11 best gravel wheelsets for all budgets reviewed Bikepacking wheels, tubeless-ready, clincher rims, disc 700c vs 650b, Carbon vs budget Alloy The best gravel wheels from cheap to top
Looking to upgrade your bikepacking rig? The strenuous research for the best gravel wheelset is exhausting you? You landed on the right review article, here we’ll showcase the best gravel wheels for all budgets, from cheap to luxury.
Riding your bike on smooth tarmac is way different than riding it on a rough mountain bike track or a gravel road. Bikepacking on different terrains does not just need a different bike, there are a plethora of other factors that matter for a smooth and safe ride.
When we talk about gravel riding, and off-road bikepacking there are various aspects that need attention, especially important ones are wheels and tires.
Wheels hold all the weight, and tires are the contact point with the surface, this should already tell how can they make a big difference in your bike’s performance.
Unlike other terrain wheels, gravel bike wheels have seen a lot of improvements in the last few years. Hence, there are a lot of choices based on the rim material, spokes count, tire type, and whatnot.
If you are a professional and you need to buy a gravel wheelset, you may not get the exact specifications you want from the market. There are many brands, and they all follow different sets of criteria for designing the best gravel wheelset. So, you may either have to satisfy yourself with the available ones, or you can get them made on-demand.
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How we compile our gear guides: during the almost 10 years of cycloscope.net our team personally tested dozens of similar pieces of gear. For what we can't test personally, we involve other people in the cycling community to give their feedback and opinion about gear they have used. Our decade-long experience in bicycle touring enables us to find the key cons and pros of every product we mention.
What to look for in a gravel wheelset
Some of the crucial attributes that vary in gravel bike wheelsets and that you need to pay close attention to are:
Internal rim width (it should be in the range of 21-27mm)
Tire size (700c or 650b)
Material ( Carbon fiber or Alloy)
Spoke count (more the spokes, the more load you can put on it)
Disc brake ready
Apart from these, there are many other aspects based on which the choice of the best gravel bike wheels varies.
In the coming sections, we will break down every aspect that you need to know before buying the best wheels for your gravel bike. We will also take a look at some of the top gravel wheels. So, let us just dive into the product reviews first.
Best gravel and bikepacking wheelsets in a nutshell
Sunrise Bike 700C Clincher Carbon Wheelset
Best 29″ gravel wheels for rim brakes
JIMAITEAM 700C Disc Brake Wheelset
Great Tubless/clincher wheelset for wide bikepacking tires
Queen Bike Carbon Fiber Wheelset
Cheap rim-brake carbon clincher wheels for gravel
Roval Terra CLX EVO 700C Wheelset
Best plus bikepacking wheelset overall
Stan’s Notubes Grail MK3 Wheel
Best budget alloy tubeless rims for bikepacking
Reynolds ATR 650 Carbon Disc Wheelset
Best 650b carbon wheels for gravel
Mavic Allroad Pro Disc Wheel
Great gravel wheels for speed and shock absorption
Well, a good gravel wheelset is an indispensable element that governs the performance of a gravel bike. Gravel bikes have various aspects like longer wheelbases, fatter tires, disk brakes, and many others. Here we will just talk about the wheelsets of a gravel bike. Check them closely, maybe you like some of them!
Unlike the previous wheelset, this one does not have disc brake mounts, but it does fulfill all the necessary requirements of the best gravel wheelsets for rim brakes. The SunRise clincher wheelset has a 23mm internal width that makes it ideal for 700C tires widths from 30-45 mm (1.2/1.8″), so ideal for light gravel and mixed terrain bikepacking.
Other than this, it has a beautiful design with a 3k Matte finish on the rim. A 12-layer carbon on the brake track and 6-layer carbon on the rim body. Thus, making it a durable carbon gravel wheelset.
If we talk about the hubs and spokes of the wheelset, it features 20 spokes on the front wheel and 24 on the rear one. This helps the bike in handling a decent weight of up to 120 kg. The hubs fitted in the wheelset are Powerway R13 Hubs that are extremely lightweight and thus increase the bike’s performance.
Tubeless-ready: Yes (also be used as a clincher wheel)
Disc Wheel: Yes
Price: $539.00 – $559.00
Well, if you are fond of heavily loaded biking, then this wheelset will be an awesome fit for your bike. Designed with a deep rim width of 38/50mm, this 29er disc bikepacking wheelset can take up ample weight and offer great control irrespective of the surface of the path.
The U-shaped rim has an internal width of 25mm which makes it ideal for mounting wide tires for gravel roads. Moreover, the wheels are good to go with 700C road tires. So, you will also get the advantage of speed.
The wheels also stand out in the case of weight management as it has 24 spokes both in the front as well as rear wheels. Unlike the previous tires, the maximum pressure rating of this one is high (140 PSI).
Gravel riding may become an issue if you don’t have the right wheels on your bike. But to make your bikepacking trips smooth, you don’t need to spend a fortune. Get these Queen bike wheelsets instead. The powerful carbon fiber design makes it extremely durable for long time use.
Moreover, the deep rim of 50 mm allows the tire to easily slice off any surface, whether it is mud, rocks, or any other. The high-depth rim of the bike also makes the bike fit for heavyweight riding, and to support that, the wheelset is equipped with a premium quality hub and spokes.
The wheelset has a Powerway R13 Black hub and CN494 Black spokes. For maximum weight capacity, the rear wheel spoke count is 24, whereas for the front one of 20. The rim width of this one is less than the others, 23mm which makes it fit for 700C narrow contact patch tires.
Tubeless-ready: Yes (can also be used as a clincher wheel)
Disc wheel: Yes
Accessories: padded wheel bag, tubeless rim tape, valves
This 700C state-of-the-art wheelset from Roval stands out of the crowd; why? It has a wider 30 mm internal rim width that makes it ideal for plus tires with a width of around 2.1/2.6 inches.
Another interesting feature of these best carbon gravel wheels is that they are tubeless-ready. Hence, you can get rid of tubes anytime for enhanced traction and puncture protection.
You will also be surprised to know that these wheels support disc brakes, which is way better than rim brake wheels. On top of all, the Roval Terra wheelset has 24 spokes on both the front and rear wheels which makes it fit for handling significant weight.
If we talk about the weight, the metallic clincher wheel has a weight of 1357g, which is light enough to provide you with faster performance.
If you have a fixed and low budget, no need to worry. We have one for you also, and that one is Stan’s Notubes Grail MK3 wheelset. Just like its name, this alloy wheelset has a tubeless design that provides you with an awesome ride for cyclocross, gravel, and road cycling.
The distinguishing feature of this wheelset is the spoke count. Unlike other wheelsets that have only 20-24 spokes on the rims. This one has 28 spokes in both wheels, which makes this wheelset ideal for heavy-loaded bikepacking on your gravel bike, besides being great for heavy riders. As the spoken count of the rim is high, it can take up a maximum weight of 230 pounds.
The 20.3 mm internal width along with Bead Socket technology makes the rim best for tires 25-40 mm wide, which means it is ideal for tarmac and light gravel.
If we talk about the pressure, that should be around 110 PSI for a 25 mm tire and 55 PSI for a 40 mm tire.
If you are more of a mountain climbing bike lover, it is best to buy a 650B wheelset. And we have got the best choice for you.
The Reynolds ATR Disc wheelset has a 650B rim size that makes it a great option for loose tracks, dirt crumbs, and descents. If we talk about the rim width, the 23 mm internal width has the ability to adjust the 40 mm tire width. Moreover, it is one of the best 650b gravel wheelsets due to its improved comfort and awesome grip over the surface.
One other cool thing about this wheelset is the disk brake compatibility when many competitor products come as a rim brake wheelset. The spoke count of both the wheels of the wheelset is 24 which allows for a balance between weight management and the overall weight of this tubeless wheelset.
Whether it is a stubborn gravel road or a smooth surface road, Mavic Allround Pro treats them all equally and delivers optimum performance. The Maxtal alloy provides it with a sturdy construction that can deal with bumpy tracks with ease. Moreover, the tubeless design of the tires makes them immune to pinch flats and also elevates the comfort level.
One interesting thing about the Mavic Allround Pro is that it can comfortably run on lower pressure also. As a matter of fact, the low-pressure wheel helps you have greater control over bumpy and uneven roads.
Being able to withstand higher tire pressures, the tubeless design of this wheelset helps in reducing rolling resistance and getting more speed while riding on rough terrains. The 24-spoke rear wheel and 20-spoke front wheel structure help in distributing brake torque optimally. All these attributes make it one of the best gravel wheelsets.
Works with lower-pressure tires
Equipped with Inter Spoke Milling to improve aerodynamics
Although most of the wheelsets on the list are either clincher or tubeless, the Zipp 30 wheelset is the one that can be used as both. It comes as a clincher wheelset, but it is also tubeless-ready. So, whenever you get tired of flats, you can switch to tubeless tires for a hassle-free experience.
This nice rim from Zipp is made from premium quality aluminum that provides durability. The 21 mm internal rim width makes it more of a road/gravel hybrid wheelset, good for a variety of surfaces.
The biggest selling point of these Zipp 30-course disc wheels is their extremely low weight. They are also ideal to be used for a wide range of riding styles.
This wheelset is the best option for you if you wanna challenge the roughest terrains of any country. These carbon enduro wheels have an internal rim width of 30.5 mm that makes them the best fit for 2.3-2.8 inches plus tires. The ultimate expedition bikepacking wheelset!
Not only this, but the wheelset also has 28 direct-thread straight-pull steel spokes on both of the wheels that handle weight efficiently; The maximum weight they can handle is 250 pounds.
The Enduro S rim of the wheels is made from premium quality aluminum that affects the overall cost of the wheels (cheap). Other than this, they also make it ideal for rough paths. The rim hubs feature independently phased pawls that make it easy for you to pedal. Moreover, they excellently distribute the weight and thus reduce wear on the system.
The last one on the list might be the best choice for many gravel cyclists. The Bontrager Aeolus road wheel has a sturdy carbon construction that makes it immensely durable. Moreover, the wheelset has an internal width of 25 mm that is best for fitting wider 650B tires.
If we talk about the weight capacity of the wheelset, both front and rear wheels of the road wheels have 24 spokes that make it immune to extra weight and break stress. The tubeless-ready design of the wheel can be used for extra comfort by lowering the pressure on the wheels.
The Rapid Drive 108 road hubs of the wheelset also support you by providing faster acceleration and increased control. All these aspects make it one of the best set of wheels for gravel bikes.
Rim width: 25 mm
Rim depth: 37 mm
Spoke count: 24 (front) 24 (rear)
Disc wheel: Yes
Price: $579.99 – $719.99
Wide tire frame
The width of the rim may not be the best fit for you.
With time, both rims and tires of the bikes have evolved, so has the way of cycling. These days most of the bike tracks that entice the riders wanderlust are rough, which has given birth to various new types of bike wheels, for instance, Gravel wheels.
Gravel wheels and bikes are as such a new domain in the biking world. Hence, if you are buying a new wheel or rim for your gravel bike, it is best to do your research in the best way.
When you go on finding the ideal specifications of the best gravel bike wheelset, you may not get one. There are many brands, and they all have their own specifications for a tire to rim width, internal width, depth, and whatnot.
For a comfortable ride, it is necessary to get everything right, and that includes the right wheels and tires. Here is an estimate of the tire to rim width.
The internal width of the bike wheel or rim should be 0.5 times the width of the tire.
Here is a table to elaborate better:
Tire Width (mm)
Internal width of the rim (mm)
Make sure that the rim is not too wide as it may damage the tire by increasing friction on rough surfaces. As per ETRTO (European Tire and Rim Technical Organization), it is suggested that the tire’s width should not be less than 20% greater than the rim’s internal width.
Carbon vs. Alloy Wheelset
You must have observed that we have talked about both carbon and alloy wheelsets above. Both of them have their unique pros as well as cons, so let’s take a look at them:
These wheels have a lightweight design.
A bit heavier than carbon wheels.
Unlike alloy wheels, the replacement and repairing of carbon wheels are tough and costly.
Easy to built (can combine any set of spokes or hubs to rim)
The cost of putting together a carbon wheel is really expensive.
Alloy wheels come at almost half the cost of a carbon wheel.
Carbon wheels lightweight design helps in offering better aerodynamics; hence, more speed.
Alloy wheels lack the aerodynamics of carbon wheels.
Carbon wheels improve the overall aesthetics of the bike.
Alloy wheels may lose their brilliant look after some time.
Head to head: 650B Vs. 700C
When it comes to choosing the best tires for your best gravel bike wheelset, you will mostly get two options. You must have observed that the above-described wheelsets included tire sizes of 700C and 650B.
These are the tire sizes we are going to compare here. Although both of them have their pros, here is a head to head comparison of both:
650b wheels have smaller diameter rims
700C wheels have larger diameter rims
The smaller diameter wheel fits wider tires and thus provides elevated traction on rough surfaces.
The larger wheel of the 700C wheel allows it to roll faster with low rolling resistance.
The tire width for 650b wheels varies from 40 mm (1.6″) to 55mm (2.1 inches).
700C wheels can be paired with tires of width 35-42 mm.
The 650b wheel size combined with wider tires works perfectly for loaded bikes.
The big 700C wheels maintain comfort on rocky and bumpy roads without compromising speed.
Best for climbing roads with loaded bikes.
Best for gravel riding and racing.
Bikes that have ample tire clearance can use both 700C as well as 650B wheels based on the terrain and its requirements, you should check your frame and fork specifications to be sure you’re buying a combination of wheels and tires that would fit your bike.
How is Tubular (Tubeless) tire different from Clincher tire?
Technology has disrupted every part of our life, even the bike wheels. As compared to previously used clincher tires, these days, people like tubeless tires more.
The sole reason that governs this is durability. Unlike clincher wheels that have a tube, tubeless tires are fitted to the wheel using a sealant that grips the rim to the tire and traps the air within.
Tubeless and clincher tires vary based on various factors:
Puncture resistant: Unlike clincher tires, tubeless tires are resistant to punctures and also provide low rolling resistance.
Fitting: As compared to a tubeless tire, the clincher tire is easier to fit into the rim. As tubeless tires have multiple layers of rubber, they are tough to fit on to the rim. They require sealant so you should bring that with you.
Tire pressure: The tire pressure for the clincher wheel should be high for better performance. On the other hand, if you are using wider tires, the pressure of tubeless tires should be kept low.
Hassle: If a Tubelesstire gets punctured anyway, you can still ride for a small distance while protecting the tire. Taking off a tubeless tire is a pain and you’ll need new sealant for the repair. On the other hand, if a clincher tire gets punctured, you need to get off the bike and repair it immediately to move further, this is thought much quicker operation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Gravel Wheels
Are 700c tires good for gravel?
The larger 700C wheel rolls faster thanks to the lower rolling resistance. 700C wheels maintain comfort on rocky and bumpy roads without compromising speed. They are best for gravel riding and racing, but can mount slimmer tires compared to 650b, which are better for climbing difficult roads with loaded bikes.
What’s the maximum tire size I can mount on my rims?
The internal width of the bike wheel or rim should be around 0.5 times the width of the tire. It is recommended that the tire’s width should not be less than 20% bigger than the rim’s internal width.
Here ends the comprehensive guide of best gravel wheels. Now, it will be easy for you to decide if you want to go for the cyclocross wheelset 700c disc or a 650B size wheel. You can choose between alloy or carbon wheelset with no hassle. We hope you get the best out of this guide. Happy biking!
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