Finding the Best Road Bike Clincher Wheelset

What Is Important When Looking for the Best Road Bike Clincher Wheels

Road Bike Clincher Wheels
It’s been said that wheels are the soul of a bike and the frame is the heart. Whether you’re trying to complete a century, increase speed, improve climbing, or build a pothole proof commuter wheels are the best place to start upgrading your bike. Finding the best clincher road bike wheels can be overwhelming. We know there is no shortage of opinions and half-baked scientific research on forums and blogs about clincher wheelsets. Not to mention the sea of technical speak around rim width, depth, spoke count, spoke type, areo profile, alloy vs. carbon, and of course weight.

Often what goes overlooked when choosing the best 700c road bike clincher wheels are two things. That is how the wheel is built and the manufacturer reputation. All the best components in the world won’t over compensate a poor wheel build. Additionally, a new set of wheels is an investment and like any investment piece of mind after purchase is paramount. Finding a manufacturer that has a proven track record of standing behind their product for emergency repairs provides the peace of mind and confidence you need to made the right decision.

A quality wheel build and an unmatched customer satisfaction is what differentiates us at ROL Wheels. Not only do our wheels use proprietary cutting edge components, they are hand built in Denver Colorado. Our alloy clincher wheelsets series the Volant, Race SL, Race SLR and D’Huez are the top rated wheels on RoadBikeReview.com.

Read through our customer comments at RoadBikeReview.com and you’ll find it’s not uncommon to discover our wheels have held up over thousands of miles, performed better than more expensive wheelsets, and our CEO and founder Sean Lambert has talked to our customers first hand to help them find the right clincher wheels for their riding style. It’s also not uncommon to find that our clincher wheels have been praised by local bike shop mechanics for their build quality out of the box.

What Riders Say About ROL Clinchers
I have about 10K miles so far. About 20 crits, 10 road races, 4 circuit races and about 10 hill climbs among those miles. I have crashed on them in a crit and slammed numerous potholes and have yet to true them.

They made my bike look and feel like a completely different bike. Also, I have the opportunity to buy other wheels for a substantial team discount and still stick with the Rol's. I took my bike to my bike shop for a new chain and left it over night. When I came in the next day, the shop owner was asking me all kinds of questions about my wheels. He was shocked at how well they rolled and praised them for living up to their name.

Since my local bicycle shop suggested Zipp 202 as a replacement wheelset at a price tag of about $2,700 and the Rol D-Huez wheelset goes for $725 now, my on-line research has really paid off. In fact, when my bicycle shop mechanic put the new wheels on, he was very impressed with their quality and amazed by their lightness.

I bought my wheelset in late January, after reading all the positive reviews on this site. Like most reviewers, I spoke with Sean directly. He was very friendly, very informative, and helped me dial in the specs exactly for my 160 lbs. Since then I've put about 2000 miles on them. They are noticeably faster than my 2004 Mavic Ksyrium SSLs.

Race SL

$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.

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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.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 30mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish, Welded Seam
//  23mm External Rim Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  SAPIM CX-Ray Spokes - Black
//  DT Swiss Alloy ProLock Nipples - Black
//  20 Spoke Front - Radial
//  24 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

“Sean, I just wanted to let you know that the wheels are outstanding!  It feels like peddling on air...man these things are FAST, FAST, FAST.  Any opportunity I get to let others know about the wheels, I'll do it.  It was a pleasure meeting you and making the purchase.”     - Rick

“I am so pleased with this wheelset! I finally got to ride on them this weekend. So much faster than the OEM wheels. These babies climb. I could not believe the pick up in speed from past rides on the route I ran today. Super happy customer here! Smooth, fast, and stiff.”     - Royce

“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.”     - Nick

Volant

$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.

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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.

Build Summary

//  Proprietary 30mm Alloy Aero Rim
//  Matte Finish, Welded Seam
//  23mm External Rim Width, 18mm Internal Rim Width
//  Tubeless Compatible
//  3D Forged Alloy ROL Hubset - 9, 10, and 11spd
//  DT Swiss Competition Spokes - Black
//  20 Spoke Front - Radial
//  24 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

Fast, true, bullet-proof. Over 5 years, over 10,000 miles. They've never needed to be trued. I've used my Rol Volants since 2006 for centuries and weekly "social" group rides. These bike wheels are fast and fearless. Uphill, they're stiff and light and climb, climb, climb. Downhill, they run straight as an arrow; no wobble, no wiggle. Just true, straight and fast. They corner like they are on rails. 50+ mph in recent Stonewall Century, without any problem. Rol Volants give me the confidence to let go of the brakes and let the bike fly downhill. - 60isthenew40
I have about 13,500 miles on these wheels. I'm 6-3 & 200 lbs. Never needed truing. Quiet, especially if you regrease with Phil Woods grease. Only problem was 1 of the pawls in rear hub got sideways once, which could have been self-inflicted since I disassembled to regrease in a rush. They simply roll better. Down hills I often pass others or have to sit up & brake. - Dwajam

D’Huez 20/24

$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.

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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.

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 - Black
//  DT Swiss Alloy ProLock Nipples - Black
//  20 Spoke Front - Radial
//  24 Spoke Rear - 2X2X
//  ABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge Bearings
//  ROL Skewers and Rim Tape Included

“When I took these wheels out of the box, the first think I noticed was how smooth and easily they rolled. I now have almost 2000 miles on this wheelset, and they roll just as smoothly as they did that day. I live in the mountains where the plows and old man winter beat up the roads. Despite countless potholes at speed, the rims are still true. If you are on the fence about buying these wheels online, jump off it. This is an excellent build.”     - Anon

“I've had this wheelset for nearly 2 years. Several thousand miles. Texas hill country rider. A few weeks ago I hit the lip at a low water crossing, 40 mph coming down a hill. The back tire blew off the rim and I was left to ride on the back rim and the front wheel intact. The road pitched up and left after the LWC with a rock wall in front of me. Decision time. Feathering back and front brakes, I was able to stop before the wall without biting it. Though the back rim was shredded, the wheel was still true. I was able to remount the GP4000 and ride 45 mi home. THESE ROAD BIKE WHEELS ARE STRONG. Sean and his team did an expert job of rebuilding the wheel to like new. ROL stands behind their wheels!”     - Jim

“I bought these 3 years ago and have battered them on our horrible Michigan roads. These bike wheels are light weight, have low rolling resistance, and have stayed true. I consider them to be, perhaps, the best cycling bargain I've ever run across.”     - Mark

“Stiffness, weight, climbs like a mountain goat and durable!!! After one year and 4000 miles of riding, still true as the day I pulled them out of the box. Fast spin-up and rolls forever...absolutely love how they climb! I ride around the San Antonio hill country on all types of road conditions and 100% satisfied. I just bought my second wheelset!!!”     - jnstexas