8 Best Bike Gravel Wheels (Top Rated Picks)

8 Best Bike Gravel Wheels (Top Rated Picks)

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The gravel bike industry is booming and has brought a new level of performance and quality to the category. New companies have entered the market and are flooding it with new and exciting products, so picking the right gravel bike is hard enough, what with the vast array of options to choose from. To help you make an informed choice, here is a list of the best gravel bike for sale, in my opinion, based on the varying riding styles and terrain that these bikes can tackle.

The gravel wheel is a bicycle wheel that is made to run on dirt roads and trails, so it is made to be lighter, less durable, and more flexible than a road wheel. It is also much less expensive and is easier to change than a road wheel, which makes it a great choice for riders who plan on riding off-road frequently. On this page, we’ll review the best gravel wheels from all the major brands, so you can find one that fits your budget and your needs.

Gravel wheels have become a growing segment within the gravel bike community, as riders favor the versatility of gravel wheels, over the versatility of a standard road setup. After all, you can ride gravel in nearly any type of weather, from wet, to dry, to snowy, to muddy, and whatever else! So what are some of the best gravel wheels available on the market? Let’s take a look!

Gravel and adventure bike wheels should be light, strong, and long-lasting. They’re intended to operate with gravel tires, which are broader than normal road tires but skinnier than popular mountain bike rubber, and they’re engineered to endure the rough and tumble of riding on varied terrain in all weathers.

What to Look for When Buying Gravel Wheels

We’ll be the first to acknowledge that a gravel wheelset in and of itself does not exist. Gravel may be ridden on road wheels or, if suitable components are available, mountain bike wheels. 

However, there are certain key characteristics and spec details to consider that make some wheels more suited to gravel than others, and many wheel manufacturers now offer gravel-specific models.

After our list of suggested goods (scroll down! ), there’s a comprehensive buyer’s guide, but here are some important things to consider:

  • What rim width and tyre size do you want to use?
  • Is it better to go with a 700c or a 650b?
  • Tubeless compatibility – all of the wheels we suggest are tubeless out of the box or can be converted to tubeless.
  • Alloy vs. carbon rims
  • Compatibility of components (axles, braking rotors, etc.)

Our team of professional testers ranked the finest dirt wheels.

  • £1,200 / $1,300 / AU$2,200 Aeolus Pro 3V TLR by Bontrager
  • £1,850 / $2,400 Roval CLX 32 Disc Roval CLX 32 Disc Roval CLX 32 Disc
  • £650 / $800 SLX 24 Disc Roval
  • £700 / $1,047 Dicut 25 DT Swiss CR1400
  • £495 / $707 Spline DT Swiss GR 1600
  • Chris King: £3,150 / $3,000 SES 4.5 AR Enve Disc
  • £1,800 / $2,100 / €2,000 Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon
  • £900 / $1,200 Mavic Allroad Pro UST Disc Mavic Allroad Pro UST Disc Mavic Allroad Pro UST

Bontrager Aeolus Pro 3V TLR

Best gravel bike wheels

The wheels are handcrafted and have 24 spokes that are properly tensioned. Immediate Media / David Caudery

  • £1,200 / $1,300 / $2,200 Australian dollars
  • 700c wheel size
  • Carbon rim material
  • 1,590g in weight (tested)
  • 25mm internal width
  • Highlights include super-wide rims, a competitive weight, and a competitive pricing when compared to direct competition.

Internally, Bontrager’s all-road bike is super-wide, making it ideal for really fat gravel tires.

Despite its modest weight, there is no rider weight restriction, and the own-brand hubs provide lightning-fast pickup.

Roval CLX 32 Disc

Best gravel bike wheels

The CLX 32 Disc wheels ride very smoothly on or off the road. Immediate Publication

  • £1,850 (about $2,400)
  • Sizes of wheels: 650b (tried), 700c
  • Carbon rim material
  • 1,333g in weight (tested)
  • 20.7mm internal width
  • Highlights include a class-leading low weight and DT Swiss hub internals.

The CLX 32 from Roval has a lot to offer, including a very low overall weight and some high-quality DT Swiss components.

The 650b option isn’t as wide as the competitors, thus it’s better suited to road and mid-sized gravel tires than than more extreme (47mm-plus) rubber.

Roval SLX 24 Disc

Best gravel bike wheels

The Roval SLX 24 Disc is an alloy wheel that is quite light. Immediate Publication

  • £650 (about $800)
  • 700c wheel size
  • alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy
  • 1,562g in weight (tested, including valves)
  • 20mm internal width
  • Low weight, DT Swiss hub internals are some of the highlights.

While the SLXs are a little narrower and more road-oriented than some of the alternatives, they’re excellent all-arounders at a price that’s not too outrageous considering their remarkably low weight.

The spokes and nipples are from the same stable as the rear hub, which has DT Swiss mid-range 350 internals. Obviously, this has little to do with gravel, but there is a rim brake variant as well.

DT Swiss CR1400 Dicut 25

Best gravel bike wheels

On the road, the CR1400s have the sensation of a high-end wheel. Immediate Media / Adam Gasson

  • £700 (about $1,047 USD)
  • 700c wheel size
  • alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy
  • The weight of this item is 1,746 grams (tested)
  • 22mm internal width
  • Highlights: High-quality hubs and an all-around specification

Although these are classified as “all-road” rather than “gravel,” their 22mm internal width and DT 240s hubs make them a very appealing option that works well with wider road tires or full-on gravel rubber.

They’re not super-light, and the provided tubeless tape is a bit flimsy, but there’s not much else to complain about.

DT Swiss GR 1600 Spline

Best gravel bike wheels

The GR1600s are built to an exceptionally high quality. Immediate Media / David Caudery

  • £495 (about $707)
  • Sizes of wheels: 650b (tried), 700c
  • alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy
  • Weight: 1,750g, up from 1,727g claimed (650b tested)
  • 24mm internal width
  • Features: Suitable for large rubber

DT’s full-on gravel alternative is amply broad and available in two flavors: 650b and 700c.

The 350 hubs are a good choice (albeit a little less spec’d than the 240s), and the overall wheelset weight is reasonable but unremarkable.

The thin DT tubeless tape didn’t appeal to our tester, but otherwise, you can’t go wrong with them.

Enve SES 4.5 AR Disc

Best gravel bike wheels

It’s exorbitantly priced, but it’s worth it. Immediate Publication

  • £3,150 (about $3,000) (Chris King version)
  • 700c wheel size
  • Carbon rim material
  • 1,600g weight (as tested, Chris King version)
  • 25mm internal width
  • Highlights: Ultra-smooth ride, beautiful hubs if you choose Chris King, and broad tyre compatibility

The SES 4.5 AR Disc is classified as ‘all-road’ rather than full-on gravel by Enve, but the wide rim width makes it suitable for gravel tires.

The price is exorbitant (although there are many builds available, some of which are somewhat less expensive), but the ride is exquisite due to those massive, featherweight rims.

It’s worth noting that they’re hookless, which may have an effect on the tires you choose.

Mavic Allroad Pro Carbon SL

Best gravel bike wheels

Carbon rims and a new pricing range are part of the Allroad’s latest evolutionary stride. Immediate Publication

  • The price includes 40mm tires and is $2,100
  • 700c (model tested), 650b (SL+ model)
  • Carbon rim material
  • 1,521g in weight (tested)
  • Internal dimensions: 23mm (700c), 26mm (650b)
  • Comfortable, extremely firm, and high-end build

Mavic’s carbon wheels are pricey, but they’re a high-end product that’s perfect for gravel.

Their low weight and strong rims make them feel quick and responsive, and their interior width is ideal for fat rubber.

Mavic Allroad Pro UST Disc

Best gravel bike wheels

The natural habitat of this wheelset is long, multi-terrain rides. Immediate Publication

  • $1,200 (includes Mavic tires)
  • 700c wheel size
  • alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy alloy
  • 1,671g (about) (tested, with valves)
  • 22mm internal width
  • Strong components, no tubeless tape needed, and tires are included in the price

Inter-spoke milling (‘ISM 4D’) by Mavic provides them an unique scalloped look and a weight that isn’t terrible for a pair of aluminum clinchers.

There’s no fooling about with tubeless tape since there’s no drilling in the rim bed, and the 22mm internal width is an excellent fit for gravel rubber.

They aren’t the cheapest, but keep in mind that they come with a pair of tires.

Choosing your new dirt wheelset: a buyer’s guide

Rim width

A gravel rim should be broader than a normal road rim. Internal width is the most important statistic to check for since it directly corresponds to the variety of tyre sizes you may use.

Gravel riding may mean various things to different people, but it usually entails using tires that are at least 28mm wide, and more frequently 35 to 50mm wide. 

Wider rims, unsurprisingly, perform best with wider tires, providing a better profile with more volume and less of the “lightbulb” shape that happens when the tyre is considerably wider than the rim. 

There’s no hard and fast rule, but if you’re searching for new gravel wheels, we recommend rims with an internal width of at least 20mm, ideally a little more. (Internally, road rims are usually 15 to 19mm thick, but this has been moving higher in recent years.)

What is the difference between 700c and 650b wheels?

The overwhelming majority of gravel bikes take either 700c or 650b wheels (normal road size, real rim diameter equivalent to 29in mountain bike rim) (actual rim diameter equal to 27.5in mountain bike rim). 

Many framesets are built to accommodate both sizes, with the 650b option allowing for larger tires. This works because the rolling diameter of a fat 650b tyre (e.g. 650b 47) is comparable to the rolling diameter of a 700c wheel with a considerably narrower tyre (about 700 28 to 30mm).

However, you cannot assume that both sizes will fit. A frameset built for 700c wheels may be able to handle the diameter of hefty 650bs, but it will lack space for the width of the tires at the stays and fork. 

To prevent expensive disappointment, it’s essential to stick to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Wheel size is mainly a matter of personal taste, but if you’re undecided, consider the size of tires you’re most likely to want on your bike.

If your gravel riding is more “road plus,” you may want to consider tires in the sub-40mm range that can be used on and off the road. 

If you go with 700c, you’ll have more tyre choices, and you’ll be able to go as tight as 28mm for pure road riding (typically – check manufacturer guidelines here), or as wide as your frame will allow on the opposite end of the spectrum. (Only a few gravel frames can accommodate a 700 x 45mm tyre.)

650b makes a lot of sense if you want as much tyre volume as possible and your gravel riding mimics mountain biking at times. 

The riding feel of a 650b 47mm tyre is balloon-like, and certain frames will let you go even bigger, creeping completely into mountain bike territory.

There are few 650b tires under 38mm wide, and rims aren’t usually intended for smaller tires either, so think about if you may want to go narrower for road riding in the future. 

A limited number of gravel/adventure/touring bikes, such as the Surly Long Haul Trucker Disc, are built to fit 26in tires, the former mountain bike standard. 

This makes sense from a spares standpoint if you’re traveling in areas of the globe where 26in is still the de facto norm for adult bikes. 

There’s no compelling reason to choose 26in over the more common sizes for gravel, and the most recent gravel tires are usually only available in 700c and/or 650b sizes.

Compatibility with tubeless tires

While tubeless tires for the road and dirt are still in their infancy, we’re huge supporters of the technology. 

If you’re looking for new gravel wheels, it’s a good idea to have the option of going tubeless, even if you don’t want to go tubeless right away. 

Tubeless tires increase complexity to the setup process but provide significant riding advantages. 

You may run lower pressures for grip and comfort without risking pinch flats (which is especially important if you’re riding on mixed terrain with small volume tires), and sealant will take care of minor punctures.

Tubeless valves and tape (if required) are standard on many wheels, but if they aren’t, you’ll have to spend for them separately. 

Durability and weight

Gravel-specific wheels, in addition to having wider rims, are likely to be burlier than road-specific wheels, but this is a generalization. 

They may have more spokes, and some manufacturers may use better sealed hubs and/or bigger bearings for increased longevity. If you intend to get your dirt bike muddy and wet, superlight road hubs are not the ideal option.

As a consequence, gravel-specific wheelsets are often heavier than road-specific wheelsets, but the difference may not be significant in the grand scheme of things. 

Materials used on the rims

Carbon is the money-no-object choice and the best option in terms of overall performance and weight, just as it is in other riding disciplines. 

The argument for carbon is stronger if you want gravel wheels with aero characteristics, but it comes at a significant price premium over aluminum (or “alloy”), which is arguably much better value for money, providing almost all of the performance for half the price, or less. 

Carbon is a good to have, but it isn’t required. 

Compatibility between the axle with the brake rotor

Although the gravel bike industry has mostly settled on 12mm thru-axles for the front and rear, there are plenty of existing bikes with various configurations, such as 15mm for the front or old-school quick-release skewers.

When buying a new gravel wheelset, make sure the hubs can be adjusted to suit your frame and fork, and see whether the necessary components are included or must be purchased separately. 

Disc hubs may be used with either six-bolt or centerlock rotors. If you’re upgrading your wheels and want to convert from one to the other, you can either purchase new rotors or use adaptors to fit six-bolt rotors on centerlock hubs and vice versa. 

We wouldn’t choose wheels based on the kind of rotor used, although centerlock rotors are significantly easier to install and remove. 

A lockring is required for centerlock rotors, which may or may not be supplied with the wheels (or with the rotors themselves).

Although lockring threads are standardized, we’ve seen lockrings that won’t work on particular hubs due to their unique design, so see if there’s one that’s suggested for your wheels. 

For installation, some people used an internal cassette stye tool, while others used an exterior bottom bracket (BB) type tool, similar to the one used for Shimano BB cups.

I’ve been riding gravel bikes for about a year and a half now, and so far they have given me a ton of fun on the road and in the trails. They’ve been a great way for me to get in some road time, while still having the comfort of a bike. But with a few years of drifting in and out of cycling, I know a lot more now.. Read more about gravel wheelset 700c disc and let us know what you think.

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This article broadly covered the following related topics:

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