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10 Best Affordable Mountain Bike Wheels (Review Sep, 2020)

Wheels are the most important bike component for any type of bicycle riding activity. However, for mountain bike riding your wheels play a crucial role in making you stand out from everyone else. The wheels determine everything from your mountain climbing ability to your speed and downhill riding control. So if you are a mountain bike rider a new set of wheels may be what you need to stay ahead of the competition or just to enhance your mountain biking experience. With all that being said, buying a random wheelset will not help you at all. You need to get the wheels that will match your riding style and your mountain bike to get the best performance.

However, this is where the problem is. Finding the right wheels while taking all of the factors into account can get quite tricky. There are so many things to consider such as wheel size, axle standards, hub engagement and there are so many brands out there to choose from as well. It all can all get very overwhelming and confusing. Well, that is why we are here to help. We have spent hours researching and testing to present you with some of the best mountain bike (MTB) wheels that are affordable. Not just that we also collected reviews and feedback from customers who have already purchased and used these wheels to create a more trustworthy and reliable review of these products.

Among all the products we tested, we found that HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset is the best option for its superior performance and budget-friendly price. Also, it is a wheel that will suit most riders and their preferences in mountain biking styles. That is why we have chosen this wheelset as our “Overall Best Choice”!

HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset

Unique rim design built with high-end carbon that is ideal for mountain biking, cross country, and XC | Overall Best Choice

The Hulksports 29er carbon wheelset is made with high-quality Toray T700 carbon fiber, these wheels were built to be strong and durable. These wheels look as good as new even if you take them out for a ride on rocky and heavy terrain. The UD Matte finish on top of these carbon wheels makes them look gorgeous. These are highly durable wheels that will last you longer than expected. These are tubeless-ready wheels that also feature a hookless rim profile which enhances the overall performance of the bike.

These wheels are equipped with the Powerway M81 hubs which are quite powerful and amplifies the speed as well as control. Perfect for cross country and XC this aluminum alloy hub is very light in weight and has two sealed bearings to keep it protected and help it run smoothly. 

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: Toray T700 Carbon Fiber with UD Matte rim finish
  • Rim Depth: 25 mm
  • Braking system: 6 Bolt Disc Brake
  • Hub: Powerway M81 hub with 15 x 100 mm front and 12 x 142 mm rear thru-axle
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 28/32 front and 28/32 rear
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1780 grams

 

A quick view of our selected mountain bike wheels that are very affordable:

WheelsNumber of SpokesOur Rating
Crank Brothers Cobalt 1 Mountain Bicycle Wheelset2496
Stan's NoTubes Major S1 Rear Wheel3296
Wheel Master Alloy 26" Double Disc Wheel3690
SHIMANO MT15 Rim 29er Mountain Bike Wheels2894
Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost Wheels2491
DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 Spline Wheels2896
WTB 29 inch ST i25 Disc Brake TCS Wheel Set3292
WTB 700c Disc Brake Speed DISC 29" All Mountain Wheels3288
HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset28/3295
Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset2891

10 best affordable MTB wheels that you can buy today

We have made a comparison table for you so that you can have a better understanding of the products included in this article and see which mountain bike wheels are right for you. The comparison table consists of all the specifications of our selected products:

HelmetsPreviewWheel SizeRim TypeRim MaterialRim DepthBraking SystemHub Axle TypeSpokesSpoke numberWeight
Crank Brothers Cobalt 1 MTB WheelsetCobalt 1 - 29in. Black / Black29"Clincher Tubeless readyAluminium rim with monotone finish21.1 mm6-bolt disc brakeThru Axle
Convertible to QR
Stainless Steel Bladed Spokes241975 gm
Stan's No Tubes S1 Major Boost Rear WheelStan's NoTubes S1 Wheel Major 38mm 27.5' Boost 148 x 12 Rear XD27.5"Clincher Tubeless readyAluminium18.4 mm6-bolt disc brakeThru AxleSapim Race Black321090 gm
Wheel Master Alloy 26" Double Disc WheelWheel Master 26' Alloy Mountain Disc Double Wall26"ClincherAluminium21 mm6-bolt disc brakeQuick ReleaseStainless Steel Bladed Spokes361134 gm
SHIMANO MT15 Rim 29er Mountain Bike WheelsShimano MT15 Rim 29er Mountain Bike Wheels 11 Speed Compatible with Disc Brake Shimano Hubs Plus Free Continental 29x2.2 Race King Tires and Tubes!29"Clincher6061 T6 Aluminum, Double Wall Clincher.21 mm6-bolt disc brake with Centerlock compatibilityQuick ReleaseBlack Stainless Steel Flat Blade Spokes282260 gm
Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 BoostMavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost29"UST TubelessCarbon Fiber26 mm6-bolt disc brakeThru Axle
Convertible to QR
Steel double butted, flat, straight pull Spokes241645 gm
DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 SplineDT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 Spline HR Balance Wheel – Black, 29 Inches29"Tubeless readyAluminium19.5 mmDisc Center Lock BrakeThru AxleDT competition straight pull spokes281037 gm
WTB 29 inch ST i25 Disc Brake TCS Wheel SetWTB 29 inch ST i25 Disc Brake TCS Wheel Set Tubeless Ready Maxxis High Roller 29 x 2.30 Tires Tubes!29"Clincher tyre and Tubeless readyAluminum29 mm6-bolt disc brakeQuick ReleaseStainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes321160 gm
WTB 700c Disc Brake Speed DISC 29" MTB WheelsWTB 700c Disc Brake Speed DISC 29' All Mountain Wheels for Multi Speed Bikes with Tires.29"Clincher Tubeless readyAluminum18.5 mm6-bolt disc brakeQuick ReleaseStainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes322200 gm
HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB WheelsetHulk-sports 29er Carbon Mountain Bike Wheelset Tubeless Disc Hub MTB Carbon Wheels UD Matte29"Clincher Tubeless readyAluminum25 mm6-bolt disc brakeThruAxleStainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes28/32 F,
28/32 R
1780 gm
Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost WheelsetReynolds 27.5 Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset27.5"Clincher Tubeless readyMR5 carbon fiber29 mmDisc Center Lock BrakeThru AxleStainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes281710 gm

1) Crank Brothers Cobalt 1: Well designed and technically advanced wheels perfect for XC and trail riding

Crank Brothers Cobalt 1 Mountain Bicycle Wheelset

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: Aluminium rim with a monotone finish
  • Rim Depth: 21.1 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 21 mm
  • Braking system: 6-bolt disc brake
  • Front Hub: Cobalt hub with 15 x 100 mm thru-axle (convertible into 9 x 100 mm)
  • Rear Hub:  Cobalt hub with 12 x 142 mm thru-axle (convertible into 10 x 135 mm)
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Bladed Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 24
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1975 grams (wheelset)
  • Maximum rider weight: 81 kilograms

Features & Considerations
  • Elegant Design: Unique wheel design by a very well known bicycle brand that gives it a simple yet elegant look.
  • Single spoke length: With a spoke length of 298 mm, these wheels are very convenient to true and can be replaced without removing them.
  • Low rotational inertia: The design of the wheel allows the spread of all the weight much closer to the hub which provides quicker acceleration and deceleration.
  • Twin pair spoke technology: The paired spoke technology offered by the Crank Brothers ensures stiffness and aerodynamics.
  • Lightweight: These wheels are quite light and won’t add any extra weight to your mountain bike. This allows a more smooth and fast ride.
  • Convertibility: Both the front and rear hubs are convertible from thru-axle to quick release axle method, allowing you to choose what you are comfortable with.
  • Color: This wheelset is only available in black.
  • Accessories: This package also includes quick-release skewers for easy conversion.

Some Weaknesses
  • The light alloy rim can get dented easily and so it requires special attention from the rider.
  • The hubs might require repair after a lot of heavy use.

Crank Brothers really showed their expertise with the Cobalt 1 mountain bike wheels. It is not easy to make mountain bike wheels that are stiff, light, and inexpensive, yet Crank Brothers showed everyone what they can do with their technology. The Cobalt 1 is made of aluminum with a monotone finish. The clincher tubeless-ready tire is an entry-level wheelset and is perfect for XC and trail riding. It is lightweight due to the aluminum and the single spoke length which also makes it easy to true and maintains. The twin pair spoke technology allows the use of fewer spokes on the rim which makes the wheel more aerodynamic and also increases stiffness. On top of all that the unique design wheel not only makes it the best looking set out there but also makes it faster to accelerate and decelerate. Although the hub requires frequent repairing, the rear hub consists of a 3 pawl freehub which provides very smooth engagement. If you are new to the mountain biking world and want to give it a shot, get these wheels for the best experience.

Crank Brothers Cobalt 1 Mountain Bicycle Wheelset

Crank Brothers Cobalt 1 Mountain Bicycle Wheelset

2) Stan’s NoTubes Major S1: Highly durable wheel built with advanced engineering and patented technology

Stan's NoTubes Major S1 Rear Wheel

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: Aluminium
  • Rim Depth: 18.4 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 38 mm
  • Braking system: 6-bolt disc brake
  • Hub: Stan’s Neo hub with 12 x 142 mm thru-axle and chrome sealed cartridge bearing
  • Spoke: Sapim Race Black (2.0/1.8/2.0 mm)
  • Spoke Count: 32
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Weight: 2062 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: 104 kilograms

Features & Considerations
  • Patented Bead Socket Technology: Stan’s patented technology allows the tire to increase to its highest volume and therefore allows more traction and less rolling resistance.
  • Optimum freehub: Stan’s Neo hub has a Durasync freehub which consists of 10-degree engagement through 6 pawls which allows for very fast engagement and optimum riding experience.
  • Durability: Built with strength and reliability in mind, this rear wheel is highly durable with chrome sealed cartridges to keep the bearing clean from contaminants
  • Rim construction: The rim construction with aluminum and stainless steel eyelets not only ensures durability but also makes the wheel very light.
  • Lower pressure: The Bead Socket Technology also allows low pressure on the wheel which offers more control to the rider.
  • Color: This rear wheel is only available in black.
  • Accessories: The Major S1 rear wheel also comes with a 39 mm rim tape.

Some Weaknesses
  • Some customers have found the hub of the wheel to be a bit too loud.

Major S1 is one of the most affordable wheels manufactured by Stan’s Notubes. And yet it is a strong contender with the already established high-end mountain bike wheels. This rear wheel is equipped with Stan’s patented bead socket technology which will take your mountain bike rides to a whole new level with its high traction and low rolling resistance. Also, Stan’s Neo hub that has the Durasync freehub provides enhanced engagements with its 6 pawled 10-degree engagement mechanism. 

Stan’s Notubes is known for manufacturing easy to configure and best performing tubeless systems. The Major S1 rear wheel absolutely delivers to that. The only downside we found when we tested this wheel was that the hub was a bit loud when riding. If a bit of sound is not an issue for you, this rear wheel will be the perfect addition to your mountain bike.

Stan's NoTubes Major S1 Rear Wheel

Stan’s NoTubes Major S1 Rear Wheel

3) Wheel Master Alloy 26″ Double Disc Wheel: Lightweight, strong and affordable mountain bike wheel that delivers safety and performance

Wheel Master Alloy 26

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire
  • Rim material: Aluminium
  • Rim Depth: 21 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 21 mm
  • Braking system: 6-bolt disc brake
  • Hub: W/M MT-2000 with 135 mm quick release and sealed cartridge bearing
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Bladed Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 36
  • Wheel Size: 26″
  • Weight: 1134 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: N/A

Features & Considerations
  • Lightweight: This rear wheel is very light and so it reduces the inertia and is not very hard on the suspension, thus allowing for a much more comfortable ride.
  • Strength and Durability: This Wheel Master rear wheel is very sturdy and holds true for a long time. It is a very reliable wheel and delivers top-notch safety and performance.
  • Quality hub: The wheel has a W/M MT-2000 hub with sealed cartridge bearing that does a fantastic job at keeping the hub clean from dirt, dust, or water and the freehub on this rear wheel can run 8 to 10-speed cassette. It delivers exceptional performance when taken out in the mountains.
  • Affordability: This rear wheel is one of the most affordable options out there and is also one of the most reasonable wheels mentioned in this article. It is the perfect replacement wheel if you are not willing to spend too much and will serve you well for a long time.
  • Color: This rear wheel is available only in black.

Some Weaknesses
  • The clutch derailleurs make a horrible noise when riding.
  • The torque applied to the hub when riding is too high.

Wheel Master’s alloy mountain disc double wall is definitely worth the money. It is one of the most affordable options in the market, however, it might be cheap in price but it is not cheap in quality. This machine built aluminum rear wheel comes with a great quality hub with sealed cartridge bearings and performs really well on the trail. You can be as hard on it as you want and it will still deliver a consistently good performance. It is very light in weight which allows the wheel to reduce the inertia and at the same time does not put too much pressure on the suspension. This makes the rider ride his or her bike very comfortably without any trouble. Finally, most important of all, this wheel is known for being long-lasting. So for the very small price, you are getting a light, strong, and very reliable wheel that will last you longer than you expect. What more can one ask for?

Wheel Master Alloy 26

Wheel Master Alloy 26″ Double Disc Wheel

4) SHIMANO MT15: Strong and endurable wheels built for all types of mountain biking activities

SHIMANO MT15 Mountain Bike (MTB) Wheels 29er

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire
  • Rim material: 6061 T6 Aluminum, Double Wall Clincher.
  • Rim Depth: 21 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 24.6 mm
  • Braking system: 6-bolt disc brake with Centerlock compatibility
  • Hub: Aluminum Alloy hubs with smooth ball bearings and 100 mm Front and 135 mm Rear Quick Release
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Flat Bladed Spokes (Black Color)
  • Spoke Count: 28
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 2,260 grams (Wheelset)
  • Maximum rider weight: N/A

Features & Considerations
  • Versatile: This Shimano wheelset performs exceptionally well in any type of riding and weather conditions. Whether its very rocky terrain or heavy rain, the Shimano MT15 will definitely come out on top. 
  • Brake system Compatibility: The wheels come with 6-bolt disc brakes however it can be easily converted to a center lock disc brake system, allowing you to choose your favorite brakes.
  • Angular contact bearing: The hub has angular contact bearing which reduces friction in the wheel and decreases the chance of getting damaged. It basically helps the smooth ball bearings to provide radial and lateral support which ensures the safety and durability of the wheels.
  • Easy maintenance: This wheelset is very easy to take care of due to the excellent build quality and quick release axle method. This also makes the wheels very long-lasting.
  • Spokes: The bladed spokes give the bike a very stylish and bold look. It also helps improve the performance of the wheels.
  • Color: This wheelset is only available in black.
  • Accessories: You will get these accessories free with this wheelset: 1) Continental Race King Performance Tires, size: 29 inches, TPI (threads per inch): 180, Folding Bead: 29×2.2 inches, compound: Pure Grip compound. 2) Presta type valve tubes: already installed & compatible with 29 inches tire 3) Shimano’s alloy made Quick release (QR) skewers: For both front and rear wheels.

Some Weaknesses
  • This Shimano wheelset is quite heavy compared to the other wheels on this list.
  • Some customers have said that they needed to true the wheels before use.
  • May require a disc rotor adapter to suit brakes.

How can we make a list of mountain bike wheels without mentioning Shimano? The Shimano brand has been serving bicycle riders around the globe for years while delivering the best quality. The Shimano MT15 is one of the best affordable wheels out there in the market. It is very well built with aluminum rims and alloy hubs with smooth ball bearings. To ensure their top quality, Shimano has equipped the hub with angular contact bearing which reduces friction in the wheels and also protects it from getting damaged. Every component of the wheels has been built with good materials. Even the spokes on the wheels are very good looking and provide great performance.

This is an all-round wheelset capable of tackling any type of mountain biking as well as weather conditions. So if you are looking for a new set of wheels that can withstand your hardcore mountain biking adventures, the Shimano M15 will be your best bet.

SHIMANO MT15 Mountain Bike (MTB) Wheels 29er

SHIMANO MT15 Mountain Bike (MTB) Wheels 29er

5) Mavic XA Pro Carbon Boost: Lightweight wheels with an exclusive rim design and climbing ability

Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost Wheels

  • Rim Type: UST Tubeless and tube type
  • Rim material: Carbon fiber
  • Rim Depth: 26 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 26 mm
  • Braking system: 6-bolt disc brake
  • Hub: Aluminum hubs with adjustable sealed cartridge bearings and 15 x 110 mm front and 12×142 mm rear thru-axle compatible with quick release
  • Spoke: Steel double-butted, flat, straight-pull Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 24
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1645 grams (wheelset without tire)
  • Maximum rider weight: 120 kilograms

Features & Considerations
  • Carbon rims: The rims made with hundred percent carbon fiber offers a sleek look, great lateral stiffness, and responsiveness.
  • Two-cross spoke pattern: The spoke pattern on the front and rear helps reduce the weight of the wheels and also provides great comfort and control to the rider.
  • Hookless rim profile: This rim profile helps the wheels to be sturdy and lightweight enough so that the rider can climb easily and have great agility on the trail.
  • UST Tubeless: The tubeless setup allows the rider to go as fast as possible while protecting the wheels from flats and other types of damages.
  • Hub engagement: The Mavic XA Pro Boost comes with the Instant Transfer System 4 that uses a 4 pawl engagement system which provides very fast engagement and offers a very smooth ride.
  • Rim Design: The rim is equipped with ISM 4D technology to get rid of any type of unnecessary material and components in order to shed rotational weight.
  • Compatibility: The aluminum hubs have a thru-axle fixing method that is also compatible with a quick-release method.
  • Color: This wheelset is available only in black.

Some Weaknesses
  • The tires are a bit heavy and might slow you down when climbing.
  • It is not ideal for very aggressive riders.

Yes, I know what you are thinking, what is such an expensive wheelset doing in an affordable wheels list? Allow me to ease your mind. This is the most affordable carbon wheelset you can find in the stores today. Carbon is a high-end material so most wheels that use carbon are way more expensive. Mavic is a very renowned brand and a pioneer in mountain biking wheels. They are also very well known for being the first manufacturer for putting tubeless rims on their mountain bike wheels. 

The Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost is a very well designed wheelset. Both the front and rear wheels are made of 100% carbon fiber which makes them very stiff and responsive, ideal features you want in any mountain bike wheel. The wheels have a two-cross spoke pattern which just takes the performance on a higher standard. The hub engagement, Instant Transfer System 4 with a 4 pawl engagement, is one of the best in the industry as it offers very rapid engagement points and overall effortless riding experience. If you are looking for strong, fast and carbon rim wheels on a budget then Mavic’s XA Pro Boost is the best offer that you will get.

Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost Wheels

Mavic XA Pro Carbon 29 Boost Wheels

6) DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700: Built with world-class quality and proprietary technology

DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 Spline Wheels

  • Rim Type: Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: Aluminium
  • Rim Depth: 19.5 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 30 mm
  • Braking system: Disc Center Lock
  • Hub: DT 350 with 12 x 142 mm thru-axle
  • Spoke: DT competition straight pull spokes
  • Spoke Count: 28
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1037 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: 120 kilograms

Features & Considerations
  • Ratchet System Technology: DT Swiss’s proprietary freewheel system that provides highly accurate star ratchets, that ensures superior performance and reliability. It also allows ease of repair and maintenance.
  • Hub engagement: The M1700 Spline offers 36 points of engagement which means it has an engagement angle of 10 degrees which shows great performance in real-world conditions.
  • DT Swiss Pro lock nipples: This is also a patented technology owned by DT Swiss. The pro lock nipples ensure superior durability of the wheels by the use of a proprietary dual compound adhesive liquid on the spoke nipples.
  • Tubeless: The tubeless tires allow the rider to go very fast while preventing the wheels from flats and other types of accidents. The lower pressure on tubeless wheels also makes the ride more comfortable and smooth.
  • DT Competition Spokes: These straight pull spokes are made DT Swiss and they are of the best quality. These spokes are very light and are made by cold forging which makes them highly durable.
  • Wide rim: The wide rim of the wheel makes it perfect for mountain biking and also ensures superb traction even in bad weather conditions.
  • Color: This wheel is only available in black.

Some Weaknesses
  • The DT Competition straight pulls spokes are difficult to replace.
  • The rims are too soft for very heavy riders.

DT Swiss has a track record of building products that exhibit world-class quality. Their M1700 Spline rear wheel is the best example of that track record. The tubeless-ready aluminum rear wheel is equipped with the best technology in the industry. Starting with the ratchet system technology which is patented by DT Swiss does a stellar job at freewheeling the bicycle and the star ratchets make a very nice distinctive sound. The Hub engagement has many points and offers rapid engagement. The Pro lock nipples are also patented and consist of an adhesive liquid that hardens and attaches the nipple to the spoke very precisely. This makes the wheel very durable. 

DT Swiss always offers the very best. Even the spokes on this wheel are very well built and long-lasting. This product is of solid quality from top to bottom and all that at such a good price. If you are new to the sporty mountain biking world and want to start it off with a wheel that will give you a good learning experience and provide you with superior performance for years, get this now!

DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 Spline Wheels

DT Swiss Unisex – Adult M 1700 Spline Wheels

7) WTB 29 inch ST i25: Great quality wheels that ensure reliability and compatibility to suit your riding style

WTB 29 inches ST i25 TCS Wheel (Disc Brake)

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
  • Rim Depth: 29 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 25 mm
  • Braking system: 6 Bolt Disc Brake
  • Hub: Aluminium hub with 100 mm front and 135 mm rear for a standard quick-release axle.
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 32
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1160 g
  • Maximum rider weight: N/A

Features & Considerations
  • UST Tubeless: The wheels have a  strong, simply installed, and reliable tubeless system. The tubeless tires allow the rider to go very fast while preventing the wheels from flats and other types of incidents. The lower pressure on tubeless wheels also makes the rider feel more comfortable and smooth.
  • Hub quality: The Shimano Deore XT FH-M8000 hub comes with a 6 bolt disc mount and a standard quick-release axle for better stiffness. The bearing has quality seals which makes it suitable for any kind of condition.
  • Cassette Compatibility: This wheelset is compatible with Shimano or SRAM 9,10 and 11 speed, therefore you can choose your own cassette and suit it to your mountain biking style and terrain.
  • Affordability: These high-quality mountain bike wheels are priced really reasonably, allowing you to experience the best at a low cost.
  • Color: This wheelset is available only in matte black.
  • Accessories: This package includes 1) standard quick-release skewers, 2) Maxxis Tires: High Roller 29 by 2.30, 3C Maxx Terra Tires (tubeless compatible), Presta valve stems (tubeless), and rim strips (tubeless).

Some Weaknesses
  • These wheels are only for disc brakes. If you have rim brakes, it will not work for you.
  • Some customers have claimed that the wheels are not as strong as advised.

With the ST i25, WTB showed the entire bicycle industry how to make wheelset which is both affordable and is able to perform really well on mountain biking activities. The wheels have a very good and reliable tubeless system which does a great job at protecting it and also gives the rider a great biking experience. The hub is also of amazing quality. It is very stiff and it has a very good quality sealing on its bearings and so it is able to perform well in any type of riding and weather conditions. You can take out these wheels on rocky terrains and technical trails and they will still come out looking in good shape. These wheels run very true even after hard use. The price is also very incredible for the wheels and also all the other accessories that are included in the package.

With this amazing wheelset, WTB tried to provide a more affordable alternative to the super expensive tubeless mountain bike wheels out there and they have absolutely excelled at that. So if you think this product is right for you and your mountain bicycle, don’t hesitate to get it.

WTB 29 inches ST i25 TCS Wheel (Disc Brake)

WTB 29 inches ST i25 TCS Wheel (Disc Brake)

8) WTB 700c All Mountain Wheelset: Affordable wheels that offer great build quality and optimum performance in any kind of riding condition

WTB 700c All Mountain Wheelset

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: 6061 T6 Aluminum
  • Rim Depth: 18.5 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 23 mm
  • Braking system: 6 Bolt Disc Brake
  • Hub: Alloy made Shimano M475 hub. Precisely secured ball bearings inside the hub. 100 mm front and 135 mm rear quick-release axles.
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 32
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 2200 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: N/A

Features & Considerations
  • UST Tubeless: The wheels have a  strong, simply installed, and reliable tubeless system. The tubeless tires allow the rider to go very fast while preventing the wheels from flats and other types of incidents. The lower pressure on tubeless wheels also makes the rider feel more comfortable and smooth.
  • Compatibility: This wheelset is compatible with Shimano’s cassettes (7, 8, 9, and 10 speeds), therefore you can choose your cassette and suit it to your mountain biking style and terrain.
  • Quality Material: The 6000 series Aluminum alloy is strong and it can be extruded into lighter rims that are tougher and stiffer than their heavier competition.
  • Bearing performance: This wheelset comes with an alloy made Shimano M475 hub. Precisely secured ball bearings on the hub have great quality sealing that prevents the entry of foreign matter and grease scattering and ensures high reliability and extended grease life.
  • Color: This wheelset is only available in matte black.
  • Accessories: This package also includes quick-release skewers and WTB’s Nano Comp wire bead and Kenda Happy Medium 700 c x 40 mm Tires.

Some Weaknesses
  • These wheels are only for disc brakes and if you have rim brakes, it will not work for you.

We have another affordable WTB mountain bike wheel for you that will definitely be worth your money. The WTB STP i23 has exhibited great performance out there in the real world conditions. It is great for all-mountain biking activities and performs exceptionally well in cross country, trail, and downhill biking. Made with aluminum of the best quality it has a clincher rim which is tubeless-ready out of the box. The tubeless system is very good at protecting the bike and provides easy maintenance for the rider. Also, it is worth noting that the lower pressure on tubeless wheels also makes the rider feel more comfortable and smooth on his or her mountain biking explorations. 

These wheels are sturdy enough for climbing and will also give you great control when going downhill or trailing. So if you are looking to upgrade your mountain bike wheels or setting up a whole new bike, we recommend you get these wheels to get a good value for your money.

WTB 700c All Mountain Wheelset 29er

WTB 700c All Mountain Wheelset 29er

9) HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset: Unique rim design built with high-end carbon that is ideal for mountain biking, cross country, and XC | Overall Best Choice

HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: Toray T700 Carbon Fiber with UD Matte rim finish
  • Rim Depth: 25 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 35 mm
  • Braking system: 6 Bolt Disc Brake
  • Hub: Powerway M81 hub with 15 x 100 mm front and 12 x 142 mm rear thru-axle
  • Spoke: Stainless Steel Straight Pull Spokes
  • Spoke Count: 28/32 front and 28/32 rear
  • Wheel Size: 29″
  • Weight: 1780 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: 200 kilograms

Features & Considerations
  • Build quality: This Hulksports wheelset is made with Toray T700 Carbon Fiber to make it strong and durable and to ensure top quality. The wheelset has UD matte rim finish in order to give it a sleek and glossy look.
  • Hub performance: These wheels come with the Powerway M81 hubs which were built for mountain biking, cross country and XC. The aluminum alloy hub is very light, features two sealed bearings, and is compatible with Shimano 11S and SRAM XD cassettes.
  • Maximum weight: The wheels are able to support a maximum weight of 200 kilograms. Therefore, if you are a heavy rider you don’t need to worry about your weight. These wheels can handle even the heaviest riders.
  • Tubeless & Hookless rim: The rim is tubeless-ready out of the box which is a huge bonus and also tubeless rims help protect the wheels from flat protection and enhances the overall quality of the ride. Also, the hookless profile of the rim allows easier climbing and riding ability for mountain riders.
  • Color: This wheelset model is available only in black.
  • Warranty: This package has a one year warranty offered by Hulksports.

Some Weaknesses
  • The Hulksports wheelset is quite heavy compared to the other wheels in this article.

Bringing you another set of fantastic carbon wheels in this article is the Hulksports 29er. Made with high-quality Toray T700 carbon fiber, these wheels were built to be strong and durable. Riders who used this product claimed that these wheels look as good as new even after they put them through all kinds of rough and tough terrain. The UD Matte wheels make them look gorgeous. These are highly durable wheels that you can ride on for years to come. These hoops come tubeless-ready and also feature a hookless rim profile which is quite popular with all-mountain riders for its performance-enhancing abilities.

These wheels are equipped with the Powerway M81 hubs which are quite powerful and enhance the performance of the wheels in terms of speed as well as control. Perfect for cross country and XC this aluminum alloy hub is very light in weight and has two sealed bearings to keep it protected and help it run smoothly. The one year warranty available with the mountain bike wheels is also quite convenient and so you don’t have to worry if you run into issues. 

HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset

HULKSPORTS Carbon MTB Wheelset

10) Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost: Well-built and highly endurable wheels that offer a flawless and comfortable riding experience

Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset

  • Rim Type: Clincher tire and Tubeless ready
  • Rim material: MR5 carbon fiber
  • Rim Depth: 29 mm
  • Rim Inner Width: 28 mm
  • Braking system: Disc Center Lock Brake
  • Hub: Industry Nine Torch with 15 x 110 mm boost front and 12 x 148 mm boost Rear (Thru-Axle)
  • Spoke: Sapim CX-Ray spokes
  • Spoke Count: 28 front and rear
  • Wheel Size: 27.5″
  • Weight: 1710 grams
  • Maximum rider weight: N/A

Features & Considerations
  • Endurance: An enduro wheelset built for rugged trails and aggressive mountain biking. You can take these wheels for the most challenging and heavy racecourses and it will still come out unimpaired.
  • Tubeless Ready: The clincher rims are tubeless-ready out of the box and so provide an easy fit for your mountain bike. It is also good for your bike’s overall protection and performance.
  • Hub performance: This wheelset is equipped with Industry Nine Torch mountain hubs which offer very rapid, 3 degrees of engagement and impeccable durability. The axle fixing method is thru, therefore it is easy to use and replace.
  • Well built: These wheels are made with top of the line MR5 carbon fiber to ensure the best build quality, stiffness, and improved riding ability.
  • Rim profile: It has a hookless asymmetric rim profile that is the perfect combination of width and depth. It also has just the perfect amount of spoke tension. All this allows the wheels to offer optimum riding comfort and traction.
  • Color: This model is available only in black.

Some Weaknesses
  • The wheelset offers the best quality and features at a very expensive price.
  • The hub of the rear wheel makes a very loud and distracting noise when riding.

A wheelset built for enduro racing, Reynold’s Enduro Blacklabel boost is one of the toughest wheels out there. It is capable of enduring the most difficult riding conditions. Built with high-grade MR5 carbon fiber, the wheels provide great stiffness and traction for climbing and also going downhill. The rim profile was also done very efficiently to provide the perfect balance between rim width and depth. Reynold’s also did a great job at setting an even spoke tension in the wheels. All these specifications allow the wheels to provide optimum performance while also offering comfort and control to the rider. They also picked the best hubs for these hoops. The Industry Nine Torch is one of the top choices for hubs in the industry. It has very fast engagement and this particular one offers 3 degrees of engagement which improves your pedaling, especially when riding through chunky terrain, or accelerating after freewheeling. 

These wheels are an example of how much a set of great hoops can impact your riding performance. Reynold’s achieved a great combination of performance, dimension, and quality with this wheelset. Yes, the price is quite expensive however they are still comparable with other carbon wheelsets in the industry. With the strength and durability to take on the most demanding enduro racecourses, this wheelset will massively impact your chances of winning your next mountain bike race!

Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset

Reynolds Enduro Blacklabel Boost Wheelset


Buyer’s Guide for Mountain Bike Wheels

Wheels are the most essential component for your mountain bike and yet they are the most difficult ones to choose when you want to buy a new set. This is because there are so many options to choose from, each with their own claimed perks and attributes. Upgrading your wheels can have a huge impact on the speed, weight, handling, and overall performance of your mountain bicycle. So we decided to write this buying guide for you to get a better understanding of this important bike component and figure out what will make the most sense for you, your bike, and your budget.

Wheel Size:

The first question you need to ask yourself when you are looking at a new set of wheels is, will this fit your bike? You don’t want wheels that won’t fit your bike or wheel feel uncomfortable when you ride. The most common or popular sizes for wheels are 26”, 27.5”, and 29”.

Bicycle_Tires

26” wheels were the original mountain bike wheel size and are still seen on mountain bikes today due to their lightweight. They offered all the characteristics needed for an optimum mountain bike, however with time the industry slowly moved towards larger wheels because they feature more traction, greater climbing ability, and overall better ride quality. That is when the 27.5” wheels came in and quickly started getting popular with the riders. The 27.5” wheels were lightweight too and much stronger than the 26” wheels. They offered all the attributes we mentioned about larger wheels. Better traction, climbing ability, superior ride quality and they also have more air volume compared to the 26” wheels. 

Then like all other industries, the biking industry strived to improve itself even more and thus began the era of 29” also referred to as “29er” wheels. These are even stronger than the 27.5” wheels and also offer much better traction in technical trail courses and very smooth riding experience. The 29” wheels are also much more stable and are the most popular choice in the mountain biking arena. These are great for cross country and trail rides. The 29” wheels are also getting more attention in the enduro racing community now. So as you can see wheel size plays a key role in riding performance and so you should carefully match the wheel size with your bike and riding style.

Rim Width:

While the wheel size or diameter is of utmost importance, you must pay attention to the rim width as well. Narrow or thin rims are often used for XC, marathon, and general off-road riding while sturdy, wider rims are used for more gravity and downhill related mountain biking activities.

Rim width can be measured both internally and externally. You can easily get confused trying to consider so many measurements and so it is better to just consider the internal width as that plays a more important role in bike performance. 17mm rim width was quite popular back in the day for mountain bike wheels, however, in these modern times, riders prefer much wider rims due to the increased comfort in riding. Also, a larger rim width offers more stability and control as it has a larger air volume. In the biking industry today, a narrow rim is somewhere around 19mm, the standard rim width is between 21-25mm and wider rims are considered to be 28mm or above. If you would like to know more about mountain bike rim width, you can check out this very informative video:

Rim Depth:

Rim depth for mountain bike wheels is not as crucial as it is for road bike wheels as the aerodynamics of the wheel is not that important. However, with that being said the rim depth of the mountain bike wheels does affect how the bike handles in the terrain and the lateral stiffness of the wheels. Standard rim depths for mountain bike wheels is between 30 to 35 mm.

Spokes and spoke patterns:

The quality, pattern, and number of spokes of the wheels determine many attributes of the bike. A high number of spokes means that the weight is distributed much better and the wheels are much stronger. A lower number of spokes allows the wheels to be lighter. Typically a lightweight front wheel will have between 24-28 spokes, while the rear wheel will have between 28-32 spokes.

Spokes are of two shapes, they are either ‘straight pull’ or ‘J-bend’. There are no bends at the tip of ‘Straight pull’ spokes and they require specific hubs to fit them. On the other hand, ‘J-bend’ spokes are the more traditional shape and consist of a 90-degree bend at the end of the hub that is shaped like a ‘J’. Both spoke shapes are almost equal in strength and performance. Straight pull spokes are more durable than J-bend spokes, however, they are hard to replace as they are difficult to source and expensive. J-bend is much easier to fix and replace.

Spoke patterns are of quite a few types. Most wheels are laced with a three-across (3x) spoke pattern where each spoke passes either under or over three other spokes between the hub and the rim. This spoke pattern improves pedaling and provides efficient power transfer from the hub to the wheel. The other common lacing pattern which is more popular on-road bike wheels are radial or zero-cross (0x), where the spoke goes straight from hub to rim without crossing any other spokes. Another spoke pattern which is found mostly on high-end wheels is the two cross pattern where the spokes are laced like the three cross pattern but with a lower number of spokes. The lower number of spokes means there are fewer spokes to cross over and so it decreases the weight and increases the aerodynamics of the wheel. If you want to learn more about spoke patterns and how they are laced, check out this article to all about them.

Wheel hubs:

The hub is the powerhouse of the wheel and so you should check out the hubs before purchasing your new wheels. The hub is located at the center of the wheel and it is attached to the rim with the spokes. This allows the wheel to spin easily on two sets of bearings. Front hubs are quite simple while the rear hubs are more complex and are equipped with a freehub. The freehub mechanism drives the rear wheel and also allows the bike to freewheel.

You need good quality bearings on your hubs. The hub’s bearing should be sealed and secured from mud and water and should be resistant to damage. Cup and cone bearings are solid bearings that offer great performance and they are easy to use and repair. On the other hand, cartridge bearings offer better quality however they are difficult to repair on your own and quite expensive to replace. Also, the building material for bearings can play a key role in its quality as well. Ceramic bearings are smoother and more resistant to wear and tear than steel bearings, however steel bearings are the standard and are widely used in the industry.

Axle standards are also very important however this is where it can get a bit confusing as there are no industry standards. The axles are fitted according to the frame and so you have to choose your new wheels according to your frame and fork’s compatibility. But you don’t need to worry. We have got you covered. Check out our axle standard chart below to get a better idea.

Front Wheel:

Hub WidthAxle Diameter
100mm9mm
100mm15mm
110mm15mm
110mm20mm

Rear Wheel:

Hub WidthAxle Diameter
135mm10mm
135mm10mm
142mm12mm
148mm12mm
150/157mm12mm

One more thing to check on the wheels before you buy them is the hub engagement system. A high number of teeth on the engagement system means that your bike will have a greater engagement rate and power will be transferred to the wheel more efficiently. On the other hand, fewer teeth mean that you will have more torque. This is referred to as points of engagement. The greater the number of pawls and teeth, the more points of engagement you will get and vice versa. Having more or fewer points of engagement both has its advantages. Now it is up to you to decide which one will suit your mountain biking style more.

mountain biking

Conclusion

The mountain bike wheels we reviewed in this article are the best affordable ones we have found available in the market through our research. We hope that this comprehensive list of wheels and our detailed buying guide will help you choose the wheels you are searching for. One last suggestion that we would like to make is that you should take some time to look at as many options as possible and make an informed decision as you might regret buying a set of wheels that is not suitable to you or your riding style. We know just how special your mountain bicycle is for you and so you should spend your hard-earned money on a pair of wheels that you will enjoy riding on!

We can guarantee that the wheels on our list are worth every penny. However, we are not compelling you to buy one from our article. Our only goal is to make sure that you are happy with your purchase. Therefore, with all that being said, we wish you all the best to find the perfect set of mountain bike wheels that you desire! Thank you for taking the time to read this article!


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Last update on 2020-09-27 at 23:01 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Dion Lewis
My name is Dion Lewis.

I’ve been cycling from my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.

At my college life, I took a part time job in a bicycle shop and I learned how to repair and maintain bicycles professionally.

Though I love racing, mountain biking is another thing I do frequently. My friends, neighbors, and colleagues treat me as an avid rider and take my suggestions while they plan for a new bike or a bike gear.

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