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Just Riding Along's Monitor Carbon wheelset is unbelievably light and impressively robust, and all for less than a grand. Performance-wise the wheels can't be faulted, and with a 27mm inner rim width they work well with even the widest gravel tyres.
The Monitors are excellent, but check out the guide to the best gravel wheelsets on off.road.cc for more options.
For something to be strong and reliable there is always a conception that it needs to be overbuilt and heavy, or to offset that, be very expensive. I know that's the reason why I still wince every time I hit a pothole or protruding rock with carbon fibre wheels when out on the trails.
At just 1,360g (including rim tape), the Monitors easily dispel that myth, not just on the durability front, but also when it comes down to price.
I've been switching these Just Riding Along (JRA) wheels around between different gravel bikes for the last eight weeks or so, and they've been taking plenty of abuse as I've been trying to relearn where all the divots, potholes and lines are on my local gravel routes after a very wet tail end to the winter.
I've hit the edges of rocky potholes at speed, clipped tree roots at the wrong angles, and generally thrown everything I can at these wheels, and they have come out completely unscathed, running just as true as they were when they arrived.
It's a very strong and impressive build.
We don't see many road wheels this light, so for the very wide rim, and the extra spokes required for strength, the weight is impressive, and so is the performance.
As you'd expect, it's when climbing or accelerating that the lack of weight shows up the most, and the undulating terrain of most gravel routes means that makes up a lot of the ride.
When getting the power down there is no feeling of flex at all, with the whole build feeling very tight.
The hubs run incredibly smoothly, and after many hours of wet rides on my favourite gravel loop there looks to be no water ingress, or issues with mud or grit getting inside.
As for the build, JRA offers plenty of configuration options at the point of ordering, with JRA building them by hand in around 10 days.
The base price for a set of Monitors is £845, and as you make your choices on the website the price will increase if there is a charge for certain parts.
There is a choice of various hubs, including having the front one set up for a dynamo, and you can choose 24, 28 or 32 holes to accept either j-bend or straight-pull spokes.
The hubs are from Bitex, which JRA says it has used since 2014 with proven reliability.
Six-bolt or Center Lock rotor fitment is also available, and depending on your selection, there are various anodised colours available.
There is a full choice of freehubs on offer, from Shimano 11-speed (plus 9 and 10-speed with spacer), Shimano Microspline, SRAM XDR, and Campagnolo, both standard and the 13-speed N3W required for Ekar.
Various hub end caps will allow you to make your wheels compatible with pretty much any frame and fork.
Our build has straight-pull hubs with Center Lock disc mounting, 24 CX-Ray spokes (standard on the Monitor builds) and Sapim secure-lock nipples, anodised blue to match the hub colour. All this adds up to a cost of £879.
The carbon fibre rim is 25mm deep, with an external width of 32mm and 27mm internal, and weighs around 370g. The rim bed is offset for the spokes, which reduces dishing and therefore increases strength in the build.
JRA has gone for hookless rims which will only work safely with tubeless-compatible tyres; as you really only want to be running tubeless tyres for gravel riding it makes a lot of sense. The rims are ideally suited to tyres from 38mm to 57mm wide, and I found that fitting was quick and easy, although I did use an Airshot inflation system to get the boost of air required to pop the tyres onto the rim.
JRA offers a three-year warranty on build quality and components, with a five-year warranty on hub shells. It also only recommends a weight limit on 24-spoke wheels, of 85kg; from 28 spokes and above there is no limit.
Competition-wise, Scribe's Gravel Wide++ 700 CD Disc – which looks to be very much the same as the Carbon Gravel Wide++ 700 Disc our colleagues over at off.road.cc reviewed a little while back – have a claimed weight of 1,316g, and come in a touch narrower and shallower than the JRAs. The price is slightly lower at £799, but they do have a combined weight limit of 115kg. You don't get the customisation of the JRAs either.
I reviewed the Reynolds G700 wheelset back in 2022 and, overall, I was pretty impressed. They are of a similar build style, although they were heavier than the JRAs by quite a margin at 1,520g, and cost £1,350.
You can go cheaper with the Prime Orra 700C carbon gravel wheelset at just £599.99, though they are heavier at 1,610g and don't have the handbuilt kudos of the JRAs.
I tested those last month and they are great for those with a minimal budget, but if you want a set of wheels with handbuilt personalisation then the JRAs are worth the extra cash easily.
Superlight and great value for money, the Monitors ride unbelievably well, making them one of the best gravel wheelsets out there, boosted by the fact that there is so much customisation ability. You can literally build the wheels you want. There are cheaper and lighter wheelsets out there, but as a package the JRAs can barely be criticised.
Durable, light, stiff and good value – the Monitors prove that you can have it all
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Just Riding Along Monitor Carbon wheels
Size tested: One size
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
JRA says, "The Monitor is a tough wheelset fast off-road riding with a wide, strong rim suited to tyres from 38-57mm.
The wheelset features our usual choice of hub options with centre-lock or 6-bolt disk mounts available as well as straight-pull or traditional J-bend spokes."
This is a high-quality set of wheels with performance bolstered by an incredibly low weight.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Hubs : centre-lock or 6-bolt, j-bend or straight-pull options available in standard or Boost widths
Rims : JRA Monitor carbon in 650b or 29er (700c) sizes. 370g rim weight (29er), 32mm external, 25mm depth and 27mm internal width.
decals: water transfer decal in colour options shown
Spokes : Sapim CX-Ray black spokes as standard
Nipples : Sapim secure-lock aluminium or brass nipples in your colour choice
Freehub: Shimano 11 speed or Campagnolo 12 speed are included in base price. Sram XD, XD-R, Shimano Microspline and Campag N3W are available at small extra charge, shown when you configure the wheels
Rider weight limit: 85kg for most 24-spoke wheels, no weight limit for 28 spoke wheels.
Recommended tyre widths: 32mm – 57mm
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
They stayed perfectly true throughout the review period.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Tyres fitted simply, although an inflation system will help.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
Rim tape comes fitted, but no other extras come with the wheels.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Great performance while tough enough to cope with the abuse from rough gravel tracks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
I have no issues with the wheels, although some riders are still a little wary of hookless rims.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They are nearly £500 less than the Reynolds mentioned in the review which follow a similar build style, but a bit more expensive than the Scribes. The JRAs do offer a huge amount of customising options, though, which the others don't.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
A near-faultless set of wheels across the board: well built, highly durable and deliver very well in terms of performance.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!