d like to throw at it – but can handle those rough and unkempt trails as well. This alloy wheelset is built with a Shimano/Sram 9/10 or 11-speed free-hub body and comes with high-quality Prime cassette adapters to ensure the stiffest connection between your cassette and wheel bearings for minimal loss of power. These wheels are not hand-built – but they are well constructed, reliable, easy to maintain, tubeless-ready (with tape/valve sold separately), offer exceptional traction. Thanks to their narrow-width rims allow you to run lower tire pressures for increased comfort on bumpy roads have excellent braking in both wet and dry conditions.
Although at 27.5in, the wheel size of the Audax 650B is bigger when compared to others, like the Stagiaire Disc wheelset, which is 700c. The Prime Audax 650B weighs less at 1935g a pair than the 2170g of the Prime Stagiaire Disc Wheelset. The Audax 650B offers immense convenience and meets the needs of different riders on in-town journeys.
What makes it stand out?
The alloy construction and wide rims make them both stiff and sturdy for excellent acceleration and responsiveness
Quick-release skewers ensure easy removal of your wheels when it's time to transport them and replace them on your bike
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Some find the lack of tubeless tape, valve, and sealant quite unpleasant for that price
The Spank Spike Race is a perfect addition to your gravel bike or cyclocross steed, as the larger tire clearance and stout design allow you to run up to 40mm wide tires on either 700c or 650b rims. This allows for more traction and greater comfort with lower air pressures. It is a lightweight gravel wheel that offers great performance for cross-country riders. With an alloy rim material, tubeless-ready design, and 28mm internal rim width, the Spank SPIKE Race 33 Road Wheelset provides a wide platform to allow you to tackle dirt roads with ease.
Using BeadBite Anti-burp, OohBah Inverted Inner Wall favors the BeadBite, OohBah, Dynamal Alloy of the Spike Race 28 model, the Spike Race 33 model is a perfect choice to withstand the intensity associated with mountain riding.
What are our favorite features?
The rear rim has 8 bladed straight pull spokes per wheel and offers plenty of stiffness when powering through corners
This wheelset is tubeless-ready, which means you can use sealant in the tires to prevent flats and lower your tire pressure
28mm internally not only makes them more aerodynamic for time trial and triathlon use ( but more of that later), but also allows more air volume
What could be better?
There is no freehub body, so you cannot use them with an 11-speed drivetrain
The Hope Fortus 30 MTB Rear Wheel comes in many wheel size options so that riders can find the best fit for their specific ride style and preferences. It has a 30mm internal rim width to ensure it is compatible with tire types from road slicks all the way up to 2.1-inch mountain bike treads. The alloy rims are deep enough that they won’t be deformed by high-pressure tires mounted on them but light enough that you don’t have to worry about excess weight slowing you down on climbs or rough trails.
Outfitted with a four-pawl, ratchet system that allows you to push every ride to the absolute limit, the Fortus 30 MTB Rear Wheel is a heavy-duty option with extra weight and struts. Compared to the Fortus 26 MTB model whose internal rim width is lesser and height is lesser at 26mm and 30mm, respectively, the Fortus 30 MTB is an ideal option for mountain rides.
What are our favorite features?
The rims are light but sturdy enough to handle high pressures
It offers versatile adjustments that can be used in various terrain conditions
Affordable price point
What could be better?
The disadvantage of such light-alloy rims is that they can bend or warp if you ride over large obstacles like rocks and tree roots at high speeds
The Brand-X Trail Wheelset is a great option for gravel riding, with the right features to support endurance training and competitive races. These Gravel Wheelsets come in a versatile 27.8mm internal rim width for comfort and grip when climbing through the roughest of surfaces. The alloy rim material reduces weight without compromising stiffness, an ideal feature for shifting your focus onto climbing hills. For shifting gears on long descents, these wheels come tubeless ready so you can take full advantage of the multiple size options available.
Although it is heavier than the DT Swiss E 1900 30mm Rear Wheel, our Best Value Pick, the Brand-X Trail Wheelset has a smaller internal rim width of 27.8mm. It is also tubeless-ready like the Swiss E 1900 model, however, it is also pre-taped (its valves are required separately).
What makes it stand out?
It is a light, versatile option designed for cyclists who don't want to stifle their rig with heavy components
For shift-on-the-fly power on descents, these wheels are tubeless-ready to take advantage of multiple size options available
Switching between road and gravel riding is easier than ever before, with several options for flat or spiked tires that will fit the alloy rim width
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
Multiple tread patterns may limit traction in wet conditions
Things to Consider
These days, many people are going for a more adventurous riding experience by taking their road bikes off-road. For those who would prefer to be on the safe side of things, there are cycle wheels that can be used on both roads and gravel. The best carbon gravel wheels will go a long way into making sure that your ride is as smooth, fun, and simple as possible. With this in mind, here are nine of the best gravel wheels currently available for sale online. Check our comprehensive guides for more info about the best gravel bikes under $500, the best gravel bikes under $1000, and the best gravel bikes under $2000, and find an excellent, affordable option for you.
How to Pick the Best Gravel Wheels
When it comes to shopping for the best gravel wheels, there are some things you need to keep in mind so that you can decide on a set of wheels that will bring out the versatility of your bike. There are many options to choose from, but this shouldn’t be any trouble at all.
700c wheels are the ideal choice for gravel riders focused on speed and efficiency. The larger rims paired with tires that typically range from around 35mm to 42mm tires offer enough cushion and comfort over rocky gravel roads.
The wheel size is important when you plan to use your road bike for gravel riding. First off, you will need to decide if you want 28-inch wheels or 700c wheels. If you are the kind of person who wants a responsive bike that is fun to ride no matter where then go for 32mm gravel wheels. On the other hand, if you are looking for something which can be used on tarmac roads and gravel, then you should go for the 700c option.
Internal Rim Depth
The depth of the rim of a gravel wheel is important because it indicates how easy or difficult the bike will be when riding off-road. The deeper the rims, the more they can handle in terms of bumps and rocks. However, deep rims require lower tire pressure which makes cornering tricky at times. At this time, there are three choices when it comes to carbon gravel wheel rims: 32mm, 38mm, and 45mm. The 32-millimeter wheels will give you a better speed and responsiveness, while the 38mm and 45mm wheels will be a bit slower but offer more stability.
Internal Rim Width
The wider the rims of gravel wheels, the more inflated your tires will be. However, this makes them less responsive. With that in mind, you need to consider where you will mostly be riding your bike when thinking about rim width. For example, if you mostly plan on using your road bike for commuting purposes and not so much for gravel riding, then you should consider going for a wider rim as it will be faster. However, if you want your bike to be as versatile as possible, then choose the narrowest option.
While riding on gravel, you are bound to hit rocks and other obstacles. If the tire pressure is too low when that happens, you might get a puncture. With that in mind, it is important to think about buying tubeless-ready gravel wheels. This way, there will be no need for tubes meaning you can use lower tire pressure, which in turn means a better grip. This eliminates the need to have inner tubes, so all you have to do when there is a flat tire is add sealant and inflate your tires again.
Alloy is concerned to be the most cost-effective material, while carbon is much more expensive, but both these materials provide smooth ride rocky and gravel places.
Gravel wheels are made using two different materials: carbon and alloy. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, so it is important to find the one which will bring out the best in your bike. If you want a lightweight and fast set of wheels, then consider going for carbon rims as they are 20 percent lighter than alloy ones. However, they can be more expensive and might not last as long as alloy rims. On the other hand, alloy rims are 100 percent safe from rusting and will last longer than carbon rims. Of course, they tend to cost a bit more than carbon ones, but this won’t make such a big difference in the overall price. In addition, you need to consider what kind of terrain you will mostly be riding on before deciding on a rim type.
Another factor to consider when looking for the best gravel wheels is wheel weight. As we mentioned before, wheel size and wheel depth play a big part in how much weight your wheelset will have. For example, if you go for larger wheels, you can expect them to be heavier on average compared to lighter ones. If you want to be able to use your bike both on tarmac and gravel, then it is best for you to go for the lighter option, which is carbon and weighs around 900 grams. This is true to an extent, but carbon rims are not that much heavier than alloy ones.
When it comes to durability, carbon gravel wheels are clearly the winner. They can endure more wear and tear than alloy ones, which is one of their biggest advantages. For example, carbon rims are known for being very resistant to abrasion, corrosion, puncturing, impact damage, cracks caused by aging, or use in extreme conditions.
Last but not least, you will have to take the price tag into consideration. Carbon gravel wheels are usually more expensive than alloy ones, but their durability makes them worth the money. However, if you are on a budget, then consider buying alloy rims as they are still very durable and can be just as fast as carbon rims. You can get a great set of alloy wheels even for under $300.
It is best to buy a set of alloy rims as they are lighter and still pretty durable. They should last you for several years, which makes them worth the investment. Depending on your riding preferences, you can choose between an open or a box rim design.
You should be able to use tires up to 40mm wide on your new set of alloy gravel wheels. They provide plenty of grip for a smooth ride and are very suitable for cyclocross races. However, if you want even more control, then consider buying carbon rims instead.
In conclusion, not all gravel road bike wheels are created equal. When choosing between carbon and alloy gravel wheels, you should consider the following factors: price, comfort, durability, weight, and rim material. Think about what is more important for you when choosing between these options in order to get yourself the best set of wheels in terms of performance, weight, and all other factors. By taking into consideration all these important factors, you can find the best carbon or alloy gravel wheels that will help you ride longer and faster on gravel roads.