Wheels are a great upgrade you can make to significantly improve the performance of your bike.
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Clincher wheels: This type of wheel is by far the most popular and offers maximum convenience. A bead seat on the rim prevents the tyre from leaving the rim. Clincher tyres hook onto the rim bead, and must be fitted with a separate inner tube. The pressure inside the inner tube pushes the bead of the tyre into position giving you a safe to ride on wheel.
Tubular wheel: These are normally lighter than a clincher wheel as there is no need for a bead seat on the inside of the rim. The tubular tyre is completely encased and hence mounting the tyre on the rim requires either glue or a tubular tape. The mounting process can be time consuming however the benefits are a reduced rolling resistance and a very supple feel. Tubular wheels remain the choice of most Pro Tour teams.
Tubeless wheels: These are becoming increasingly popular, most major wheel brands have a tubeless wheel option in their portfolio of products. They may also be referred to as 2 way fit, implying Clincher and Tubeless compatibility. These wheels are usually slightly heavier than a clincher only version, as there is extra material required on the rim to provide an airtight seal for the special tubeless tyres used. The upside is you don’t use inner tubes so lose some of the rotating mass and “pinch” punctures are also less likely.
Wheels comprise of four main components; Hub, spokes, nipples and rim. The hub is the central part of the wheel that is fixed into the dropouts of the frame. The spokes connect the hub to the rim. Spoke nipples are threaded fasteners that sit within eyelets of the rim. Rims are the outer hoop of the bicycle wheel. Rims can be constructed by using materials such as aluminium or carbon fibre.
Wheels are a great upgrade you can make to significantly improve the performance of your bike. They are a rotating mass and when you upgrade to a lighter alternative you will notice a marked improvement in acceleration, climbing and bike weight. Whether you wish to upgrade to a pair of superlight carbon road wheels or buy some strong mountain bike wheels, Wiggle has a great selection for you to choose from.
It’s best to factor in your riding discipline what you hope to gain from some new wheels. Maybe you’re after a lighter set of wheels to boost your climbing and acceleration on the bike. Another factor may be getting more aerodynamic wheels to reduce drag and go faster. If you’re a mountain biker you may wish to buy some strong and light wheels which don’t flex on technical terrain.