I have two pair of road disc wheels and one set of road rim wheels and would recommend them all. One is affordable in your price range the other two are not unless you find a used set.
The affordable set is the Bontrager Aeolus Pro 51 TLR disc. They retail for around $1500USD. The internal rim width is 23mm and the outer is 31mm so they would work as a gravel wheel IMO.
The not so affordable disc set is the DT Swiss Dicut 1100’s. They retail for over $3000USD. I honestly don’t think their is much performance advantage over the Bontragers. They are lighter than the Bontrager even though they are deeper at 62mm. They deal with cross wind well. Corner fine…no complaints. Narrower widths. I don’t recall the exact but, 20 and 27mm come to mind which seems a little narrow these days.
The road rim set are the ENVE 7.8SES’s. I have nothing but good things to say about them except for the price. They accept a lot of cross wind before they stall. Super stable. Several years of abuse and zero maintenance. I’ll re grease the DT Swiss 240 hubs occasionally…Many used sets going for less than $2k though.
If I had to choose just one I’d go with Bontrager.
They are my only wheelset for my road bike(I run 303FC’s on my gravel bike) I think there is twice Ive wished for shallower hoops. Both of them were days of 20+mph sustained winds with 30+ gusts. They were just all out miserable days on the bike. To be fair I’m 6’2 and 180lbs so I’m equally a big wind catcher.
What depth wheel does you want and what tire width are you planning on running most of the time? Are you planning on going running tubeless tires? Most new wheels allow for this, but some some of these new tubeless wheels/rims are hookless which does mean certain tires cannot be used on them.
In addition to some of the ones mentioned by others above…3T discus 45/32, Roval has a few nice offerings, November Wheels will build you a nice set using open mold rims and good hubs
Id vote for FFWD as a great affordable wheelset. Can spec em pretty nice and come out well under budget.
I have those DT swiss wheels mentioned above that came on my canyon. I wouldnt buy them again. I think they absolutely suck in crosswind, hence the reason for the shallower FFWD wheels.
Been eyeballing the bontragers for my CX bike. They seem to pop up used around my area for around 1200 und below pretty regularly.
Used Zipp 404 in the past and had nothing but great things to say about them. Bought them used, not sure Id pay full price for them but they were solid wheels. In 3 years of ownership, i dont recall ever having to true them, and that was when I was at my heaviest. Dont think I ever touched the hubs either
Don’t spend $2k on wheels. They’re all the same and you can get quality, brand-name for $1400. The difference between $1500 and $4000 is straight bull****. There’s a braking argument you can make for rim brakes, but not for disc. Usually they ditch the normal DT Swiss 350 hub and put a custom DT Swiss hub on it that’s basically the same. Enve takes an ugly Mavic hub and replaces it with a crappy CF shelled Mavic hub.
Merlin sells OEM spec’d things for cheap. These are the best bang for the buck you’re going to find. These are the same as the Swissside wheels. I think these are optimized for a 25c front tire.
Scott also have their Syncros brand, which are just rebranded DT Swiss wheels.
Also, get tires. ALWAYS toss the tires that came with the bike. A set of better tires will save you more watts than the wheels.
Make sure you get the right freehub body.
If you’re SRAM 12 - XDR.
Shimano - you want the common SRAM/Shimano 11sp (HG) type even for 12sp.
The discs on both wheel sets should be Centerlock, but 6bolt ones are out there.
The wheels should come with tubeless valves- if they don’t you need ones that are rim depth + 13mm or more - so 50mm + 13mm would be the smallest valve you can get away with. The 13mm gives you enough valve stem for the pump to grab on to.
Get a spare tube too with a long valve stem or and extender
I say this because it’s usually cheaper to buy everything at once if you’re ordering international and the prices are cheaper in the EU.
Given your profile, I’d recommend you go for goldilocks-depth (40–50 mm deep) wheels with a 25 mm wide inner rim. For long road rides and sportifs, you want comfort, ergo 28–32 mm wide tires. 40–50 mm deep wheels these days are benign in cross winds, and deeper wheels tend to have stiffer rims, too, which again might knock you around more. You also want tubeless-ready wheels.
Zipp 303S: ticks all the boxes.
Enve 45: ticks most of the boxes, its inner rim is quite narrow (21 mm). The SES 4.5 tick all the boxes, but are way over budget.
3T Discus 45|32: ticks all the boxes. I own a pair, and the ride is amazing: I can rail through corners with confidence, because I know what is happening, yet they are comfortable.
Thanks to everyone on the forum. I decided to go Zipp 404 for the road and I’ll get another gravel set later. One of the things about my new bike was that it’s only suitable for up to 30mm three so wheels like the reserve and 303 fire rest weren’t ideal.
This forum put me onto biketiresdirect.com as well where I got a 20% discount— so I saved a lot and still got ‘member credit’.
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