There are many different reasons to upgrade the wheels on your road bike, ranging from improving performance, right across to personalising the bike's aesthetics. Customers of ours upgrade their road bike wheels for good reason, unless you have spent upwards of £5,000 on the very best road bike money can buy, it’s likely that your road bike wheels will not match the quality and feel of your bike. It simply does not make sense for a bike manufacturer to add the very best wheels onto a bike, when a more mediocre set will suffice and keep the purchase price of the bike lower.
This means that if you swap out a budget set of wheels, to a half decent set of aluminium wheels - which will save weight and feel better, and you have a seriously powerful first upgrade. This small margin in weight difference, makes an impressive difference in acceleration and speed. Those looking for weight saving measures, should consider carbon fibre wheels - which are as strong as alloy, but at a fraction of the weight.
Another massive advantage of upgrading road bike wheels, is the aerodynamic benefits of running a new wheelset. If you look at a time trial road bike, you will notice deep rims and bladed spokes - designs which are carried through across aerodynamic road bike wheels.
At a component level, upgraded road bike hub bearings also provide a performance benefit. Although hub bearings are no more aerodynamic when the quality of the wheel is improved - upgraded bearings provide less rolling resistance. They are also more likely to be sealed bearings, which means that the bearings are less likely to suffer from dirt and water ingress.
As well as handling better, being quicker and more aerodynamic - upgraded road bike wheels are also more comfortable - allowing you to run wider and larger tyres, allowing a lower tyre pressure to be run, which smooths uneven road surfaces.
Although not a direct upgrade when it comes to wheelsets, we cannot miss out upgrading your road bike wheelset to a tubeless setup - minimising the risk of having to stop riding in the event of a puncture, with sealant doing a great job of keeping you on the road and moving forwards.