Best mountain bike wheels
If you're looking for some wheels for your bike, we've put together a roundup of those we think are the best.
Things get off to a good start with valves already provided and monogrammed rim tape that makes tubeless tyre installation and inflation easy. They pop up against the ‘Zero Bead Hook’ rim walls easily for a reliable seal and the 30mm internal width (35mm external) fattens 2.3-2.4in tyres up nicely and supports 2.6 securely, too.
The offset rim design means the 28 DT Competition Race spokes in each wheel are all the same length so it’s easy to take spares if you’re going off-grid away from bike shops. They’re J bend rather than straight-pull too, so any shops you do find will likely have something you can fit in an emergency. The choice to use brass nipples - rather than alloy - removes corrosion and improves durability, and the hand-built tension is consistent and secure, even after extensive riding.
The DT Swiss 350 hubs are a totally proven choice, used extensively by other brands (including Santa Cruz on its Reserve wheels). However, 10-degree pick up lag is adequate rather than rapid, and Shimano users should note they come with SRAM XD drivers as standard. There are 27.5-inch versions though as well as a 25mm internal Roval Control 29.
We’ve been running the Roval Traverse wheels full time for almost a year now, and Specialized hopes of creating a durable wheel have certainly played out. Spoke tension is still good and the bearings have survived fine, even with Britain's very variable weather. The carbon rims have taken a thorough beating without any cracks or other visible damage despite regular rim-strikes, and the broadly rounded edges help preserve tyre sidewalls well.
At 1890g (890g front, 1000g rear) they’re relatively heavy even compared to much cheaper alloy wheels. The actual ride quality is numb rather than obviously damped or dynamic like the best carbon wheels. The clunky free hub pick up doesn’t flatter speed gain either and while the price is reasonable, Specialized’s warranty/replacement policy isn’t as generous as other brands.
- Specialized Stumpjumper ST Comp Carbon Review
- Specialized Epic Comp Evo Review
- Specialized Kenevo eMTB First Look
- Price: £1000
- Weight: 890g + 1000g = 1890g
- Freehub: 10
- Width: 30/35mm