Best Road Bike Wheels for Heavy Riders

What is Important When Seeking the Best Road Bike Wheelsets for Heavy Riders

Wheelsets for Heavy Riders
Heavy road bike riders shouldn’t be so hard on themselves. At ROL Wheels, we think more in terms of “big and powerful,” or “clydesdale riders.” We understand choosing a wheel is a long process, and along the way there are reams of opinions in forum posts about the best road bike wheelsets for heavy riders.

We recognize there is much to be debated such as spoke count, rim width, how the wheel is laced, and carbon vs. alloy. Among the opinions, a few things stand out to us and maybe have to you as well.

Most important is that build quality is paramount above all else. A poorly built 36-spoke wheel isn’t going to hold up versus a quality hand built 24-spoke wheel. How the wheel is manufactured is highly regarded as a significant contributor in enduring potholes and contributing to wheel longevity. At ROL we hand build all our wheels here is the U.S. Our wheels aren’t pulled off a factory line and shipped from overseas. They are built and shipped to you.

The second most important factor is piece of mind. We recognize big and powerful riders have greater skepticism about their wheels and likely have had a bad past experience. We expect Clydesdale riders to be tough on wheels and if something does go wrong, Sean Lambert, the founder and CEO of ROL, has an unprecedented record of customer service. Nothing is more frustrating than waiting long periods of time for repair and Sean understands this. If you read over hundreds of our reviews on RoadBikeReview.com you’ll see that Sean puts people first and stands by his customers.

Finally, we understand it means the most to purchase a wheel with a proven track record of performance. ROL’s SLR, Volant R/T and D’Huez 24/28 are the top rated wheelsets on RoadBikeReview.com. Our wheels accommodate riders up to about 250lbs. Here is what someone folks are saying about out heavy rider wheelsets.

What Our Heavy Riders Say About ROL
I'm a large cyclist 6' 2" and 220 to 235 in weight. I originally ordered the Volants and at first was very pleased with them. They were stiffer and lighter and seemed to get up to speed faster than the stock Open Pro Sports.

I am a heavy rider at 200 lbs. and like to put the power down. I have had them (Race SLR) 11 months and put 2271 miles on them with absolutely NO PROBLEMS.

I am a big guy at 220 lbs. and I crank out some serious wattage. I am one of those guys who ride on "normal gear" and will strip several spokes on a really hard sprint and/or snap top quality chains like there's no tomorrow. These wheels are just as light as the competition but they kick their butts on quality and strength.

Volant R/T

$525 - Weight: 1,715g

Taking our award winning Volant and adding four spokes to the front and rear wheels, the R/T wheelset provides the added strength and durability for the larger, more aggressive rider to tackle any terrain.

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The Volant's big brother, the R/T is for aggressive riders and those who prefer a stiff yet compliant ride from their wheels. The Volant R/T is a performance wheel for pounding out training miles, slamming industrial park criterium corners or finessing bumpy cyclocross courses. This is also an idea wheel for heavier road bike riders.

Compared to the Volant, we bumped up the spoke count by four on each wheel — a small price to pay for increased stiffness and durability, and the set still comes in just a hair over 1,700 grams.

The Volant R/T wheelset shares its sibling's wide rim, improving tire performance for secure handling and all-day comfort. We hand-build the R/T in the U.S. with our own hubs and double-butted stainless steel DT Competition spokes, an industry standard for lightweight spokes for decades.

Recommended rider weight limit is 109kg/240lbs.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 30mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish, Welded Seam
//  23mm External Rim Width, 18mm Internal Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  DT Swiss Competition Spokes - Black
//  24 Spoke Front - Radial
//  28 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

I am a big guy at 220 lbs and I crank out some serious wattage, I am one of those guys who rides on "normal gear" and will strip several spokes on a really hard sprint and/or snap top quality chains like there's no tomorrow, These things are just as light as the competition but they kick their butts on quality and strength. Not to mention service is out of the roof good.     - Ross

This wheelset makes my brakes better. I'm a fast clydesdale (220 pounds) who likes to sprint. I can run my brake pads very close to the rims, closer than I ever have, and they don't rub. Even in a sprint. Oh, yeah, the wheels are light, accelerate fast, and have stayed true here in bumpy New England. I'm glad I took a chance on the ROL brand. For me, these are great everyday wheels.     - Cyclsport45

After a frustrating experiences with multiple broken spokes on a "hi-tech" wheelset from a big name manufacturer, I just wanted a bombproof set of value wheels that would last. ROL and the Volant R/T were exactly what I was looking for. These wheels don't weigh much more than my well used Mavic Ksyrium SL which have held up for over 40K miles, and I'm confident these wheels will last at least that long. I'm a 150 lb rider, and I've found these wheels to be sturdy, reasonably light, good looking, and well made. Even more importantly, Sean and folks at ROL Wheels are wonderful to deal with… All in all, this is a solid wheel, good performing, well designed, and supported by a wonderful group of folks. - Courtnk

Race SLR

$700 - Weight: 1,595g

With the world-class ride and build spec of the Race SL wheelset which includes wide, aero rim and SAPIM CX-Ray spokes, the added spokes laced to the SLR make it a road bike wheel very much up to the challenges of abusive terrain as well as gravel roads.

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The Race SLR wheelset is the big brother to the Race SL alloy clincher wheelset, with the same proprietary hub and wide, aero rim design but with four more Sapim CX Ray spokes per wheel for more aggressive or larger riders or more abusive terrain.

The Race SLR wheelset features the same rim as the Race SL, with its tire-boosting 23mm width and 30mm height, these road bike wheels provide great aerodynamics and stiffness. 

Recommended rider weight limit is 109kg/240lbs.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 30mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish, Welded Seam
//  23mm External Rim Width, 18mm Internal Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  SAPIM CX-Ray Spokes - Black
//  DT Swiss Alloy ProLock Nipples - Black
//  24 Spoke Front - Radial
//  28 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

“Quite light for a stiff, tough wheelset. I like the wide rim. The Sapim CX-ray spokes are awesome, particularly at this price range. Great customer service from Sean and his team.”     - Paul

“Rode these road bike wheels across the country this summer, still perfect (and I was riding down stairs on occasion). Got back and my 170lb brother fell off his bike and into my rear wheel, only a slight knock in the true that was easy to fix. And, no joke, was faster right out of the gate as soon as I put these on my bike, so cool.  Bottom Line: Buy them.  You won’t regret it.”     - Sean

“I bought these wheels to replace the Roval Fusee EL28s that came with my 2010 Specialized Roubaix Expert. I'm 6'6 and range between 210-230 lbs. depending on the time of year. This is the first high performance bike that I have owned, and after around 5,000 miles on it I got tired of replacing popped spokes and decided to get some new wheels. A friend of mine recommended the ROL Race SLR wheelset as a replacement. The transformation was incredible. The first thing I noticed is absolutely NO wheel flex. I never realized that the old wheels were so flexible. My climbing performance increased by almost 10%, and the cornering is super crisp and confidence-inspiring. The crosswinds here in Colorado were also un-nerving, especially during high-speed descents, but now the bike tracks straight ahead and my high center of gravity doesn't seem to be much of an issue anymore. These wheels are super light and smooth, and the construction is perfect for us Clydesdales. I have almost 500 miles on them and they are still surprising me. I'm sold.”     - Scott

D’Huez 24/28

$800 - Weight: 1,475g

The added strength and durability of the new 24/28H D’Huez wheelset make it a natural choice for those who demand the lightweight and wide footprint created by the D’Huez’s wider, race proven rim.

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The big brother to the D'Huez 20/24H, we added four more spokes, front and rear, for increased durability and stiffness.

For more aggressive or heavier bike riders and unforgiving roads, the D'Huez 24/28H is a lightweight wheel with all the advantages of our groundbreaking D'Huez rim: wider for improved tire performance and aerodynamics and tubeless-tire compatibility.

Like its sibling, the D'Huez 24/28H features industry standard SAPIM CX-RAY spokes and our own spoke-coddling hubs for thousands of trouble-free miles.

Recommended rider weight limit is 110kg/242lbs.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 24mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish
//  22.5mm External Rim Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  DT Swiss Aerolite Spokes
//  DT Swiss Alloy ProLock Nipples
//  24 Spoke Front - Radial
//  28 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

“Incredible value for the price. I put in quite a few miles of climbing on rough roads including the California death ride and they remained true.  Great wheels and incredible customer service. I had a pair of Easton EA90 SLX's before and these are noticeably faster climbing. Also, when I had a few questions about the wheelset, Sean (the CEO) contacted me personally unlike the lack of response I get from Easton. A fan for life.”     - Charlie