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Check out the Recommends Wheels of the Year 2023/24

It’s time to announce the road and gravel wheelsets that impressed our reviewers most over the past year, from Campagnolo Roval, Enve, Prime, Scribe and more…

It’s time to reveal the best road and gravel bike wheels that made it into Recommends in 2023.

This year, we’ve again given wheels their own special category in our awards because we've reviewed so many amazing ones, and the quality has been high. Brands are always seeking to make their road wheels lighter and/or more aero and we’ve seen the growing importance of tubeless tyre technology over the past 12 months. 

The gravel wheels market has grown yet again as that sector of the market matures. As you’ll see, that’s reflected in our round-up.

How we chose the wheels

If you’re wondering how we chose these wheels, each month we add the best bikes, clothing, parts, and accessories we've reviewed on and our sister sites to Recommends. It's our way of recognising the top-notch products that demand your attention. Recommends is super-exclusive – even products scoring nine out of 10 in our reviews aren't guaranteed a spot. They all go in front of our panel for consideration. Below, you'll find the wheels that impressed us the most.

Unlike bikes, we don't rank components, accessories, and clothing into top 10s. Instead, we offer three types of awards: 

  • Bargain Buy This goes to the product that we feel gives the best value for money.
  • Money No Object We take price out of the equation for this one; it’s all about performance.
  • Editor’s Choice This award recognises the product that gives the best combination of performance and value for money.

We don't necessarily give out all three awards in each category; it depends on what we feel the various components deserve.

The prices in the headings were correct at the time we published our initial reviews. Some have changed since, but we've stuck with the originals because they're the ones we based our comments on. 

Now, let’s dive into the Recommends Wheels of the Year 2023/24.

Roval Rapide CL II Tubeless Wheelset £1,500

Roval Rapide CL II Tubeless Wheelset

These wheels offer an all-round fast ride, providing an excellent performance at a price point that’s a notch down from the top end. 

The first thing you’ll notice about the Rovals is that the front and rear rims are very different. The front rim is 52mm deep and massively wide – the external width is 35mm. The rear wheel, on the other hand, is 60mm deep with an external width of 30mm.

Why? Specialized has designed this wheelset to work in real-world riding conditions. By losing a little front wheel depth, you’re less susceptible to crosswinds knocking you offline. The deeper rear wheel has less effect on stability.

> Best road bike wheels 2024 — transform your road bike with some shiny new hoops

The main thing you need to know about these wheels is that they’re fast. They carry speed brilliantly, particularly on the flat and on rolling hills. The deep rear wheel is incredibly stiff too, and it's a lot of fun to kick over the top of each roller.

There are certainly lighter wheelsets out there – the Rovals weigh 1,590g – but these climb well, and you never get the impression that the aero performance comes at the expense of uphill speed. They’re also impressively stable.

It’s hard to compare wheels directly against one another without a wind tunnel but we had a go at a real-world test and the Roval CL IIs came out top, proving their all-round credentials. A more affordable alternative to Specialized's top-end CLX IIs, these put in a very strong performance. 

Why they're here Excellent wheels with hand-built aero rims that are speedy, stable and great fun to ride
Read the review 

Just Riding Along Monitor Carbon Wheelset £879

roadcc recommends awards 2023-24 - Wheels of the Year - Bargain Buy

The Monitor Carbon off-road wheelset from Just Riding Along (JRA) is a gem, blending lightness with impressive durability, all for well under a grand. They ride unbelievably well, and as a package, they can barely be criticised.

Reviewer Stu Kerton said, “Performance-wise the wheels can't be faulted, and with a 27mm inner rim width they work well with even the widest gravel tyres.”

Having put the Monitors through the wringer for eight weeks on various gravel bikes, Stu found that they endured everything from rocky potholes to tree roots, emerging unscathed and as true as the day they arrived. 

Coming in at just 1,360g, the Monitors dispel the notion that wheels must be overbuilt and heavy in order to be strong. Their lightness is most noticeable when climbing and accelerating, the wheels feeling tight and responsive. There’s no discernible flex when you crank up the power.

The carbon rims are hookless and will only work safely with tubeless-compatible tyres. You’ll probably want to run tubeless tyres for gravel riding, anyway, so that’s not likely to be an issue. The hubs remained smooth throughout testing, with no signs of water or mud ingress even after hours of wet rides – so all positive there.

You get plenty of configuration options when you order wheels from JRA. The base price for a set of Monitors is £845, with the cost adjusted according to the hubs and spokes you choose – so you can have the exact wheels you want, and they’ll be hand-built for you in about 10 days. Okay, there are much cheaper wheels in this roundup, but in terms of bang for your buck, these are very hard to beat, and that’s why they get our Bargain Buy award.

Why they’re here Durable, light, stiff and good value, the Monitors prove that you can have it all
Read the review

Scribe Race-D Wide+ Wheelset £510

Scribe Race-D Wide+ wheelset

The Scribe Race-D Wide+ wheelset is an evolution of the Race D that we reviewed – and loved – in 2020, proving once again that aluminium wheels can be good for more than just training.

The Race-D Wide+ features all the best qualities of its predecessor – durability, robustness, lightness and speed – but the rim is 2mm wider with an internal width of 21mm. Scribe has also managed to drop the weight, which is a clever trick, the wheelset coming in at just 1,448g.

The aluminium rims are 27mm deep and tubeless-ready, while the aluminium freehub comes with an integrated steel bite guard to prevent the cassette from digging in. 

Scribe uses a Ratchet Drive hub system that’s very similar to the DT Swiss ratchet system. It has a single ratchet disc and leaf spring to minimise the number of moving parts and improve durability. The standard ratchet ring is 36-tooth so it engages in 10° when you start to pedal, but ours used Scribe’s 54-tooth system – a £70 upgrade – meaning that it engages in 6.7°. This is retro-fittable across the full Scribe range. In use, it's noticeable just how quickly the system engages.

The wheels accelerate quickly and have a feel that could be mistaken for carbon. They handle well even in mixed-weather conditions and ran true for the duration of our review period with no spoke tension issues. They’re designed to be race-ready and definitely handle and ride well enough to be considered performance wheels.

Why they’re here Light, stiff and durable aluminium disc wheelset that is suited to racing or training
Read the review 

Prime Orra 700C Carbon Gravel Wheelset £599.99 

2023 Prime Orra 700C Alloy Gravel Wheelset.jpg

The Prime Orra 700c Carbon Gravel wheelset is a quality performer that offers impressive stiffness, weight and build quality at a very good price. 

What you get here is a pair of wheels with 35mm-deep rims made from Toray's T700 UD carbon fibre, alloy hubs with a 36T ratchet system, CenterLock rotor mounts, and tubeless compatibility, all for £600 (and you’re likely to find them discounted). The rims’ 24.5mm internal width means they’re suited to wider gravel tyres, although they’ll work happily with wide road tyres too.

The Orras stood up to all the abuse we could throw at them in all kinds of wet, muddy and gritty conditions. Trueness was never an issue, and the hubs ran smoothly throughout with the sealed bearings doing their job well. 

Reviewer Stu Kerton says that the Orras are well-built and robust, and feel sufficiently stiff for all kinds of riding, even if you like to climb hard or sprint. With quite large diameter hub flanges and 24 spokes front and rear, they are a solid build.

The quality is impressive, and at 1,610g (including tape) the Orras are a competitive weight. You're getting a lot for your money and we highly recommend them. 

Why they’re here A well-built set of wheels that are robust, a good weight and at a smidge under £600 they're an absolute bargain too!
Read the review 

Parcours Chrono  Wheelset  £1,199

Parcours Chrono wheelset

The Parcours Chrono wheelset, with its 68mm and 75mm-deep rims front and rear, defies expectations by being remarkably stable in crosswinds so you can enjoy the aero advantage it offers in a variety of conditions. If you like clever aero stuff or just want to stay out of hedges and ditches while riding fast, these wheels are definitely worth considering.

The Parcours Chrono wheels are undoubtedly fast, but their real selling point is their stability. It’s nothing short of remarkable. In blustery conditions, they have a surefooted air to them, behaving like rims that are 20 or 30mm shallower. 

You’ll certainly feel stronger crosswinds, but Parcours has done a superb job of reducing the snatching sensation. Instead, they behave predictably so that you can focus on the important job of producing power rather than getting distracted by handling issues

The speed and stability are addictive and leave very little reason to go back down to a shallow wheelset, although deep wheels are usually heavier. Compared with other wheelsets of a similar depth, they stack up well. We measured them with tubeless valves and an 11-speed freehub (but without tape) at 1,670g.

The Chrono wheels are certainly stiff enough, featuring 24 spokes at both the front and rear. They feel tight both radially and laterally.

The rear hub houses a steel freehub body with a 44-tooth ratchet engagement system and three pairs of pawls designed to ensure optimal longevity and performance. The pickup is impressive, and the relatively small engagement angle (8.18°) makes the wheelset suitable for the sharp accelerations of criterium racing as well as steady-state efforts.

Why they’re here Deep wheels just got a lot more stable!
Read the review 

Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra wheelset £3,200

roadcc recommends awards 2023-24 - Wheels of the Year - Money No Object

Although their price puts them well out of reach of most of us, the performance of the Campagnolo Hyperon Ultra wheels is hard to fault – so we’re giving them our Money No Object award.

Campag’s new wheels are designed specifically for mountainous terrain, but they excel in various conditions. The 37mm deep rim – with a 21mm internal and 27mm external width – provides a perfect mix of aerodynamics and climbing efficiency. Weighing in at just 1,240g, this wheelset is light by disc-brake standards. 

Made from unidirectional carbon fibre, these wheels are exceptionally stiff thanks to aerospace-grade fibres and a one-join construction. The punchless spoke holes also reduce lateral flex.

The Hyperons feature a fully-sealed rim bed with no tape needed, saving on weight. The hooked rim design improves security for narrower tyres and higher pressures.

The hubs, fitted with Campagnolo's CULT ceramic bearings, provide durability with water-resistant stainless steel races, while the ratchet-based freehub offers 36 points of engagement, providing a quick response when you start to pedal.

The 37mm rim depth handles climbs with ease while minimising crosswind interference. Predictable in various situations, these wheels instil confidence, encouraging you to push harder and corner faster.

The most striking feature, though, is their adaptability. Whether climbing, cruising flats, or responding instantly to pedal inputs, these wheels put in an excellent performance. Their feathery weight, lateral stiffness, and crisp hub engagement make them a strong choice if you're looking for a wheelset that excels in a wide variety of situations and conditions.

Why they’re here Expensive yet incredibly well-constructed and efficient wheelset
Read the review 

Deda Elementi RS4DB Carbon Disc Tubeless Wheelset £1,799

Deda Elementi RS4DB Carbon Disc Tubeless Wheels

Deda Elementi’s RS4DB wheelset is one of the lightest we've tested here on – and it achieves this without being one of the most expensive. With 38mm deep rims, it balances a low weight with aero efficiency – a very good choice for those wanting an all-round, fast race wheelset. 

Weighing just 1,340g on our scales, it’s going to come as no surprise that the RS4DBs really do feel incredibly light when you're riding. They accelerate beautifully from a standing start, and when you hit a climb, they just keep on giving. The overall stiffness is impressive too, with even hard out-of-the-saddle efforts resulting in no signs of sideways movement.

If you’re after a full-on aero wheelset you might want to look elsewhere, but these do offer an advantage at speed over shallower rims. One of the bonuses of rims of this depth is that they’re not affected much by crosswinds. The result is a versatile wheelset that is fast on the flats without scrubbing too much speed off when you're on the climbs.

The rims are built from high-modulus, unidirectional and 3K carbon fibre, while the RS hubs have a 7075-grade aluminium alloy body. Rather than using pawls, the rear hub features a two-ratchet system, and engagement is very quick indeed.

If you’re looking for one set of wheels to tackle all types of terrain, Deda offers a very capable option with no real downsides.

Why they’re here An impressive weight, wide hub compatibility, great build quality, and all for sensible money
Read the review 

Fulcrum Speed 25 Wheelset £1,999 

Fulcrum Speed 25 wheelset

Weighing in at 1,295g on our scales, Fulcrum’s Speed 25 wheelset is amongst the lightest disc-brake options out there, designed to improve your climbing efficiency and all-round performance.

Both the front and rear wheels feature a low-profile 26mm deep rim, but they're not identical. The front is symmetrical for aerodynamics, while the rear is asymmetrical to enhance lateral stiffness and stability.

These wheels boast a 21mm internal rim width, making them perfect for 25-35mm tyres, with Fulcrum suggesting that 28mm provides the optimal balance of speed, compliance, and aerodynamics.

Fulcrum doesn’t hold back on the premium features. The hubs feature ceramic Ultra Smooth Bearings for reduced rolling resistance, and the freehub uses a 36T ratchet system with a quick 10° engagement. 

Quick acceleration ensures you reach cruising speed without hesitation, and the low weight and remarkable stiffness conquer the steepest ramps effortlessly. The Fulcrums shine on the climbs, and you really need long hills or mountain passes rather than rolling terrain to make the most of their potential. 

On gentler slopes or draftable sections, progress is pretty swift but don't expect to distance the deeper-section wheel brigade – it won't happen. On the plus side, the Fulcrums handle predictably and are easy to control in the wind, even when it's gusting from the side. 

Why they’re here A lightweight disc-brake-only wheelset that can compete with the best in the market
Read the review 

Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB Wheelset £1,800

2023 Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheelset.jpg

The Reynolds Blacklabel 60 Expert DB wheels are very fast, stable in crosswinds, and fun to ride. For wheels with 60mm deep rims, they also accelerate well and fly up climbs, thanks to their impressively low weight and their quick uptake.

The rims are built to Reynolds’ DET2 profile, meaning that they bulge out around 25mm below the tyre bead and taper back in towards the top. The purpose of this unusual-looking design is to increase aero performance and improve stability. Although we’ve not measured drag, we can tell you that these perform incredibly well in crosswinds. They’re far less jittery than you might expect for rims with such a deep profile.

In terms of ride feel, these wheels maintain rigidity and stiffness without rattling your bones. Acceleration is pretty much instant, and power transfer is equally impressive when the road heads upwards, especially when you consider the rim depth. That climbing performance is partly down to their weight of just 1,540g per pair. That compares well to other deep rims we've reviewed recently.

There's no doubt that £1,800 is a lot to spend on a set of wheels – of course it is – but given their low weight and impressive performance, they’re actually pretty well-priced.

Why they’re here A very impressive set of wheels, though the profile might take some getting used to
Read the review 

Enve AG25 Gravel Wheelset £1,800

roadcc recommends awards 2023-24 - Wheels of the Year - Editors Choice

Enve’s AG25 Gravel wheelset has exceeded all expectations, emerging as a stellar choice for gravel riders. Fitted with 40-45mm tyres, these wheels have navigated through less-than-perfect line choices without a hitch – no truing issues, tyre burps, bearing wear, or glitches; just smooth, carefree riding throughout. Yes, the price is towards the upper end of the spectrum, but the performance warrants the investment.

The AG25 gravel wheelset is part of Enve’s Foundation line and uses trickle-down technology, including hookless rim architecture that allows for closer tolerances in construction. The wide lip also reduces the chance of a pinch-flat.

The rim is just 21mm deep, designed to smooth over rough terrain and improve ride quality. The valve and spoke holes are moulded into the rim construction rather than being cut afterwards. The result is a lighter rim that can cope with higher spoke tensions.

In terms of performance, these wheels are sublime. They do everything right. 
Reviewer Pat Joscelyne said, “There have been no creaks, squeaks, no odd freehub slack or dead spots. They are easy to set up tubeless and after many weeks of use the rims are pretty much unmarked. Aside from cleaning them, I’ve barely had the need to look at them.”

The AG25s deliver mile after mile of comfortable riding, smoothing over the worst surface imperfections and allowing you to get on with blasting along your favourite trails. 

The pick-up from the freehub is nearly instant thanks to Enve’s 360° engagement system where two 40T ratchet rings mesh together.

You can really feel the solid build when you push these wheels hard. Whether you’re cruising through root-filled gullies or smoothly drifting around tricky corners, they stay right on track, showing off their stability with no flex – and that's why they come away with our Editor's Choice award.

Why they’re here One of the best gravel wheelsets currently available
Read the review 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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