Should I upgrade to carbon wheels
Your bike wheels are undeniably the most critical point of performance for your road bike. Performance, reliability, and ride quality are paramount when upgrading your wheels. Should I upgrade to carbon wheels for my road bike and is it just an expensive way to make your bike lighter? Do they ride better than my trusty aluminum wheels? Let’s dive into why carbon wheels are a game changer for your road bike and how they help you ride faster.
Carbon Wheels are Lightweight and Faster than Aluminum
In general, most carbon wheels are substantially lighter than aluminum wheels. While more lightweight wheels climb faster, lighter wheels also accelerate faster because it takes fewer watts to bring them up to speed. This is a huge benefit for almost all riders. Deeper dish carbon wheels also hold their speed exceptionally well, just like our GRD 46 wheelset. Typically the deeper the wheel, the more aerodynamic advantages the wheels offer. Keep in mind that aerodynamics equals acceleration and holding speed.
Stiffness & Efficiency
Not only are they lighter, but carbon rims can also be up to 5x stiffer than aluminum rims. A stiffer wheelset means you will get more power transfer out of your pedal stroke. More power transfer simply means you have less wasted energy. A flexy aluminum wheel can eat up precious energy that your legs are putting out. Not cool.
Better Ride Quality
While riding fast and having a nice stiff wheel is typically enough to get the main advantages of carbon above aluminum, there is also a noticeable ride quality that comes along with carbon wheels. Carbon has the properties to absorb micro-vibrations in a way that makes for a much smoother ride. This ride quality makes carbon wheels a massive upgrade even to the bike rider who isn’t trying to race or win Strava segments.
You can see that carbon wheels have multiple benefits over aluminum rims. The biggest drawback for most bike riders is the price tag. Yes, carbon wheels are not cheap. There are budget carbon rim options, but typically you get what you pay for.
Many riders are also concerned about the longevity of carbon rims and the replacement cost if they should break a rim. This concern is primarily abated by lifetime warranties offered by many carbon wheel manufacturers. Crash replacement policies have also gotten very affordable, reducing the sting should you ever crash your beautiful bike.
Considering speed, stiffness, and ride quality, it is easy to see why carbon wheels are the number one upgrade by any bike rider looking to get the most bang for their buck. Wouldn’t you want to use the latest cutting-edge technology to help you go faster and farther? They say that your wheelset is the heartbeat of your bike. We think so too.