Best All Around Road Bike Wheel Upgrade for the Money Under $500 or $1000
What Is Important When Looking for the Best Road Bike Wheelset Upgrade for the Money Under $500 or $1000
Best All Around Road Bike Wheels
It’s been said that the frame is the heart of your bike and the wheels are the soul. A wheelset upgrade is often regarded as the single most impactful change you can make to the performance of a bike. Finding the best road bike wheels for the money, or the best all-around road bike wheel is no easy task. Recreational riders often find themselves lost in a sea of technical specifications and opinions, making the job of finding the best road bike wheels under $500, or even $1000, a tough task.
Whether you want to achieve easier climbing, increase comfort, decrease weight, crack your first century, create a more reliable commuter, or move up on the podium, alloy wheels are the answer for anyone looking for the best all-around road bike wheelset upgrade. They are easier to service, more reliable long term, and don’t require new brake shoes.
After years of wheel building and reading the same forums and blogs that you probably are reading through right now, we understand that your head is spinning while you consider wheel weight, rim width, rim depth, spoke count, bearing quality, and comfort vs. stiffness. All these factors are important, but what is paramount is craftsmanship and peace of mind that the manufacturer backs up their product. How the wheel is built is as important as the components. Second knowing that your investment can be repaired is the peace of mind all riders want before pulling the trigger.
At ROL we are proud to sell the top rated wheels on RoadBikeReview.com. Our D’Huez, Race SL, and Volant series have achieved better customer ratings relative to any competing wheelsets. Our wheels are hand built in the U.S. at our Denver office. Our founder Sean Lambert has helped hundreds of cyclist identify the right wheelset for their needs. Sean can help you demystify the technical jargon and set up a wheel perfect for your riding conditions. Here is what some of our customers are saying.
What Riders Say About Our Wheel Value
After reading the reviews on these wheels, I decided to give the Race SL a try. At this price, it was worth a shot anyway. Well, I must say I was blown away by the difference that made [from my Mavic Ksyrium Elite] on the first ride. Really cool set of wheels, feels like riding an aero bike. I only wished I had switched sooner. I will not ride anything else from now on. The wider rim adds stability, feels like being on rail. Any casual rider thinking about upgrading their Ksyrium should ditch Mavic and try these. The durability test will come with time, but judging from other users, that won't be an issue.
I tend to do quite a bit of research before buying any product and these wheels were no different. I read all the reviews and looked far and wide over a couple months at many different wheelsets before I finally made the leap of faith and bought the Race SL's. After over 4,000 miles and riding in every condition and road surface I have no regrets and can find no weakness with the SL's. I recently took them off my road bike and put them on my cross bike for the upcoming season. The downside is that I had to put my original wheels back on my road bike for the winter and immediately lost 2 mph off my average. Instead of being up with the lead sprinters at the end of the A group club rides, I'm now struggling to not get dropped. Unacceptable. No need to waste time doing more research and test riding other wheelsets like I did last year, I went ahead and bought myself another pair so I can have them on both my bikes. Problem solved. If you care about handling, durability, and speed then this is the wheel for you. Certainly the best all-round aluminum clincher for racing and training I've ridden.
$500 - Weight: 1,660g
The VOLANT wheelset is regarded as one of the best wheels in its class. From its wide-stance 23mm rim to its 3-D forged ROL hubset and DT SWISS Competition spokes, there isn't a set of road bike wheelset packing this much technology and ride quality for $500.
The Volant is a modern classic: hardworking, lively and reliable. It's a wheelset perfect for putting in long training rides on questionable roads and still quick enough for a spirited group lunch ride or a weekend race. The Volant was our first wheel model and this year we upgraded it with a wider rim for better handling, DT's double-butted stainless steel Competition spokes and our own carefully designed hubs.
The Volant is a popular upgrade wheel — at well under 1,700 grams, it's likely significantly svelter than the wheelset that came on your bike, while offering reliable U.S. wheel building and a wide profile rim for better handling.
The Volant features our smart new hubs, designed in-house to minimize spoke tension differential on the rear wheel. That means you get a more evenly tensioned wheel for reliability. Combine that with the industry's most respected lightweight spokes and you'll be spinning trouble free for a long time.
Recommended rider weight limit is 95kg\210lbs.
$675 - Weight: 1,555g
The Race SL wheelset is a leader in wheel performance and value among today's road bike wheels. With its wide, aero rim and SAPIM CX-Ray spokes, the Race SL wheelset packs more performance and ride quality than many bike wheelsets twice its price.
Our best-selling alloy clincher wheelset is the Race SL and a favorite with racers and enthusiasts looking for a wheelset with precise handling, ride quality and speed. It's the perfect wheelset for road racing, criteriums and triathlon. It's already one of the best-reviewed bike wheels on the market and for 2014 we made it even better.
We've improved the Race SL wheelset with a new rim profile that is wider and stiffer. At 23mm wide, our new rim design improves tire performance by shortening the tire's sidewalls and producing a wider contact patch. The 30mm rim profile provides confidence-inspiring turning as well as the stiffness and aerodynamics that seasoned riders demand.
We lace our innovative rim to our own ROL hubs, designed with years of wheel building experience. The hubs minimize the spoke tension differential on the rear wheel, producing a more evenly tensioned wheel for maximum durability. To complete the package we spec'd the sought after Sapim CX-Ray spokes and lightweight alloy DT SWISS ProLock nipples.
At 1,555 grams, the Race SL wheelset provides a lively ride you'll appreciate when you accelerate out of crit corners, or head out for the county line sprint.
Recommend rider weight limit is 95kg/210lbs.
$775 - Weight: 1,430g
The D’Huez wheelset combines decades of wheelbuilding experience to bring you one of the lightest, stiffest and sure-footed low-profile alloy clincher wheelsets on the market.
The D'Huez is a result of our best thinking: at the wheel-building bench, the computer design screen and on long late winter rides. From the hubs' internal parts out to the rim's farthest point, we put everything we had into this wheel, among our most popular new designs.
The D'Huez is named for the legendary Alpine climb that's featured in so many Tour de France battles. Our lively 1,430 gram wheelset lives up to the history and will climb alongside wheels at twice the price.
The D'Huez feature our proprietary new rims and our new lightweight, spoke-friendly hubs. Our wheel builders connect these innovative parts with nothing less than DT Swiss Aerolite spokes, widely considered the lightest, most aerodynamic spokes in cycling.
The wider rim improves tire performance by reducing sidewall flex and widening the contact patch. On these road bike wheels, you'll be more secure in the turns, no matter the speed or the road surface. And if you opt for tubeless tires, with our recommended rim strip and valve, you'll enjoy even more comfort and traction with lower tire pressures, while virtually eliminating flats.
Recommended rider weight limit is 86kg/190lbs.