If you want to upgrade your bike but feel like a whole new one is an unnecessary expense, investing in the best road bike wheels that your budget can afford is probably the best bang-for-your-buck upgrade you can make. This way, you can keep your beloved steed but still notice big improvements in ride quality, comfort and/or speed depending on what type of wheels you're upgrading to. Couple this with a set of the best road bike tyres, and you’re sure to notice plenty of gains.
Best road bike wheels overall: Hunt 48 Limitless Aero Disc Wheelset
Best value carbon wheels: Vel 60 RL Carbon Tubeless Disc Wheelset
Best all-round wheelset: Parcours Ronde Wheelset
Best road bike wheels for training: Mavic Ksyrium 30 Disc wheelset
Best money-no-object wheelset: Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra wheelset
Some more great mid-priced race wheels: Roval Rapide CL II Tubeless Wheelset
Best dynamo road bike wheels: Hunt Superdura Dynamo Disc Wheelset
Best stiff road wheels: Swiss Side Hadron2 Ultimate 625 Disc wheelset
Best lightweight road bike wheels: Zipp 353 NSW Tubeless Disc Brake Wheelset
Another great value carbon disc wheelset: Prime Primavera 44 Carbon Disc
Best-looking road bike wheels: Campagnolo Shamal Carbon Disc Brake wheelset
Best race wheels for peace of mind: Enve Foundation Collection 65 Carbon Tubeless Disc Wheelset
Affordable deep dish wheels : Parcours Chrono wheelset
Light all-rounders for fast rides: Fulcrum Speed 25 wheelset
Best road.cc-recommended rim brake wheelset: Hunt Race Aero Wide wheelset
Some more great all-rounders: Roval Rapide C 38 Disc Wheelset
Some great lightweight alloy wheels: Scribe Race-D Wide+ wheelset
Best for freehub compatibility: Deda Elementi RS4DB Carbon Disc Tubeless Wheels
Because bike manufacturers are often working to a price point, wheels that come as standard on 'off-the-peg' road bikes tend to be a tad on the heavy side, uninspiring and not of the highest quality in terms of bearings and materials used. That said, they will (hopefully) be perfectly serviceable and reliable, so many cyclists will decide to go for the version of the bike they want with some more basic training wheels, then upgrade later.
Although investing in a new set of wheels may seem like a big purchase, we think for most cyclists it's worth the investment... plus, you get to keep your old set for riding through winter to prolong the life of your new ones!
Whether you're wanting to make your bike lighter, get a stiffer, more responsive ride or get more aero with a set of deeper rims, we have your needs and tastes covered no matter what your budget. Prices range from just over £200 for alloy training wheel upgrades right up to a whopping £3,300 for some cutting-edge carbon aero wheels, so there should be something for everyone. While pretty much all of our recent wheel reviews have been disc brake wheels, (sorry rim brake fans) a number of them are available for rim brakes too, and most brands still offer some wheels in their range for the humble rim brake.
These are our very top picks across various categories, so if you're more sure of what wheel type you're after then check out our extensive reviews archives to find more carbon, lightweight, aero and tubeless options that have been reviewed and rated by our intrepid team.
Under our selection, you'll find some handy buying advice including a rough idea of just how much free speed a set of aerodynamic carbon wheels can net you, plus some tips on building your own if you're a bike nerd like us...