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9 gravel wheelsets on test – VeloNews.com

9 gravel wheelsets on check – VeloNews.com

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The Grind is a weekly column on all issues gravel.

Though most gravel races have been canceled this 12 months, gravel using definitely was not, and I’ve been testing a variety of totally different wheelsets. Right here is my comparative tackle 9 gravel wheels I’ve ridden, some commonalities, and a few standouts.

The perfect gravel tire width
Shimano GRX Di2: What I love; what bugs me
SRAM vs Shimano gearing for gravel

What makes an excellent gravel wheel?

So aren’t gravel wheels simply street wheels? Properly, not likely. Sure, you possibly can experience a traditional street wheel on gravel, however the primary distinction is within the inner rim width. Gravel wheels are wider than street wheels to higher help a wider tire.

Whereas most street wheels have inner rim widths within the 17-21mm vary, devoted gravel wheels are often about 20-25mm. ENVE has a useful tire strain chart that breaks down steered strain based mostly in your weight, your rim width, and your tire width, for gravel and for street. Check it out. It’s additionally a useful approach to orient your self on the connection between tire width and inner rim width.

Relatedly, the general rim form of a gravel wheel higher pairs with a gravel tire. Aerodynamics will not be a precedence for you, however it’s a factor, albeit much less necessary than on the street.

Sturdy building is a should for a gravel wheel. Whereas yow will discover an 18-spoke street construct, 24 spokes is just about customary for gravel.

Low weight at all times feels good. As elsewhere with bikes, you typically get what you pay for right here. Heavier alloy wheels are in a single worth vary; lighter carbon wheels are a step above that.

And lastly, in distinction to street wheels, some gravel wheels are decidedly not tremendous stiff. The concept is that constructing a bit of give right into a wheel designed for a non-suspended bike on tough surfaces is an efficient factor.

Listed below are a couple of wheels I’ve been testing.

DT Swiss GRC 1400 Spline

$2,479 — 1,620g

Picture: Ben Delaney

These puppies feel and appear quick, and value a fairly penny.

Fats, 24mm inner widths make for a stable base for 40mm tires, which mix proper in to the large exterior rims, which stand 42mm tall. I loved using these on Canyon’s top-end Grail in California, and at residence I put Schwalbe G-One Speeds (learn: digital slicks) on a check pair, as a result of quick felt proper on them.

For such deep gravel wheels, the low rim weight means they spin proper up like like climbing wheels, and DT’s 240 Ratchet hub with 10-degree engagement helps that instant-on really feel.

Mechanics would possibly elevate an eyebrow on the inner nipples (learn: truing a wheel means eradicating the tire and tubeless tape), however I haven’t had any points regardless of a couple of months of using just like the bag of anvils that I’m, in order that doesn’t hassle me.

DT Swiss CR 1600 Spline

$700 — 1,709g

Picture: Ben Delaney

These alloy hoops got here on the Salsa Warbird I raced at The Mid South. The matching pink decals definitely counted for a couple of shaved watts, proper? Technically categorized as cyclocross wheels, these have a barely narrower 22mm inner rim width.

You get the marginally much less higher-end 350 hub right here, however with the identical Ratchet engagement as on the GRC. And the 2x spokes are certain into the wheel usually with exterior nipples, so that you mechanics can put your eyebrows again down.

DT Swiss G 1800 Spline

$492 — 1,741g

Picture: Ben Delaney 

I rode these on Canyon’s most reasonably priced Grail, the Grail 7, they usually’re okay. They’ve a three-pawl hub as an alternative of DT’s swanky Ratchet hub, however the aluminum rim has a contemporary, 24mm inner width so that you’re not giving up something when it comes to stance width. (Be aware that this wheel is labeled 1850 when it comes inventory on bikes.)

Should you’re searching for gravel wheels, you in all probability have already got a gravel bike that got here with wheels of this high quality. So if you happen to’re seeking to improve and never exchange, spend a bit of extra to get much more.

Roval Terra CL

Specialized Diverge
Roval Terra CLs come inventory; you should purchase the swankier Terra CLXs seperately. Picture: Ben Delaney

Okay, so a bit of caveat right here: These wheels are unique gear on the Specialized Diverge Pro Carbon, and should not obtainable as aftermarket. However, you will get the Terra CLX and Terra CLX EVO, which each have a lighter carbon rim and the brand new, streamlined DT Swiss Ratchet EXP hub. The Terra CLs felt 100% raceable to me with a DT Swiss 350 hub and fats, 25mm inner rim width. The common Terra CLX weigh a claimed 1,296g, and the CLX EVO wheels weigh a claimed 1,357g as a result of they’ve a super-fat 30mm inner rim width, which places them into XC territory.


$2,500 — 1,500g

Evil Bikes Chamois Hagar
Picture: Dan Cavallari

I admire when firms title issues merely. The G23 is a high-end gravel wheel with a 23mm inner rim width. I raced them on the occasion previously often called the Soiled Kanza 200, and extra not too long ago rode them fairly a bit on the Evil Chamois Hagar, with mainly XC-width tires on them.

The feathery 300g carbon rims really feel fantastic; they speed up seemingly effortlessly, and the 24-spoke building is decidedly comfortable. No, they’re not floppy or obscure; if you speed up out of the saddle they’re proper with you, they usually monitor true by means of corners. However they simply don’t appear to transmit as a lot tough stuff up into the bike and physique as different wheels. Perhaps I’m simply consuming the Kool-Help right here!

HiFi Remix Tape Disc

$600 — 1,660g

Picture: Ben Delaney

At 20mm inner, these HiFi alloy hoops are on the skinnier facet of gravel, however nonetheless loads as much as the duty. I rode them fairly a bit with 38mm Schwalbe G-One Allrounds, they usually acted the best way an excellent chamois does — I by no means thought of them as soon as outdoors of ‘hey, it’s evaluation time’. The made-in-Oregon construct is no-nonsense; 24 2x Sapim spokes up entrance and 28 3x within the again. Plus you get the candy reflective decals with HiFi’s old-fashioned speaker brand, which has to depend for one thing…

Zipp 303 Firecrest Carbon Tubeless

$1,900 — 1,352g

Picture: Ben Delaney

Zipp’s 303 is an efficient instance of the street/gravel crossover, as this wheel has lengthy been a stalwart of the street racing scene. It’s simply progressively wider internally (now 25mm), which works for 28mm and 30mm street tires in addition to 35-45mm gravel tires. The mannequin I rode (proven above) is the predecessor to the present super-Gucci version. A couple of winter months of abuse and energy washing didn’t appear to faze them.

Reynolds ATR

$1,299 – 1,620g

Picture: Ben Delaney

These are fairly related in measurements to DT’s high providing, with 23mm inner and 32mm exterior rim widths, and a 40mm (vs 42mm) rim top. Additionally, on paper, the Reynolds Allroad hub boasts a 10-degree engagement, the identical as on the DT 240. However word that whereas many firms use DT Swiss hubs, you’d be hard-pressed to discover a Reynolds hub on a non-Reynolds wheels. So how do they experience? Actually, fairly darn equally to the DTs, that are greater than $1,000 extra.

Shimano GRX RX570

$420 — 1,650g

Picture: Brad Kaminski

Shimano’s street wheels have been notoriously skinny for years, however these gravel wheels boast a wholesome 21.6mm inner width. As with the DT Swiss G 1800, this can be a wheel that you could be get inventory on a motorbike, so whereas it’s a wonderfully good and sturdy choice, it’s not a horny improve.

My favorites

The DT Swiss GRC 1400 and ENVE G23 wheels are distinctive, each from the fundamental hoist-the-bike gee-whiz weight verify to the emotions on the dust. I’d gladly experience both off into the sundown. However they ain’t low cost. The DT Swiss CR 1600 or its gravel sibling the GR 1600 might be the sleeper right here, with an honest weight, a best-in-class hub, fashionable dimensions, and a model you possibly can belief.

Keep tuned for full opinions on a few of these wheels.