Deep section carbon wheels on a budget?

Thanks, appreciate the comment - that’s actually pretty good to know though I am a bit heavier than you it’s still comforting to hear of real world experience.

45mm LB falcon pro with 350s w/ upgraded pawls. AWESOME Wheelset!!

Hi everyone,

I’m also in the market for a set of those “budget” carbon wheels (although not necessarily deep section, more in the range of 35-50mm). These will be my first carbon wheels, so I have zero clue (and find it hard to find good information about) what I need to look for in those, so lots of questions and I think I might be focusing on the wrong things. I would be glad for any advice.

I have stumbled upon these:

They seem good value for the money, does anyone here ride Parcours wheels? Any experiences would be greatly appreciated. I have seen 1 or 2 people here on a different thread say good things about them, but not as many as about LB wheels or Wheelsfar or Prime here.

My options overall are these here (unless I have missed some?):
Parcours Grimpeur 40mm, 850€, 1395g, current favorite, but lacking in feedback

Prime RR 50 V3, 50mm, 670€, 1775g, second place due to price & recommendations, but seem quite heavy?
Since I’m based in Germany, the LightBicycles Options are limited to Quick order with very limited choice, this is what I would come out with:
LightBicycles AR, 46mm, DT Swiss 240EXP Hub, 950€, 1408g, split second place, I like the wheels most due to recommendations here, but pricier than other options

Wheelsfar Classic 43mm with DT350 Hub, 740€, 1635g, third place (price, recommendations, customizable to 28H/28H and DT Swiss Hub which is a good brand afaik)

Prime Black Edition 50mm, 850€, 1506g

Most important to me is the better ride feel I’m hoping for, coming from DT Swiss P1800 aluminium wheels - are there large differences between the stiffness / ride quality between different manufacturers?
Otherwise it would seem that weight is important. Or am I focusing on the wrong things?
Also, I understand that more spokes seems to be better, but nearly all of the non-custom made wheelsets come with 24H/24H it seems. I weigh 75-80kg. Would it be unwise for me to go for a 24 spoke wheelset?
Can I still use classic tubes / standard tires even if I have a rim without holes? I would assume the only relevant difference is that I need the hooks, right?
Also, do you save significant amounts of money if you build a wheel yourself? Is this doable for a complete beginner or is it possible I would ruin the rims?

So many questions, so many options… I would greatly appreciate any opinions / advice!


Edit: added question.

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Is there a massive benefit to be had choosing Light Bicycle Falcon over the Falcon Pro?

I have the Prime Black Edition 50’s and they are the most unstable thing ever. Not sure if it’s just me not being used to them, but at over 35mph they are down right scary.

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Is it that they are unstable in crosswinds or are the wheels themselves unstable? I ask as a 90kg+ rider, crosswinds are fine but the wheels need to be stable.

I’m on the Black Edition 60s and really like them. I am heavier but not gigantic (85kg) and the only time I’ve really been concerned is crossing a large bridge (about 50m above sea) on a really gusty day. I had to slow right down and white knuckle the drops to get across safely. I occasionally get a wobble from gaps between hedgerows or buildings but nothing too alarming.

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The wheels are fine in crosswinds. They do not corner the best and when descending at above a threshold of 33-34mph that are super unstable. I’m running 28c gp5000. My buddy tells me that it’s normal but I still want to try another set of deep wheels to be convinced

I have a pair off the Black Edition 50’s (clincher version) and love them so far.

I previously owned a set of 50 mm tubulars with a “V” profile. The Black Edition 50’s (which are more of a “U/V” hybrid profile) are noticeably better in crosswinds, despite having the same rim depth as my old wheelset. I honestly didn’t think I would notice a difference, but I can.

No problems for me at high speeds either. For what it’s worth I’m around 74 kg.

The spoke tension from the factory is a bit looser than I’m used to. There was some brake rub when sprinting, but I opened up the calipers a little more and problem solved. (I could also tighten the spokes up a little, but it’s not worth it.)

I’m still debating between the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 5 TLR road wheels ($1300, can buy at LBS) and the Light Bike Wheels R55 ($1150, claimed 4-5 weeks shipping :frowning_face:). I’m leaning toward the R55 because they are less expensive, have a DT Swiss hub, and I can re-order just the rim if I needed to. Weight is nearly identical (+/- 50g).

Anyone have experience with either wheelset, or even both? Anything else I should consider to push the decision one direction or the other?

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The Light wheels only have an internal width of 17.9…that is pretty far below the norms / standards today. The Bontragers are marginally better at 19.5, but I’d be hard pressed to buy a wheelset today that is less than 20mm internal, probably even 21mm

@Power13, good observation and feedback. What benefit does the wider internal width provide? (I’m still learning.) I guess I could go with the AR56 that has 23mm of internal width but need to check if the 30mm outside width fits my older 2010 Motobecane.

Also, is there an appreciable difference between 50mm depth (Bontrager) and 55mm (LB)? Based on what I’ve read there are little aero differences for those 5mm.

A wider internal width allows you to run wider tires (which in turn are made even wider by that width). SO a 23mm tire will often measure as a 25mm tire when mounted on a wider rim. Wider tires increase air volume and allow you to run lower pressure…that provides a more comfortable ride and is actually faster.

Now, that said, you just added a critical piece of info…you are riding a 2010 Motobecane. it is unlikely that you would be able ti fit a tire much wider than a 25mm anyway on a frame that old (let alone the wider rim)…so given that, your original wheel options would probably be OK choices.

I’ve done some crude measurements by putting on my existing wheels/tires, which I know the outer dimensions, and checked clearance with allen wrenches of varying widths. I’m confident I have clearance for either the Bontrager or LB WR55. My current front wheel has an internal width of 17 mm and the rear has 18 mm.

FWIW, I have Prime RR-38s, V2 I believe, well made, run smooth but they certainly are not the lightest. They also are a real b*tch to get GP5Ks mounted on.

For my groadie, I took the leap on some Superteam 40mm carbons so I could use my Novatec Jetfly alloys on another bike. We’ll see how they fare out.

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I bit the bullet a few weeks back and bought the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 5 at my LBS, went with GP5k TL and vittoria inserts. With me being a heavier rider at 90kg+ they handle great when I push hard in corners or sprint. Also really stable in crosswinds at 14-15m/s. All in all I think they are great.

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@emilberge thanks for the info. I ended up getting the Light Bicycle Falcon R55. They came two weeks ago and I’ve only been able to get two rides on them, but one was a 75-miler up an HC3 climb. I set them up tubeless with 25mm tires (I have an older bike and it cannot go much wider) at around 80 psi and am loving the more comfortable ride compared to the 23mm at 90-100 psi (I’m 75 kg). Other than it taking seven weeks to make and ship, I’m quite satisfied so far.


I agree, riding at lot lower preassure makes it alot more comfy when riding.


How have these held up? I have a set of DT240 hub 24H/28H WR50 Pros in the lightweight config and Sapim-CX Ray spokes on the way. Gonna run TL GP5000s 28mm, should set up 30mm to adhere to 105% rule. Hopefully these are the comfort/aero combo I’ve been looking for. What is your experience? Mine should come in around 1355g for the pair. Super stoked!

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I’ve been in the same boat for a while… have an amazing (older) bike with rim brakes that would really benefit from a great set of wheels, but hard to justify spending big $$ (also, I’m a weekend warrior, so there’s that…). Ended up getting a set of (slightly used) FFWD F4R and have noticed a BIG difference compared to my Fulcrum Racing 3s. Love the Fulcrums… they’re great… the FFWDs (45mm) are stiff and twitchy, but they roll smooth and fast. I’m running a new set of Conti Pro 5000 TL tubeless 25mm, and they look HUGE on the 26mm outer rim width of the FFWDs. I do find it interesting that Conti’s pressure range is 80-109 psi… I’d love to run these as low as possible, but I get nervous running them towards the bottom of the rating… anyone have any experience running these tires low? For reference, I’m about 90 kg and the roads around here are pretty rough.