Written by Colin Lewis Cycles shop owner Simon Aske
What wheels should I buy?
A question often asked to me in the shop is what wheels should I buy? It is difficult to nominate the best set of wheels on the market today so I am going to try and give some unbiased advice, using the experience I have, to make the decision easier for you.
The average bike rider will want a set of wheels that will be used for everyday use, sportif riding and training purposes. In a set of wheels there are many factors that need to be considered: cost, reliability, weight, aerodynamics, stiffness, looks and backup and ease of service. By placing the wheels into different price points, I will evaluate which are the best buy.
Up to £200
Presuming you want to upgrade from the standard £100-£150 wheel set that is standard on most road bikes, it would be an instant reaction in my mind to suggest Mavic Aksium; a wheel recognised for its all round performance but more importantly its reliability. With the excellent customer service provided by Mavic and the sealed bearing hub it is the perfect ride to conquer the worst weather Britain can produce.
Despite the mass of wheels from all types of manufacturers fighting for this segment of the market, there would be only select a few to consider. If reliability is the first thing you want from a wheel then a traditional 32 spoke configuration such as the Hope Hoops Pro2 at £300 would be my choice. Equipped with British designed and engineered hubs laced to a Mavic pro rim this is a bombproof wheel. However, if a fancier wheel is on your agenda then the American Classic Victory 30 would be what I recommend. A stiff wheel with a silky smooth hub and great looks prove this to be a worthy winner.
Again the manufacturer Mavic comes to mind with their Ksyrium Elite due to their excellent backup and know how. It really is an all round wheel and the performance definitely justifies spending the extra cash. A worthy mention should be the American Classic 420 Aero 3 for its stunning looks and speed because of their aerodynamics. Both of these wheels are at the lower end of this price scale. So to gain the next big step in performance the next price bracket up is where your attention should be.
An easy one this! Shimano Dura-ace Carbon Laminates are a very lightweight and responsive wheel set that transform any bicycle. Quick to accelerate, these are a joy to own with a very nice hub. However, if you are riding Campag gearing then the longstanding Mavic Ksyrium SL are still the ones to ride.
At the present moment I am testing a pair of DT Swiss Tricon wheels. The hubs are beautiful and with each wheel hand built these are great value for money. For those with a little extra cash and those who crave for a wheel that does everything then a pair of Zipp 303 will do the trick: looks, weight, stiffness and outstanding speed.
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