Which wheelset would you recommend?

I’m going to be more actively riding my gravel bike this season and I was wondering what everyone’s take is on my two wheel options for races (most of which have anywhere from 6k-10k climbing and a mix of road a gravel/dirt/fire roads).

Option 1: 50mm deep carbon wheels with 30mm external 21mm internal (1515g) —> currently on road bike
Option 2: 25mm deep aluminum wheels with 28mm external 24mm internal (1950g)

Which of those options do you think would be ideal for gravel? I’m not overly experienced with how much internal rim width really impacts handling off-road, but apparently it does. Any experiences or opinions are welcome.

EDIT: Tire sire will range from 38-45 depending on the course. I’m always for more cushion so I tend to run bigger than what the majority rolls on.

You should also list the intended tire(s) & sizes for each wheelset too (same or different?).

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Good point. Edited the OP.

Thanks, Chad :slight_smile:

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Agree with @mcneese.chad here on this. Terrain and how large of a tire your bike can handle will help with this. Also what frame are you running? That’ll help decide as not all frames can handle huge/tall tires.

I’m in the same boat as you: I have some aero 50mm deep hoops, but only 21 internal. With my bike, I can’t really get a 40/42 in there. I’ll keep my road slicks on this for road racing and riding. Maybe swap to this set when I can get away with a 35mm wide tire for some races - but that’s just a lot of work.

I’m looking for something 25-29 internal width so I can easily get a wider 40-ish tire in there without it ballooning and getting too tall an rubbing. Width is fine, it’s the height. I’m not scared of an aluminum rim as long as it’s not god awful heavy and wide.

I might even go 650b with a 29/30 internal and really get a nice tall tire in there (3t calls it ram / wam ) and shouldn’t lose that much speed.

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You aren’t gonna get much aero benefit on a gravel bike, so leave the rim height off to the side…it is largely immaterial.

So your question comes down to added benefit of 3mm internal rim width (wider measured tire, less PSI, more comfort) vs. a pound of wheel weight.

I know we are discovering more and more that weight doesn’t really impact results, but I keep looking at those +440g in my old-school roadie eyes like :eyes: :eyes: :eyes:

I think I would lean towards the carbon wheels, but I am also not saying that is the definitive answer. I guess I would set them up with the same tires and then ride them back to back days on the same hilly-ish loop and see how they feel.

You’ve read my mind. I can’t shake the 440g out of my mind. But when I look at the overall weight of the bike/rider, we’re only talking like 3% weight game.

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Id feel more comfortable, psychologically anyway, bouncing the aluminium wheels around.

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That’s a good point I didn’t consider. I might be less conscious of the aluminum wheel and be more willing to descend more aggressively without the fear of smacking my nice wheels off a rock.

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i’d go with a shallower wheel that is wider, but that weight is a bit much that you have but wouldn’t scare me. I bet you could find some lighter wheels for sale too. 1950 is kinda heavy no doubt. Not sure what the budget is but I picked up some spinergy shallow wheels that are 25mm internal that will make my 38s work in my exploro for sub 400. They weigh 1400 or so

Which Spinergy wheels did you pick up? You made my ears perk up at that price.

spinergy gx I think they’re called. Found them on PinkBike buy/sell. Another option I was going to with were Hunt wheels. They have a sale right now and also check out their ‘ReNew’ section on the site.

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If you are willing to consider new wheels, I think this pair is pretty hard to beat right now for $750…

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That’s what I’d buy too right now… If only I had the extra funds

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Sounds like you have a road bike and a gravel bike. I’d setup the carbon wheels for the roadie and the aluminum wheels for gravel. That way you have two complete bikes and can hit the road or trails without having to change tires (and possibly cassettes, rotors, etc if different drive trains).

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I would go option 2 with 42-45mm tyres. And throw in some Vittoria airliners.

That’s my go to for racing. Otherwise I cruise around in 35mm carbon rims with 40mm tyres. And air liners.