What to look for when purchasing carbon bicycle wheels

What to look for when purchasing carbon bicycle wheels

Carbon wheels are aerodynamic and stronger than steel. They are one of the best and reliable bike wheels on the market. They are thin and light with different expectations of good performance when racing on a flat surface.

If you own a bike, you already know that your wheels need replacement after some time. The replacement depends on the type of road used, trail conditions, weight and how much braking you do.

What makes you replace your wheel? Well, different rims have a replacement indicator. Holes in wheels and grooves can be the main cause. If the side does not have a wear indicator, you should check the surface part or concave depression.

Spokes and rims are subject to metal fatigue in the long run. It is therefore advisable to check with experts on the wheels’ health if they stay for long.  Upgrading your wheel helps in boosting the performance of your bicycle. A wheel improvement can help you ride comfortably, efficiently and tackle terrain professionally.

Sometimes considering custom wheel building may turn out to be the best option. It allows you to choose best components to use in making of the wheel. It also enables you to match the wheel specifications to the riding need.

What to look for

When you are purchasing bike wheels, several aspects are examined. These depend on the type of bike you have and its specifications. Below are some of the tips to guide you.

  • Bike wheel compatibility

This is the ability to make sure the new wheel is integrating perfectly with your bike. Whether the reason for replacement is rim wear or giant pothole, you should make the right decision.

The new wheel must be similar to the current bike setup in all areas.

  • Tire dimensions

Look at the side of your tire, and you will find the size that corresponds to the new wheel. On the road bikes, there is a number pairing such as 70*23. The first number represents size that corresponds to the outer diameter of the tire in millimeters while the second represents actual tire width in millimeters.

Mountain bikes tire has a number size that appears like 24*2.0. This means that the approximate outer diameter is 24 and the width is two.



  • Tire type

If you own the standard traditional clinch tire, your tube valve type must match with the rim. If this does not happen, then you will need to purchase a new wheel.

For the tubeless tires, you need compatible wheels. In the case of mountain bike example, many bikes are tubeless. It is good you run them at a lower pressure for a smooth ride and better traction.

Universal system tubeless has designed wheels that make it easy to mount tubeless tires. When brainstorming new wheel choice, it is good to consider tubeless compatible wheels.

Tubular tires are another category that is used and have less common tire options in the market. According to experts, the tire must be glued to a rim designed explicitly for the tubular tires.

  • Brake type

There are two types of brakes; the rim and disc. Rim brakes require wheels with flat rim sidewall that align with the surface of brake shoes. For disc brakes, you need disc-compactible which have a rotor that contains rim that circles the wheel hub.

Most of the disc brakes have a rotor which attaches through a six-inch bolt. Shimano wheels, for example, have a rotor that has a center lock mount.

  • Axle attachment

If your wheel attaches to the frame with a quick-release skewer you need to check compatibility. A quick skewer slides via axle that fits into dropouts of both sides on the wheel. The wheel is attached in place when you flip over the skewer level.

It takes real decision to tell if you have thru axle since it has to slide via tow frames holes. One side of the frame hole is threaded to enable attachment of the wheel.

  • Axle dimensions

First, look at the diameter. Typical examples include 12mm, 15mm, and 20mm. It is good to check the width since most quick-release skewers are almost all 9mm.

It is essential to know the axle length which is the internal distance within the frame where the wheel mounts. The obvious example is 100mm, 110mm, 130mm, 135mm, and 142mm. Other tires require an adapter to fit a variety of axle lengths.

  • Rear hub type

These help determine how your wheel will engage with the cogs in your bike drivetrain. There are two common types of hubs; the freehub, and threaded hub.

Freehub is found on most of the bikes, and it has spline. Make sure the spline fits into the center of your rear cassette. The cassette has a lock ring, which secures the freehub. This means that your freehub must be compatible with your cassette.

The threaded hub is found on the older 5-6 speed bikes. It is compatible with freewheel cluster and set of cogs that attaches to the threads. This style of hub will function with any threaded freewheel cluster.

  • Spokes

These are pieces of wire that lace the hubs to the rim. You need to look at the number of spokes per wheel and the material choice before purchasing. This will help you buy the correct specifications that are compatible with your bike.


It is good to make a correct choice when comes to carbon bicycle wheel. The tires help you to keep rolling and get smooth hubs drive. It is rewarding to make the right judgment that is dependable, accurate and informed. Use this buyer’s guide to brainstorm and make a healthy detailed decision.


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