The choice of wheels to kit your frame with is quickly expanding so we thought it was high time to produce a guide to the best wheelsets you can buy in 2021. It can be easy to get overwhelmed before dropping the cash so here's a collection of our top scorers to point you in the right direction.
The best gravel wheelsets
Need to know: Gravel wheelsets
While not quite as important as with mountain bikes but it's worth double checking what wheel size you're going for and with what tyre combination you'd like to run. Many gravel frames can fit either 700c or 650b wheels with fatter tyres which both offer different performance advantages and disadvantages. Check what rim size/width is recommended by the manufacture as well as what diameter tyre will fit.
If you're making the upgrade, or already have your brake rotors on hand you'll definitely want to be checking which rotor mounting hardware your new wheels come with. Wheelsets either come with the traditional six-bolt or Shimano's Centrelock system. A bonus to Centrelock hubs is that it's really easy to pick up a pair of adaptors that allows you to mount your six-bolt rotors onto Centrelock hubs, so all is not lost if you've spent a fortune on new wheels without having the correct rotors. Things aren't so easy the other way around though, Centrelock rotors can not be adapted to fit six-bolt configurations.
The internal rim width of your potential new wheels is something that also needs some attention. It's basically what dictates the overall profile of your tyre with wider rims straightening the sidewalls and offering more support in the corners but at the expense of marginally increased drag.
Of course, there's then the case of which axle your frame runs, that'll need to match your wheels, so we're talking 12mm thru-axles, quick release skewers and so on. You'll also want to make sure that your new wheels come with a freehub that's compatible with your cassette to save any potential heart or wallet ache. On the subject of hubs, their width also need to match what your frame can accommodate.
As for our collection of the best gravel wheels you can buy, each in this list has been tested rigorously and have scored 4 stars or higher in our tests.
The DT Swiss G 1800 Spline 25 is a bargain gravel wheelset with decent performance and premium looks. The hub has a slow pick up and the set is not especially light, but £350 for a disc-compatible, aero-spoked, thru-axle set of wheels with rims good for 42mm tyres is pretty compelling.
Edco has veered off-road with its latest wheelset, the Gravel. It's an excellent choice if you want a lightweight wheelset that'll take a heap of abuse, and it achieves that while still coming in at a relatively budget price point.
Prime has created a tough yet lightweight package with its Kanza 650B Carbon Gravel wheels. The wide rims make fitting larger tyres a breeze and they stand up to a lot of abuse on the trails. At under 1,600g they are responsive too, and you certainly can't complain about the price.
Just Riding Along's (JRA) Gecko Carbon Wheelset is a very impressive set of hoops designed to take on the constant knocks and vibrations the roughest gravel tracks can throw at them, while still being so light that they won't hamper your performance on the road. With a claimed sub-1,400g weight and all the strength you could need, it's also pretty amazing that they come in at well under a grand.
The Gravel Wide++ is an alloy wheelset from Scribe with a generous 25mm internal rim well suited to wider gravel tyres. They're not the lightest out there, but they offer good all round performance, instant engagement and are cheaper than most comparable wheelsets.
The Drift gravel wheels from Dutch company FFWD combine lightweight carbon rims with excellent, well proven hubs to create a stiff, high performance wheelset – but this level of performance comes at a price.
Sector's GCi wheelset is its new gravel and adventure offering, with a rim that's been created using a recipe of various materials and fibres to produce the characteristics required for riding on rough surfaces. How much of a difference it makes is hard to define out on the tracks, but one thing's for sure: this wheelset performs very well, with a comfortable ride.
The new Fulcrum Rapid Red 5 DB gravel/adventure wheelset competes well against some of the best in the market in terms of price, stiffness and weight. The wheels are tough, too, taking plenty of abuse.
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