9 Best Road Bike Wheels for Climbing (Updated 2023)

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When opting for the best set of road bike wheels for climbing, we often find ourselves disputing over the properties of such road bike wheels that would make them ideal for such a purpose.

However, we forget that “what goes up must also come down”. This urges us to consider attributes for road bike wheels ideal for both uphill and downhill travel.

While we can agree that weight should be the foremost determining factor, we have taken the liberty to research the different types of road bike wheels designed for climbing.

And after our hours of researching and testing, we have picked the top 9 wheelsets which are best for climbing and described details about them in this article for your better understanding. Just have a look at this article below. I hope, this article will help to guide you to find your preferred wheelset.

Table of Contents show

Buyer’s Guide for Road Wheels For Climbing

As you begin to look for the perfect wheelset or front or rear wheel for your road bike – you will surely come across a wide range of products with their numerous specifications and it would be very easy to get distracted. The type of riding you intend to do is a key factor here, and as we scrape for the best road wheels for climbing – we must ensure that they are also perfect for downhill travel as well. You can choose to build a customized pair or go for a set available at your local store or purchase online. However, you choose to proceed – we hope that a quick glance at a few buying factors that we have assembled for you below will help to decide better and faster.

Rim Type and Material:

Lightweight wheels are a priority when you are buying them specifically for uphill and downhill travel. Manufacturers these days are producing wheels using a combination of resins and advanced technology. This has allowed them to produce the latest generation of carbon clincher wheels that are on the lower side of the weight scale so that you can more efficiently transfer energy to power while pushing down on the pedals while exhibiting excellent braking performance in even the harshest of terrain. While your downward travel, you would want your bike wheels to allow you to brake as much as you want – whenever you want! Carbon clincher wheels will surely do for you even in wet conditions!

Rim Aerodynamics:

How aero your wheel will be is largely dependent on the rim of your wheelset or wheel. Rims with increased depth will mean that the whIle you are climbing, your wheels will undergo little side-to-side flex, illustrating stiffness when you are exerting your load on them. A triangular “aero” rim will allow you to accelerate with ease by reducing the effect of drag force on you. Since carbon fiber is a preferred material for rims these days – you can also take advantage of the reduced weight to get the optimized performance out of the “aero” wheels you pick!

Spokes pattern and type:

Minimized number of spokes on your wheels will mean that your wheels will be lighter, which is exactly what you are looking for in the best road bike wheels for climbing. In combination with the deep-section of the rims, manufacturers nowadays are more prone to design wheels that require fewer spokes by modifying the spoke design and patterns. You can be sure that they do not compromise on overall wheel strength and stiffness while bringing the weight down. Look for radial spoke patterns(hub and rim connected directly via the spoke) with low spoke counts. The spokes themselves should have a bladed profile to boost wheel aerodynamics.

Other Features:

When you have found a pair of wheels/wheel that can fulfill the above-mentioned criteria, look out for the brake tracks that are available for your bike wheels. Many products these days are modified/treated with technology that allows even carbon brakes to perform with maximum efficiency in all conditions – wet and dry! Additionally, look for any remaining components where you can bring down the weight – such as opting for aluminum hubs that come with steel bearing. These are durable and also weigh less!

Our Top Pick(s)

After much consideration, we have picked out “Zipp 202 NSW Carbon Wheel – Clincher” as “Our Overall Best Choice”.

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In the following table, we’ve listed the best road bike wheels in the market for climbing up and down:

Road BikeWhy we recommend thisWeight (grams)
Zipp 202 NSW Carbon WheelOur choice of best road bike wheels for climbing | Aero performance1375
Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc WheelsetAnother good choice for climbing up and down. Tubeless compatible.1450
Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSetAero-profile. Optimized braking.1370
Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Rear WheelDeep, wide rims. Faster acceleration.1295
Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSetWide rims. Reduced rolling friction1596
ROL Wheels D’Huez Road Bike WheelsetAero and wide rims. Lightweight.1430
Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher WheelsetLight, wide, and fast set of wheels.1342
Yuanan Aero Carbon Tubular Tubeless Road Bike WheelImproved braking power.1625
SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Clincher Road WheelsetBetter drive rigidity. Lightweight. Stiff.1485

9 best road bike wheels you can buy today for climbing up & down

Below, we have created a comparison table for 9 best road bike wheels for climbing, where they have been selected based on their specific features which make them ideal for such road bike riding discipline. It is advisable to take a quick glance at the table for a quick understanding of why and how a particular set of wheels will be best for you. Also, it will surely save you time if you do not want to go through the whole article. 

Wheel TypePreviewWeight (g)Hub TypeRim Material, TypeHub Bearing UsedBraking
Zipp 202 NSW Carbon WheelNo products found.1375Zipp Aluminum Cognition HubCarbon/ClincherSwiss stainless steelRim/silicon carbide Showstopper brake track
Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc WheelsetFulcrum Racing Zero Racing Wheels Unisex Adult, Dark, 281450Axial clutch, Carbon and aluminum with Oversized Fringes/Aluminum with Oversized FlangeCarbon/Clincher / TubelessUSB CERAMIC BEARING with adjustable cup and cone bearing systemDisc/AC3 treated twill carbon braking surface
Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSetCAMPAGNOLO Bora Ultra 35 Wheel Set 700 C 9-11 Dark Label Clincher Bike Cassette1370Carbon fibre hub eCarbon/ClincherCULT bearingsRim/textured AC3 treated special break track
Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Rear WheelNo products found.1295Aluminum with steel FTS-LMaxalt Aluminum
QRM SL Steel cartridge BearingRim/Carbon alloy coated with Exalith 2
Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSetCAMPAGNOLO Zonda C17 Wheel Set 700 C 9-11 Speed Cassette, Black1596HG Shimano/SRAM, ED CampagnoloMEGA-G3™ Oversize flange(Rear wheel)Optimised Aluminium/ClincherUSB ceramic ball bearingsRim
ROL Wheels D’Huez Road Bike WheelsetNo products found.14303D Forged Alloy ROLLow Profile alloy/Clincher, Tubeless ReadyABEC 5 TPI Steel Sealed Cartridge BearingsRim/Resin
Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher WheelsetToken Ventous 700c Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset 36mm - Shimano/Sram Cassette Body1342Z1ClincherTFTRim/Carbon Fibre(Conti-Fiber)
Yuanan Aero Carbon Tubular Tubeless Road Bike WheelNo products found.1625Novatec A72SB/Novatec F372SBHigh TG carbon fiber/carbon fibre/tubeless ready or non tubelessHybrid ceramic ball bearingRim/crystal polished braking surface
SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Clincher Road WheelsetSHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Wheelset1485Shimano Dura-aceAluminum with carbon laminate/ClincherDigital coneRim/Aluminum alloy

1. Zipp 202 NSW Carbon Wheel: Aero performance; better rigidity; lightweight for the steepest climbs; crosswinds balanced | Overall Best Choice

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The Nest is the leading manufacturers of the fastest wheels in the world. The Zipp 202 NSW Carbon wheelset easily makes its way to the top of the list for best road bike wheels for climbing. Called the ultimate climbing wheelset by the NSW advanced development team, carbon clinchers with this wheelset will allow the rider to go up easily on the most difficult uphills and allows greater descent speed while retaining good control on the brakes. The 33mm rims are lighter even with the carbon fiber layer and since the weight has been shed off at the wheel’s outer edge – they can serve raiders faithfully over a long period of time.  Since this wheelset is more focused on climbing where crosswinds are sure to affect the wheel  – these wheels flex very little sideways when a load is applied in that direction.

Aerodynamic drag is dealt with by ABLC Sawtooth™ technology and used ImPress™ graphics while Showstopper™ brake track will allow optimized braking performance in all conditions. Axial Clutch Technology in the cognition rear hub is used to bring down the rolling resistance which is a major advantage during descents which are long and helps to retain speed during biking up, traveling through, and coming down mountain tracks. By releasing the ratchet mechanism. NSW(Nest Speed Weaponry) seals on these wheels ensure that it is equipped with the latest technology offered by Zipp. 

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Zipp 202 NSW Carbon Wheel

2. Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc Wheelset: Tubeless compatible; smoother riding; boosted stiffness; better wheel balance

Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc, 700C Wheelset, Center Lock, 2-Way Fit, Shimano/SRAM 11-Speed
  • Type: Wheelset
  • Wheel diameter: 28”
  • Wheel Weight: 1450g
  • Rim Material, Type : Carbon/Clincher / Tubeless (2-Way FitTM)
  • Rim Depth/Internal Rim Width/External Rim Width: 30mm/19mm/26.5 mm
  • Spoke used: Aluminum Aero straight pull
  • Spoke Count & Pattern: spokes- 21 two-to-one(14 left, 7 right)/ 21, two-to-one(7 left, 14 right)
  • Hub used: Center Locking Disc
  • Bearings used: ceramic (USB™) sealed
  • Brake: Disc brake/AC3 treated twill carbon braking surface(AFS Disc Brake Option)
  • Compatible with: Shimano / SRAM 11-speed road, Shimano / SRAM 8, 9, 10-speed, SRAM XDR

Features & Considerations
  • 2-Way Fit Tube System: Fulcrum has innovated 2 –WAY FIT technology that would allow their tubeless rims to be compatible with normal clincher tires and tubes. A modification in the valve area allows tubes to fit accurately in the tires while maintaining their stability. Fulcrum 2-Way Fit would allow us to change to standard clincher tires in case of a puncture to a tubeless tire used here.
  • Braking Surface: An initiative of the Fulcrum R & D division. AC3 treatment on bike wheels reduces resins on the wheel surface while becoming rougher. The goal is to get the most out of the contact between the brake pad and the fiber. The result is better gripping capability while getting rid of water and moisture in wet conditions According to results from Fulcrum lab tests, braking power increased around 50 percent after AC3 treatment.
  • USB™ – CERAMIC ULTRA SMOOTH BEARINGS™:  Fulcrum® has developed the hub for this wheel in their R&D department. The hub is an Ultra Smooth bearing with USB™ – CERAMIC ULTRA SMOOTH BEARINGS™ technology. This provides 50 % more smooth riding while reducing weight and maintenance issues.
  • 2:1 Spoke Ratio and DRSC: The 2:1 spoke ratio on both the front and rear wheels makes it easier to balance the rotational force from pushing on the paddles reducing effective.power to energy transfer. Thanks to this technology patented by Fulcrum, two spokes are working together to distribute the tension instead of one increasing stiffness in the rear wheel spokes allowing the rider to transfer power from the paddles more efficiently. Tension on the drive and non-drive sides are more evenly balanced which means the durability of the rim, spokes, and hub is more. The disc brake being used here with the 2:1 ratio helps to maintain the direction of the front wheel during braking. In addition, the direction Rim-Spoke coupling system(DRSC™) here ensures even distribution in the rim, spokes, nipples, and the hub.
  • Disc Centre Lock(AFS Axle System): To attach the hub to the disc brake, Fulcrum has developed the AFS Axle System. The release mechanism of the butt area is more constraining allowing optimal braking performance and ensures more structural stiffness.
  • Anti-Rotation System: The spoke and the hub housings have been designed in such a way that the overall structure is more stiff making it easy to retain the tension, increasing responsiveness, and enhancing the aerodynamics of the wheel.
  • Guarantee of Quality: All Fulcrum wheels have a little label attached to their body so that in case of any defect or failure of the wheels, Fulcrum can trace the product
  • Carbon Hub with cup & cone bearing: The user is made from carbon fiber with a cup and cone-bearing. This allows the hub to provide better support for the frame and balance the rotational force from pushing down on the pedals. This type of rubber is inserted in the outsole that defines the combination of tread geometry, density, and proprietary rubber compound. This enhances better traction and durability. 
  • ARC TECHNOLOGY: Carbon sheets are layered in the mold so as to create different zones on the wheels on the basis of vibration in these zones during racing.T800 high modulus carbon is used to reinforce the spoke eyelets, while maintaining the rest of the wheel should be as light as possible. This makes the wheel more responsive to efforts to modify motion after it has been fully generated.
  • Plasma Electrolytic Oxidation: This is a process where surface aluminum alloy in the freewheel hub is oxidized through electrical discharges. This modifies the alloy to become more resistant to wear while strengthening it. 
  • MOMAG™ system: MoMag™ is the “Mounting Magnet” system where the valve hole is used to insert nipples into the rim and uses a magnet to guide the spoke to the connecting point. The absence of holes in the rim means that the rim is uniform in all points throughout its structure, with no weakness zones or stress points. The clincher profile also makes rim take unnecessary, allowing the wheel to maintain its lightweight property.

Some Weaknesses
  • These bike wheels are not aerodynamic, which is a major disadvantage when opting for the best product here. 
  • Only a few small size tires can be used on the 2-Way Fit™ technology.

Under the Italian component brand Campagnolo, Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc Wheelset comes with wheels that are compatible with Campagnolo’s products as well as Shimano/Sram systems. Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc Brake version has been components specially designed to be compatible with disc brakes. Rims used here have a 19 mm internal width and use USB ceramic bearings on this disc version. The spoke eyelet is reinforced with ARC technology covering that reinforces its elasticity allowing this wheel to prove the best of all worlds – technology, performance, and innovation. It can support tires between 23mm to 50 mm.

30 mm rim depth helps to maintain wheel lightness even when going uphill while the wider rim and aluminum spoke will allow you to come downhill with more confidence Oversized flanges distribute the load better in the spoke while the spokes have a 2:1 ratio on both the front and rear wheels for balancing rotational forces. The performance of the wheel is more consistent because of the spoke anti-rotation system. Wheel balance is improved by rim dynamic balance while the undrilled rim bed boosts stiffness.

Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc Wheelset

Fulcrum Racing Zero Carbon Disc Wheelset

3. Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSet: Aero-profile; optimized braking; comfortable riding; rigid, reactive and lightweight wheelset

Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSet 700 C 9-11 Dark Label Clincher Bike Cassette
  • Type: WheelSet
  • Wheel diameter: 28mm
  • Wheel Weight: 1370g
  • Rim Material, Type: Carbon/Clincher
  • Rim Depth/Internal Rim Width/External Rim Width: 35mm/17mm/24.2mm
  • Spoke used: Stainless Steel Aero, double-butted
  • Spoke Count & Pattern: 18, radial/21(G3) Rear
  • Hub used: Carbon fiber hub
  • Bearings used: CULT bearings
  • Brake: Rim/Textured/All Conditions Carbon Control pr AC3
  • Compatible with: Campagnolo 9-11 Speed Cassette

Features & Considerations
  • Exclusive G3 spoke pattern on rear wheel: Campagnolo has developed a spoke pattern that allows it to transfer power more efficiently while improving the axial stiffness. There is less stress transferred to the spokes to the right of the rear wheel hubs because the number of spokes on this side is twice the number on the left. The oversize flange present here improves the rigidity of the rim in relation to the hub and hub axle making the wheel more responsive..The added grip between the rim and the brake pad will allow the rider brake consistently and minimize braking distance even when in conditions are wet even when you are turning corners at high speeds.
  • CULT ball bearing in the HUB:  The ball bearings in the Hub are made of ceramic and stainless steel under a patent developed by Campagnolo called CULT(CERAMIC ULTIMATE LEVEL TECHNOLOGY). There is minimal contact between the wheel and the crankset due to the layer of oil. The ball bearings have a hard but smooth surface on which the ceramic balls rotate which also makes both the bearing and balls durable. 
  • Rim Dynamic Balance: Carbon fiber used on these wheels are structured in such a way in the wheels so that the rim formed always has excellent balance. This added feature means that the rim will be balanced even when the rider will be going fast.
  • All Conditions Carbon Control(AC3) Technology: the purpose of this texture of design on the wheel rim is to improve the braking performance of the rim in all conditions. There will be a 3% increase in braking performance which will give these wheels a significant advantage over its competitors. Braking performance is boosted by 43% in dry conditions and 55% in wet conditions.
  • Wider rims: The Bora Ultra 35 Overall great build quality as supple synthetic leather which is actually more rigid than genuine leather was used to make the upper part ensuring perforated ventilation. These tires increase wheel mobility and when the tire pressure is low, help to make the ride more comfortable by gripping more.
  • Red Compound brake pads: The Campagnolo Quick Release is a major upgrade from the simple lock/release system. The lever is at a central position with respect to the hub axle axis and has a light profile which reduces drag force on the wheel. The lever is symmetrical with a drill lightening shape with an aluminum die which is not easily damaged by rusting, more pressure.  The new blend is designed especially to optimize braking performance in every condition damaging the brake pad.
  • Quick Release axles: Campagnolo has redesigned its axles to allow them to have an aerodynamic profile wheel block which is extremely light. They have a steel spine with a drill lightening lever. The wheel block can be properly closed to adjust wheel pressure, increasing sensitivity in the wheels.
  • Less Maintenance: The nipples are made from aluminum and are self-locking so that just the perfect amount of tension is maintained in the spokes. 

Some Weaknesses
  • The wheel has a “Box V” rim profile with a nose that is flat on the spoke-side. The brake track is also not tapered or angles so this wheel will be more affected by crosswind and drag from the wind while riding, which is disadvantageous to the aerodynamics of the wheelset.
  • The installation of the additional spikes can be tricky because the rubber of the sole may interfere while tightening them.

The Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSet  has a rim depth of 35 mm making it an extremely versatile carbon wheel, which is very stiff and measures on the lower side of the weighing scale. The carbon hubs have a CULT ceramic cup and cone bearing made from Cronitect® steel, which makes the system 9 times smoother. The stiffness of both the hub and the rim makes this wheel extremely aerodynamic and is less affected by crosswinds. 

Oversized flanges on both the front and rear hubs account for increased rigidity of the wheels and making the wheels more reactive. The carbon fiber hub also means that it flexes very little sideways when putting under a lateral load while maintaining its lightweight. AC3™ (All Conditions Carbon Control) Technology makes the wheel extremely safe in all conditions so that you can confidently brake due to the shorter braking distance while having more control. G3 spokes allow for the smoothest ride even for heavier riders while maintaining balance the tension of the spokes on either side of the wheel and maximum power to energy transfer while maintaining that the spokes are not put under extensive stress. The stainless steel material of the spokes makes the wheels more reactive, lightweight, and improves wheel aerodynamics  All of these make the Bora Ultra 35 a good choice for climbing and flat heel riding.

Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSet

Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 WheelSet

4. Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Rear Wheel: Deep, wide rims; faster acceleration, better handling, and higher stability

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This design from Mavic is specially developed for climbing, making Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Rear Wheel the lightest clincher wheel produced by Mavic yet. The strength of the Maxtal alloy allows it to maintain low weight but improve the aerodynamics of the wheel. ISM 4D rims weigh only 370g, which allows the rider to efficiently transfer pedaling power and help deflect wind smoothly – saving watts. These Rims allow riders to go down hills faster but also have to deal with increasing downhill wobble speed. The Tracomp Mavic spokes flex very little side-to-side under extreme loads by compressing, instead of losing the tension distributed to their bodies by the hub. The wheels feel lighter and its rotational inertia is on the low-end side – meaning that wheels are now lighter, more efficient, and stiff. These wheels are supported by QRL SL hubs which are optimized for lightweight and the bearings run smoothly and longer. Additionally, the hollow tube shaped carbon spokes on the rear drive side of the Mavic wheel allows it to be more stiff, by absorbing compressing forces for both normal and heavy load conditions by using Tracomp technology.

Yksion Powerlink rear wheel reduces the force resisting the motion of the tire(rolling resistance) making it easier for the wheel to transfer effective power and increase the acceleration of the rear wheel.

“We have only mentioned the features for the rear wheel only. If you are looking to buy the complete wheelset please click here.

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Mavic R-Sys SLR WTS Rear Wheel

5. Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSet: Wide rims; reduced rolling friction; aerodynamic; strong wheel structure

Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSet 700 C 9-11 Speed Cassette, Black
  • Type: Wheelset
  • Wheel diameter: 28“
  • Wheel Weight: 1538g
  • Rim Material, Type: Optimised Aluminium/ Clincher
  • Rim Depth/Internal Rim Width/External Rim Width: 26mm front, 30mm rear/17mm/22.5mm
  • Spoke used: Campagnolo Aero
  • Spoke Count & Pattern: 16 radial /21 radial / with G3 pattern 2:1 spoke ratio on the drive side
  • Hub used: Aluminum HG Shimano/SRAM, ED Campagnolo MEGA-G3™ Oversize flange(Rear wheel)
  • Bearings used: USB ceramic ball bearings
  • Brake type/Surface/Used: Rim/Carbon
  • Cassette body: Campagnolo FH Body 9/10/11 and FH Body HG 9/10/11

Features & Considerations
  • Optimized wider Aluminum Rim: The width of the C17 rims allows the front and rear wheel to obtain a shape that enhances grip when cornering at high speed while reducing friction due to rolling and also aerodynamic drag on the wheel. The rim now has a better grip on the tyres optimizing braking performance.
  • Spoked Dynamic Balance™: Two oversized spokes are placed on opposite sides of the rim joint resulting in a wheel that perfectly balances the rotational dynamics of the wheel.
  • Alloy Hub with steel bearing: Steel bearing used in both the front and rear hub makes sure that the wheels have aerodynamics and last longer. 16 aero steel spokes on the front wheel and 21 on the rear wheel, the rear wheel has a 2:1 ratio on the drive side of the rear making the wheel laterally and radially stiff and the low spoke count on the front wheel makes sure the wheels still weigh low.
  • Spokes anti-rotation system™: Spoke performance is drastically improved by the patented anti-rotation system that is used here. The spokes always maintain the same position by the innovative design of the spoke-hub interface. There is no rotation of the spokes in this system thus spoke tension is always the same with aerodynamic profile
  • Mega-G3™: This is an assembly structure that Campagnoplo has used to innovate the architecture of the wheelset for maximum energy transfer from, putting the right side slopes under reduced tension pedaling, Campagnolo has developed an assembly architecture which, compared to a traditional wheel, makes it possible to improve energy transfer, reduce the stress on the spokes on the right and boost transverse rigidity. 
  • G3 spoke pattern: G3™ geometry on the right-hand side of the rear wheel is fitted with twice as many spokes to better transfer rotational force from the pedals, vibrating less and flexing less sideways under increased load and minimize pressure on the rear wheels  Oversized flanges improve how responsive the wheel is and allowing the wheel to bear more load before distortion.
  • MoMag™: ” The upper bridge does not have any holes, but the nipples are held by the spokes only. The resulting rim has a more consistent structure, without any weak zones and uniform stress distribution. The rim, therefore, lasts longer, works harder for a longer period. Tension in the spokes is also retained longer and makes the wheel stiffer both laterally and radially – making it more reactive with improved acceleration. The spokes now can be easily replaced with low maintenance.

Some Weaknesses
  • The front hub bearing has a noise while the internal rim width could be more. This means the wheel is not aero, which is also due to the heavy skewers being used here 
  • Zonda wheels used here do not come with covers while the stickers on the wheel seem less expensive and weak.

The clincher tires used in this Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSet are very comfortable. The diameter of the hub is small with the different height of the hub on the front and rear wheel. This Differentiated Hub Diameter Front and Rear contributes to better performance on the wheels and maximum stiffness. A smaller front hub allows for smoother airflow over its body.  Together, the hub and self-locking nipples mean that the front wheel is easier to maneuver and vibration felt is less. Mounting Magnet” system used here which means that rim tape is no longer needed, and the wheel does not undergo any deformation in case of accidents – upgrading the structural integrity of the wheel.

Weight and stiffness are balanced with the differentiated height of the milled rims. Steel bearings used in the hub makes this wheel more durable while the 2:1 ratio ensures maximum stiffness while low spoke count makes this wheelset light. Spokes’ anti-rotation system allows optimum aerodynamic penetration. Aluminum hub body, axle improves stiffness, and adjusting lock ring with the micro setting in the hub holds the hub in the optimum position. The Zonda wheel is assembled manually by technicians of Campagnolo and every detail electrically checked. The strength and reliability make it one of the best wheels for road cycling. 

Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSet

Campagnolo Zonda C17 WheelSet

6. ROL Wheels D’Huez Road Bike Wheelset: Aero and wide rims; lightweight, spoke-friendly hubs; stiff and sure-footed profile

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Named after the famous Alpine climb that is a part of Tour de France, the ROL Wheels D’Huez Road Bike Wheelset is the best set of wheels for heavy riders. A small push on the wheels will make them go on rotating for 3 minutes. These wheels allow smooth coasting, providing excellent cornering and instant acceleration.  Better climbing and wheels make the most of any effort.

The D’Huez features trademark rims with its light, spoke-friendly hub. DT Swiss Aerolite spokes are used which are the lightest available in the industry and also the spoke with the most aerodynamic profile. Wider rims provide more surface area while improving lateral rigidity. Since these wheels also have a tubeless version, low tire pressures will improve grip while providing a comfortable riding experience. The exclusive Aero rim and 3D Forged alloy hub is top of the line. The increased strength and durability of the D’Huez 20/24 wheelset has made this wheelset an obvious choice for those who want a lightweight wheelset with a wide footprint that Is resulted from the wide rims of D’huez.  These wide rims allow better cornering traction and significantly boost ride quality. This is due to the wide base area of the tire resulting from the increased air volume. Riders can have a stiff suspension system without compromising ride quality and can have better control. The combination of the straighter sidewall profile, that is less prone to deformation, and the sharp, outwards angles of the side tread, meant that when you wanted to dig the side into the dirt, it provided a very definite, positive feel that translated into more confidence to turn the bike hard.

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ROL Wheels D’Huez Road Bike Wheelset

7. Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset: Light, wide and fast set of wheels; aerodynamic; sure and consistent braking in all conditions

Token Ventous 700c Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset 36mm - Shimano/Sram Cassette Body
  • Type: Wheelset
  • Wheel diameter: 28”(700x25c – 700x28c)
  • Wheel Weight: 1342 g
  • Rim Material, Type: Carbon fiber/Clincher
  • Rim Depth/Internal Rim Width/External Rim Width: 36mm/20mm/27.4mm
  • Spoke used: Straight Sapim CX-RAY Straight
  • Spoke Count & Pattern: 18, radial/21, Diametric
  • Hub used: Z1
  • Bearings used: TFT
  • Brake type/Surface/Used: Rim/carbon-specific (Conti-Fiber)
  • Cassette body : Shimano/ SRAM 10-11s

Features & Considerations
  • Deep Rims: The rims are aero thanks to their 36 mm depth.
  • Conti-fiber structure: The CONTI-FIBER structure ensures we get the desired performance from the wheels consistently.
  • CX-Ray spokes: Sapim CX-Ray spokes superbly reinforce the structure and deal in an excellent manner with stress and pressure that comes with high-speed riding.
  • Z1 HUb with TFT Bearings: Larger TFT bearings, wider flange-to-flange placement, tool-free end caps with non-contact labyrinth design, hard-anodized dura-aluminum axle, the Z1 hubset has excellent functionality and unparalleled aesthetics, and is user-friendly. With all excessive spoke-hole side openings eliminated, the new Z1 hub shell not only looks elegant but also holds spokes much more securely.
  • Better braking performance: With a braking surface that is hard-wearing and carbon specific brake pads, you can have excellent control over your bike while turning cornres and suddenly coming to a halt. Even when fitted with low inflation tyres, the tubeless-ready profile will provide fantastic grip.
  • Conti-Fibre: Continuous Fibre creates a lighter stronger carbon rim.CONTI-FIBRE is a process for innovative rim manufacture. The essential part of the rim is pre-formed by machine so as to maintain a  uniform and symmetrical structure. No scope of human error and overlapping of extra rim material has consistent strength all over its shape.no weak point. This results in a rim that is not only light but strong too
  • OAD: Optimized aerodynamic design. Using  CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) analysis,  OAD (Optimized Aerodynamic Design) rims are designed for optimized performance at both 0° and a 10° yaw angle, which makes it perfect for riding in all conditions.
  • Diametric Spoke Pattern: Radial spoke pattern on the rear non-drive side, while the drive side has 2 triple-crossed spokes on the drive side. This allows the wheel to be aerodynamic while balancing force due to pedaling and from the ground. The drive side lacing is very strong and improves lateral stiffness, This allows instant acceleration and responsiveness. This is why we can use low spoke count without bringing down wheel strength. Tension is also distributed evenly on the drive and non-drive sides, increasing the life cycle of the wheel.
  • Tubeless Ready: Tubeless tyres are more comfortable, provide improved better traction and is durable 
  • 5-axis CNC machines to build the hub: CNC machine because it allows us to build hubs very precisely; this means they are stronger, lighter, and more durable than standard CNC machined hubs.
  • Token Vigilante Skewers: This skewer will allow a larger clamping force. To increase stiffness, vigilante skewers will need to clamp the wheels on the frame.

Some Weaknesses
  • High maintenance. Excess tension in the spokes and increased inflation pressure could cause unseen damage. Note that overly inflated tires don’t necessarily have lower rolling resistance, and may have inferior traction!
  • TOKEN brand carbon-rim specified brake pads on rims with carbon fiber brake track. Use other brake pads could degrade braking performance and may lead to unwanted characters such as noise and heat accumulation, as well as the serious injury of rider.

The Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset also handles well in crosswinds. Faster on these wheels on climbs as well as flats. They are very light and stiff and they roll forever. The smoothness of each wheel’s spin is second to none, with a Shimano-compatible freewheel providing terrific thrust as and when required. 36mm rim depth, both wheels benefit from brilliant balance and crosswind stability. Hybrid TFT bearings used are known for their durability and smooth operation. The Z1 hubs are smooth-rolling while Sapim CX-Ray spokes improve rigidity, allow riding at high speeds, and absorb stress from bumps better. They are also packed with high-grade Klüber grease.

A carbon-specific brake pad gives excellent control when cornering and coming to a halt, while the tubeless-ready profile better grip lower pressure tyres – this set of wheels are lightweight, good on the eyes and perfect for all road disciplines as they are also termed as alloy climbing wheels.

Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset

Token Ventous Carbon Road Clincher Wheelset

8. Yuanan Aero Carbon Tubular Tubeless Road Bike Wheel: Improved braking power; aero spokes; personalized rim surface; deep section rims

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Yuanan Aero Carbon Tubular Tubeless Road Bike Wheel with Novatec N271 Hub, carbon wheels and tubular tubeless compatibility gives us a wheelset that can have its rim surface customized to 3k/ud/12k/6k twill/3k twill/12k twill. Specialized high-temperature carbon fiber maintains stiffness in high temperatures which may result due to braking from downhill travel. The resin system actually brings down the temperature of the rim between braking, making it a good choice for riding in steep downhill terrain and wet conditions. Novatec hub proves high quality despite being a cost-effective solution.

The braking surface is polished using crystals, a technology which makes the braking surface extremely fat. Noise is reduced along with increased resistance to wear and tear. 3K,12K, and UD are carbon fiber weave patterns on the rim. However, this only affects the aesthetics of the carbon fiber rim – not the performance.

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Yuanan Aero Carbon Tubular Tubeless Road Bike Wheel

9. SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40: Better drive rigidity; lightweight; stiff; aero spokes; personalized rim surface; deep section rims

SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Road Wheelset - Clincher
  • Type: Wheelset
  • Wheel diameter: 28”
  • Wheel Weight: 1485g
  • Rim Material, Type: Aluminum with carbon laminate/Clincher
  • Rim Depth/Internal Rim Width/External Rim Width: 35mm/17mm/20.8mm
  • Spoke used: stainless steel butted straight pull bladed
  • Spoke Count & Pattern: 16 radial/21 (cross laced on the drive side, straight on the non-drive side)
  • Hub used: Shimano Dura-ace
  • Bearings used: Digital cone
  • Brake type/Surface/Used: Rim/Aluminum brake
  • Cassette body: Shimano/SRAM 9/10/11-speed

Features & Considerations
  • OTBAL rear wheel spoke system: 21 spokes are present on the rear wheel – 7 on the non-drive side and 14 on the drive side. This design acts against the extra tension in the spokes on the drive side and by the 11-speed cassette increasing stiffness in the tyre and overall wheel strength. This will increase wheel lifetime.
  • Rim design and material: The alloy rim here pressed and machined to reduce the thickness of the walls to 0.6 mm which is a significant reduction from previous models. The wheels become lighter, but also less stable. Shimano utilizes a patented carbon laminate process on the rim where the alloy is anodized by phosphoric acid before fusing layers of variable carbon to it. The resulting rim is less prone to wear and tear nut offers the same comfort level as alloys rims. 
  • Increased aerodynamics: The rim depth increases aerodynamic features of the wheelset and the alloy braking surface optimizes braking performance in every condition. The 20 mm rim width means wider tyres can be used which presents a larger surface area to the ground. Enhanced grip between the rim and the tyre will allow riders to turn a corner at high speed resulting from enhanced wheel aerodynamics
  • Aluminum hub shell with bladed spokes: The hub shell is made from aluminum with straight pull spokes made of stainless steel attached to it. Stainless steel straight pull spokes make the wheel more resistant to sideways flexing when subjected to a load.
  • Digital Cone Bearing Adjustment System: A 5 mm hex wrench ensures precise bearing adjustment which makes maintenance easy. Since there is no double lock, it is also easy to adjust. The design of the axle system distributes tension quickly while the bearing load is unchanged, making them more durable and boosting ride smoothness. 

Some Weaknesses
  • Parts are not found easily.
  • Does not have an aerodynamic profile
  • On the heavier diem with 1508g, which may not be suitable for climbing.
  • Reduced internal rim width

The SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 Wheelset is designed to have its center of gravity at the hubs, thus reducing the weight of the rim and torque, enabling better instant acceleration. The suspension system is held firm during high-speed travel and fast cornering – making the wheels more stable with a hyperactive motion by responding better and reducing drag force. The rim is treated with a carbon laminate process where the alloy gains weight to that of carbon and similar drive stiffness. The C40’s increase in stiffness achieved through its advanced technology and design offers efficient power transfer so that no watt is left behind.

The alloy brake track ensures that during long descents in warm conditions, the overall structure is not damaged. It can be said that all components used in this wheelset system are aerodynamic, efficient, and allow for better speed. The ultimate lightweight, responsive all-rounder wheelset.

SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Clincher Road Wheelset

SHIMANO Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Clincher Road Wheelset

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What type of wheels are best for hill climbing

Ans: A collection of four criteria are determinant factors for selecting wheels that are best suitable for hill climbing. The wheels must have an aerodynamic profile that will allow climbers to attain max speeds while balancing it under cross-wind drag as well. The profile of the rims  – material, depth, internal and external width, shape – all these affect the aerodynamics of any wheel. They should also absorb pressure when going down bumpy terrain and respond better during fast-motion through zig-zag pathways. 

The best wheels for climbing should provide the best and consistent braking performance during high speed downward travel and wet conditions. Your wheels should be able to efficiently transfer energy to effective power, a quality that is dependent on the stiffness of the wheels. Energy to power transfer is also dependent on the number of holes in the rim which should be selected while keeping the weight of the rider in mind.

Q2. Are aero wheels good for climbing?

Ans: When we are climbing uphill, the weight of the rider comes more into play than the wheelset weight and how efficiently the rider can press on the pedals to move the bike uphill. Therefore, despite popular opinion, wheel aerodynamics become the key factor. Aero wheels will have rims that are very deep. However, after extensive research, wheel manufacturers tend to modify the shape of the rims and how the spokes are attached to the hub. The best aero wheels are light, stiff, and comfortable. They can be handled easily with increased responsiveness to minimize drag force that will allow the rider to move faster during an uphill climb. 


Climbing uphill requires bike wheels that are suitable not for uphill travel only, but also for downhill descent. All factors such as tyre type, rim width, rim material, spokes used, spoke pattern, and count independently influence what wheels are the perfect fit for such purposes, and after much consideration, we have picked the Zipp 202 Clincher wheelset as the best set of wheels.

These wheels have the perfect combination of attributes that are required for climbing  – lightweight, aerodynamic, stiff, excellent braking in all conditions, and also balanced spoke count for lateral rigidity.

One may decide for other sets of lightweight wheels that are mentioned above, but it is wise to always do some research and try to pick out the best one by considering rider weight as well, as this is the determinant external factor that comes into play for uphill and downhill travel – and eventually goes to influence other factors as well. Thank you for taking the time to go through this article and we hope that we have been able to help you decide.

Dion Lewis

My name is Dion Lewis.I’ve been cycling since my childhood. When I was in high school, I started racing in our local competitions.In 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 bike gear.

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