My 8 Best Mountain Bike Wheels (Reviews & Buying Guide)

My 8 Best Mountain Bike Wheels (Reviews & Buying Guide)

The following is our choice of the best Mountain bike wheels designs and what you need to consider when buying one.

QUICK ANSWER: MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE WHEELS  :

 

MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE WHEELS COMPARISON :

Product:
Features:
Pros/Cons:
Price:
NOBL TR33
Best Mountain Bike Wheels
Best for technical climbs and hard trails
  • Tubeless: yes
  • Wheel size:  29-inch
  • Key features:  Noiseless clutch, carbon rim
  • Specifications: 27mm rim, 1580g
    • Easy to inflate
    • aluminum like feel
    • Heavy
    Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie 650b
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for trail and enduro
  • Tubeless: yes
  • Wheel size:  29-inch
  • Key features:  aluminum-rim, equipped with rim tape, valves supplied
  • Specifications: 1690g, 29mm rim
    • Tubeless-ready
    • stout
    • well built
    • Pricey
    • quite heavy
    MAVIV MOUNTAIN BIKE ARB WHEELS
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for all-round mountain riding
  • Tubeless:  yes
  •  Wheel size:  27.5-inches
  •  Key features: disc brake rims, 32 spokes
  •  Specifications: 20mm rim, 1780g
    • Exceptionally durable
    • super light
    • reasonably priced
    • too twangy for aggressive riders
    • heavy tires
    MAVIC DEEMAX ULTIMATE
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for downhill rides and enduro as well
  • Tubeless: yes
  •  Wheel size: 29- inch
  •  Key features: alloy rim, sealed cartridge bearing, steel bladed
  •  Specifications: 2015g
    • Very light
    • huge smooth bearing
    • great look
    • Expensive
    • freehub comes with a short lifespan
    DT Swiss X 1900
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for trail and sporting activity
  • Tubeless: yes
  •  Wheel size: 29- inch
  •  Key features: 20mm allow rim, DT Swiss alloy hubs, valves supplied
  •  Specifications: 1780g
    • Incredibly lightweight
    • fine rims
    • issues with the rear hub
    RACE FACE TURBINE 30
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for all-mountain biking
  • Tubeless: yes
  •  Wheel size: 27.5- inch
  •  Key features: alloy rim, 30 mm internal rim
  •  Specifications: 30mm rim, 1780g
    • Wider and stiffer rims
    • Rapid engagement
    • Expensive
    SHIMANO DEORE/SUN DISC
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best if you are looking at striking reliability but willing to sacrifice weight
  • Tubeless: yes
  • Wheel size: 29- inch
  • Key features: alloy rim, valve supplied
  • Specifications: 27,7mm rim
    • Incredibly reliable
    • quite strong
    • Relatively heavy
    STAN NO TUBES FLOW S1
    Best Mountain Bike Wheels
    Best for stability and great speed control
  • Tubeless: yes
  • Wheel size: 27.5-inch
  • Key features:  Neo-allow hubs, aluminum rim
  • Specifications: 2034 g, 29 mm rim
    • well designed rear hub engagement
    • strong rims
    • Heavy

    MY BEST MOUNTAIN BIKE WHEELS REVIEWS :

    • NOBL TR33

      • Tubeless: yes
      • Wheel size:  29-inch
      • Key features:  Noiseless clutch, carbon rim
      • Specifications: 27mm rim, 1580g
      • Pros: Easy to inflate, aluminum like feel
      • Cons: Heavy

     

    • Specialized Roval Traverse Fattie 650b

      • Tubeless: yes
      • Wheel size:  29-inch
      • Key features:  aluminum-rim, equipped with rim tape, valves supplied
      • Specifications: 1690g, 29mm rim
      • Pros: Tubeless-ready, stout, well built
      • Cons: Pricey and quite heavy

     

      • Tubeless:  yes
      •  Wheel size:  27.5-inches
      •  Key features: disc brake rims, 32 spokes
      •  Specifications: 20mm rim, 1780g
      • Pros: Exceptionally durable, super light, reasonably priced
      • Cons: too twangy for aggressive riders, heavy tires

     

      • Tubeless: yes
      •  Wheel size: 29- inch
      •  Key features: alloy rim, sealed cartridge bearing, steel bladed
      •  Specifications: 2015g
      • Pros: Very light, huge smooth bearing, great look
      • Cons: Expensive, freehub comes with a short lifespan

      • Tubeless: yes
      •  Wheel size: 29- inch
      •  Key features: 20mm allow rim, DT Swiss alloy hubs, valves supplied
      •  Specifications: 1780g
      • Pros: Incredibly lightweight, fine rims
      • Cons: issues with the rear hub

     

      • Tubeless: yes
      •  Wheel size: 27.5- inch
      •  Key features: alloy rim, 30 mm internal rim
      •  Specifications: 30mm rim, 1780g
      • Pros: Wider and stiffer rims, Rapid engagement
      • Cons: Expensive

     

      • Tubeless: yes
      • Wheel size: 29- inch
      • Key features: alloy rim, valve supplied
      • Specifications: 27,7mm rim
      • Pros: Incredibly reliable, quite strong
      • Cons: Relatively heavy

     

      • Tubeless: yes
      • Wheel size: 27.5-inch
      • Key features:  Neo-allow hubs, aluminum rim
      • Specifications: 2034 g, 29 mm rim
    • Pros:  well designed rear hub engagement, strong rims
    • Cons: Heavy

     

    How To Choose The Best MTB Wheels :

    Size

    This, probably, is the first thing you need to consider before you do any other thing. You need to ask yourself if it will actually fit on your bike. Currently available in the market are three main diameters; 26’’, 27.5’’/650b and 29in. Each one comes with its own share of benefits and drawbacks as well. They are also a handful of axle fittings.

    • 26’’ wheels

    These types of wheels are typically small in size. They are incredibly lightweight and offer the best stiffness at a relatively low price. Because they are super light, they can actually accelerate up to very high speed within seconds. Plus, with those ridiculously small rotations, you can tear through those tracks at a very high speed. In fact, there are best if you want to move fast from one location to another. So if you are looking for something to compete with, a 26-inch wheel is what you need.

    • 27.5’’/650b

    This one falls in the middles of 26’’ and 29’’ wheels. These wheels typically are a bit of a compromise between the two, when it comes to handling speed and weight. There are quite popular and that is because they actually retain the lightness of 26-inch wheels. They are also incredibly snappier when it comes to those twisted trails. It can handle them with so much ease. When it comes to traction, these types of mountain bike wheels also rivals 29-inch wheels in a number of ways.

    • 29’’ wheels/ 29er

    The largest mountain bike wheels in the market now; these types of wheels can be really difficult to accelerate to top speed because of their huge diameter. Additionally, those longer spokes make them the heaviest of the three. You will be forced to put more effort to have these wheels spinning like you want them to be. That can be quite tiring, especially if you do it for a considerable length of time or you are going uphill.

    However, they come with good things though; because of the increased contact area, these wheels offer an enhanced level of traction. Their super larger circumference also makes them quite great when it comes to handling the bumpy ground and rolling over.

    In the end, size does play a very important role. It can be quite confusing but to help you choose the right one, there are quite a number of considerations. For example what terrain will you be riding on? What is that you want out of your mountain bike?  The kind of answers you have for these questions will help you make a solid choice.

    Additionally, your height might also come into play. For example, if you are short, you might find a 26-inch wheel more comfortable. If you are tall, a 29-inch machine could be what you have been waiting for. It is as simple as that.

    Wheel anatomy

    Understating how the whole thing is put together is essential as it will help you when choosing the best mountain bike wheel. Your mountain bike wheel comes with 4 key components and they all have a direct influence on durability, weight, and performance as well. Many at times, upgrading or even downgrading these 4 key components will affect the ride quality, braking performance, and your effort output.

    • Rim: This one sits right at the outside of your wheel. They come with one key function; holding the tire. Technically, the width of your rim affects the width of the wheel and this can have some impact on your ride control and also grip on the trail.
    • Rim Material: The kind of material that has been used on the rims is important and must be considered as well. We actually have two choices; carbon and alloy. Each comes with a few features. For example, Alloy rims are incredibly light. They are also quite cheap. Carbon, on the other end, is much stiff. A stiffer rim, obviously, comes with few advantages. It offers great power. So whether to go for alloy or rim boils down to what you really need.
    • Rim Width: This is one part that is getting wider and wider. The traditional wheel came with 19mm rim, but we have seen others even go up to 30mm or even more. This is actually a good thing. After all, as the rim gets wider, the more stability you get, especially when you are riding at a lower inflation pressure. So if you are looking for stability you might want to go higher on the rim. A wider rim, typically allows you to use a wider wheel. This comes with some benefits as well. Wider tires offer excellent grip. That will allow you to have better control when you are maneuvering those technical terrains.
    • Hub: The hub typically sits right at the center of your wheel. It offers the axis of rotation. They form an integral part. Hubs provide anchoring points for the spokes. Currently, mountain bike rear hubs feature a number of widths; 135mm, 142mm, and 148mm. Although 142 mm is the standard, more people are going for 148mm. It is fast becoming very popular simply because of many reasons. For example, increased hub means you can actually use a wider tire than what a regular hub would allow.
    • The Spokes: These are rods that connect the hub to rims. There is no exact number of spokes you should actually have. However, 24, 28 and 32 are some of the most common numbers. There are different types of spokes you will find in the market.
      – Butted spokes: These ones do vary in length. They often allow strength and weight to be maximized.
      – Bladed spoke: They come with a flat profile and aid a lot when it comes to aerodynamics.

    Weight

    The weight of your wheel can have a great number of effects on your bike overall feel and how it handles trails. Given there are a number of things you could actually do with your mountain bike, different riding styles will need different strengths, as well as, weaknesses. For example, if you are a racer or you often find yourself climbing those steep mountain, super lightweight wheels will be more practical.

    The downhill and endure riders, on the other hand, will benefit more with a heavier and stronger wheel. In the end, really, it is important to note that, shedding off that extra weight does come at a cost. You will be forced to sacrifice the overall strength and durability of your wheels.

    Tubeless or Not Tubeless

    Which one should you really go for? Whether to go for a tubeless or non-tubeless wheel is one of the hottest debates right now.

    Technically, tubeless wheels come with many advantages than those traditional wheels. With a tubeless wheel, we are talking about a few punctures, lightweight and also lower rolling resistance. Inner tubes, on the other hand, are quite inexpensive. They are also incredibly easy to install. Nevertheless, those wheels with tubes are being phased out because tubeless are fast becoming very popular.

    Durability

    As with any other investment, after putting a significant amount of money on the best mountain bike wheels, obviously, you would want something that can last. This is where durability comes in. Ideally, when choosing one, pay attention to the local conditions like the terrain you will be riding on. For example, if you know you are going to deal with wet and muddy terrains, put a lot of emphasis on the seal and bearing. They must be durable and can be serviced with ease.

    Bearing

    As the prices of mountain bikes that has also seen the quality of components used also improve. We have seen hubs go from low quality steel to high quality hardened steel. We have also seen ceramic hubs being made. Technically, a great ceramic bearing should be smoother, rounder and even harder just like steel bearing.

    We have two key bearing designs in the market

    • Sealed cartridge bearing

    This features an inner and outer race, with the bearing sitting right in between them. They are also enclosed in one single unit. One bad thing about this type of bearing is that when it wears out, the whole unit will need to be replaced. It is, however, fairly cheap to have it replaced.

    • Loose ball bearing

    This is mostly found in entry-level wheels. They often come with plenty of pieces and loose bearings. They are not enclosed like cartridge bearing. They are sandwiched right between an outer race which is fixed with an adjustable cone-shaped inner race threaded onto the axle. 

    Loose ball bearing comes with one major drawback. Should they wear out, they can wear the hub surfaces, leading to some serious damages that will force you to have the hub replaced. On a bright side though; they are incredibly easy to maintain and you can prevent that from happening.

    Braking System

    The kind of braking system your wheel offer is crucial. You need to keep in mind the style when buying a set of your wheels as that will dictate a number of things. For example, if your bike does not come with disk brakes, you will be forced to go for a rim that is designed to run V-brakes. Additionally, ensure this part is probably built.

    The Manufacturer

    Might so obvious must most people tend to overlook it. Who makes it? As when you are buying any other piece of equipment, you may want to consider a product from a big brand. Going to a big brand comes with excellent benefits. We are talking about quality and plenty of features. Yes, you will be forced to dig dipper into your pocket, but it is worth it. High-quality wheels from a big reputable company will last now and for years to come. Get a cheap wheel for a little known company and you will be disappointed. You should be ready for a series of mechanical issues.

    Bottom line

    In the end, when choosing a wheel for your next outdoor activity, as when you are buying your car tires, pay attention to its overall design and material used. These two factors will ensure you get exactly what you need.

    Leave a Comment