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Best Triathlon Wheelsets – Top Tri Wheels For Speed in 2021

 

Want to achieve a higher speed on the bike in your next triathlon? Consider upgrading to one of the best triathlon wheelsets if you want to be equipped with the top tri wheels for speed.

We recommend the DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT. It’s streamlined, lightweight, and looks great on the bike. But in the end, it’s up to you!

Read through all eight reviews and find the perfect product for your needs.

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT

 

  • Minimal aero drag
  • Heat-dissipating carbon rim
  • AERO+ Technology
Check Price

 

Shimano DURA-ACE WH-9000-C50-CL-R

 

  • Extra-wide hub flange
  • Aluminum brake track
  • 50-mm deep profile
Check Price

 

Easton EC90 AERO85 Disc

 

  • 85mm depth
  • Tubeless-ready
  • 6-degree Vault freehub engagement
Check Price

Best Overall

1. DT Swiss ARC 1100 DICUT

This lightweight and sleek-looking wheelset offers streamlined and speedy riding. It’s designed specifically to be light and minimize drag while being extremely durable at the same time.

You can choose from three different rim heights (48 mm, 62 mm, and 80 mm), each of which are rim brake wheelsets.

They’re each catered towards specific needs, with the 80 most often selected by triathletes, the 48 being extra lightweight to benefit the rider on hilly courses, and the 62 being a happy medium.

DICUT aero hubs with a 36 T patented ratchet system, SINC ceramic bearings, heat-dissipating carbon rims, and DT aero comp straight-pull spokes are just some of the features this wheelset offers.

Not only does the choice of materials make it lightweight, but it’s also durable enough for you to not worry about riding through rain, mud, or debris.

The unique ratchet system is also long-lasting and reliable, with a very high load capacity. It’s also a very practical no-tool setup that makes maintenance easier.

Another thing that increases the durability of these wheelsets is their inclusion of DT Pro Lock Technology, which is a liquid-injected nipple thread.

Straightpull spokes have no bend at the head, increasing the strength-to-weight ratio and improving the responsiveness of the wheel.

Also included when you purchase this wheelset are tubeless valves and tapes, a valve guard, brake pads, and a wheel bag.

PROS:

  • Three different rim heights
  • Minimal aero drag
  • Heat-dissipating carbon rim
  • AERO+ Technology

CONS:

  • May be slight creaking sound in one or both wheels (although not necessarily noticeable at a speed)
 

Top Clincher Aluminium/Carbon

2. Shimano DURA-ACE WH-9000-C50-CL-R

Shimano has long been known for their top-quality cycling gear so it’s no surprise they feature in this list too.

This carbon clincher wheelset features aluminum and carbon fiber rims and an extruded alloy brake track. Unusually, they leave the hard crusty surface unmachined, which may seem careless but in fact serves a very important structural purpose.

As well as the thin but strong aluminum section, there’s a carbon fiber piece that serves various purposes: to absorb vibration from your riding surface, improve aerodynamics, and add an extra layer of rigid structure to the wheel.

The alloy brake track is extremely effective. It does add a touch more weight than wheels with carbon fiber, but the control you’ll gain over your braking speed is worth the slight increase in weight.

The 50mm deep D-shaped profile helps prevent the wind from affecting your wheels’ performance. According to Shimano, this shape and size helps to reduce aerodynamic drag from 0 to 15 degrees.

Another more unusual feature on this wheelset is the use of cup-and-cone bearings to offset weight and other forces placed on the wheels. They make it both easier and safer to perform actions such as taking a corner and the rocking of the bike that comes when you’re standing on your pedals and riding hard.

PROS:

  • Extra-wide hub flange
  • Aluminum brake track
  • 50-mm deep profile
  • Cup-and-cone bearings

CONS:

  • Slightly more weight behind them
 

Best Value

3. Easton EC90 AERO85 Disc

Easton’s EC90 Aero85 Disc wheelset wins our pick for top value set. It’s a tubeless-ready carbon fiber rim paired with disc brake hubs for a streamlined experience.

These extra-deep wheels are built for speed. They have a deep section of 85mm, with a 28mm external width and a 19mm internal width and are optimized for use with 25mm or wider tires. For convenience, whether you prefer tubeless or tubed, these wheels can handle both.

24 straight-pull spokes per wheel with swappable end caps (for quick-release or thru-axles) make it both durable and convenient. External alloy nipples mean you don’t have to remove the tire and rim strip if you need to work on them.

The rapid-engagement freehub provides 6 levels of engagement and is easy to service without the need for special tools. This wheelset is also centerlock disc compatible, giving you great stopping power in any conditions.

Weighing in at just 1856 grams, it’s a lightweight but super quality set for the price. You’ll also get a two-year guarantee to replace or repair a broken wheel, no questions asked, as long as you have the original proof of purchase.

PROS:

  • 85mm depth
  • Tubeless-ready
  • Internal rim width of 19mm
  • 6-degree Vault freehub engagement

CONS:

  • May not work for tire sizes other 25mm
 

Top Disc Wheel

4. Vision Metron SL Disc Clincher

If disc wheels are more your style, we recommend the Vision Metron SL Disc Clincher Wheel. Keep in mind that disc wheels are not legal in all triathlons, but in competitions where they can be used, these wheels will give you an aerodynamic boost.

Unidirectional carbon fiber makes this wheel stiff and durable while remaining lightweight. It’s also extremely streamlined. It’s tubeless compatible and can work with tires between 23mm and 26mm.

Going fast is one thing, but this wheel also has great stopping power thanks to a micro-dot texture laser-etched onto the surface of the brake track.

Whatever terrain you’re on, your wheels will run smoothly thanks to its 17mm hub axle, which uses four sealed cartridge bearings. Included are a quick-release skewer, rim tape, brake pads, and a bag.

Also keep in mind that this isn’t a true disc wheel, but rather a carbon fiber cover over spokes. Still, double-check if it’s legal in your event before heading out with it on your bike.

PROS:

  • Unidirectional carbon fiber construction
  • Reinforced brake surface
  • Sealed ceramic bearings
  • Quick-release skewer included

CONS:

  • Covered-spokes design may be disappointing to those who want a true disc wheel design
 

Best 41mm Depth

5. Reynolds AR41x Carbon Disc Wheelset

If you’ve been using 41mm-depth wheels and you don’t want to change that, we recommend going for the Reynolds AR41x Carbon Disc wheelset. It’s designed for wider tires, available for both rim and disc brakes, and they’re also tubeless-ready.

At their widest point these rims measure 30mm, and have a 21mm internal width. This is significantly more than the traditional 15mm width, so make sure you’re okay with this before buying.

Straight pull spokes, a Centerlock interface, and external brass nipples make it super easy to do maintenance on the wheels if necessary, without the need for fancy tools. Their 10-degree freehub is compatible with both SRAM and Shimano, and also stays pretty quiet when freewheeling.

Although they’re not as deep as some, they’re fast enough to have a noticeable difference during everyday use. Their depth, paired with their shape, can handle windy conditions admirably, producing no instability or wobbliness.

They’re also surprisingly lightweight, weighing 1630 grams. When you buy from Reynolds, you’ll get a lifetime warranty.

PROS:

  • Wider profile
  • Internal width of 21mm
  • Front and rear 12mm thru-axles
  • Straight pull spokes

CONS:

  • Won’t fit conventional 15mm rims thanks to the wider profile
 

Top Variety Sizes

6. ELITEWHEELS BWS Road Carbon Wheelset

This wheelset comes in a large variety of sizes so chances are every cyclist will find something to suit them: RF08, RA18, R10, DT SWISS 350, DT SWISS 240, and DT SWISS 180.

They also come in three types, tubeless, tubular, or clincher. An inner width of 18.5mm allows it to work with tires of various sizes.

You can choose between a rim brake model and a disc brake model. The rim brake model features 24 holes for the back wheel and 20 for the front. On the disc brake version, 24 holes on the rear wheel is standard, but you can choose between 20 or 24 on the front wheel.

There are also strategically placed drainage grooves on the side of the brake, so that no water pools anywhere and causes havoc. There’s virtually no chance of your brakes slipping in wet conditions.

The 3k rim track, machined using a new resin system and a new construction method, is heat-resistant. It’s able to withstand temperatures of more than 509℉! This new tech helps to dissipate heat between braking, making this wheelset extra long-lasting.

PROS:

  • Free hub system
  • 3k rim track
  • Drainage grooves on brake
  • 1000 day warranty

CONS:

  • Not as lightweight as some others
 

Best 3-Spoke

7. Vision Metron 3-Spoke Carbon Wheel

This 3-spoke wheelset is eye-catching and has been born out of extensive wind tunnel testing and analysis. It’s made by layering UD and 3K carbon fibers, making it light and durable.

This wheel is very streamlined, being 55mm deep with an internal width of 18mm. The three-bladed spokes slice through wind and air, creating every little drag.

They also use a technology called Preload Reduction Assembly, which allows you to adjust the bearings without dismounted as it preloads the hub bearings via threaded clamps.

The braking surface has been laser-etched with micro-dots for a quicker and more effective braking experience in any type of weather.

Included in your purchase is a QR-93 quick release, tubeless-ready rim tape and valves, brake pads, and a wheel bag.

PROS:

  • 3 carbon bladed spokes
  • Laser-etched braking surface
  • Ceramic bearings
  • 55 mm deep and internally 18 mm

CONS:

  • Pricey option
 

Top All Weather Conditions

8. Industry Nine i9.45 Carbon

Weather conditions can cause havoc if you’re on a bike, but you’ll be safer and happier with the Industry Nine i9.45 Carbon wheelset on your bike.

These wheels are tubeless (Easy Fit Tubeless design) and for disc brake systems only, so they’re specific but highly effective if they fit the bill for you.

When compared to other disc brake wheelsets with the same depth, these ones run almost half a pound lighter, which can make a significant difference when you’re in the saddle.

Their carbon construction brings the ideal balance of lightweight and strong. Although it’s not as deep as some, it achieves superb aerodynamic gains and won’t be any problem riding in high winds.

With a 29.5mm external width and a 21mm inner width, these rims can accommodate tires of 25 to 28mm.

The 3-pawl freehub is a 60-point, 6-degree-engagement beast that responds extremely quickly.

When you do need to slow down, centerlock Torch Road disc brake hubs engage quickly and are smooth and effective. From the brake hubs, the rims are laced with 24 spokes in a 2:1 array, which is designed to equalize the tension across the spokes and reduce stress on the rim.

This wheelset comes with a lifetime warranty as long as you hold the original purchase papers.

PROS:

  • Easy Fit Tubeless design
  • Sturdy carbon construction
  • Torch Road disc brake hubs
  • 3-pawl, 60-point freehub

CONS:

  • Very pricey
 

FAQs

Got questions about the best triathlon wheelsets? Here’s some more info to help you out.

What are the Different Types of Road Bike Wheels?

Clincher Road Bike Wheels

Clincher wheels are the most common type. They work with open cross-section tires with inner tubes. They’re typically very easy to repair on the go, as tire changes can be done in mere minutes and as long as you’re carrying extra inner tubes, you can repair a puncture very fast.

Although they’re often daily affordable, they’re usually heavier than tubular rims and have a higher rotational weight. Because of the way they’re designed, there’s also more heat and stress on the braking surface.

Tubeless Road Bike Wheels

Tubeless wheels have grown in popularity as they present less risk of getting flats. There’s no inner tube, and the tire itself forms an airtight seal around the rim so all you need to do is pump it up.

You’ll need sealant to fix small holes as they happen. You can still place an inner tube in these tires if you wish for an extra layer of protection. They’re also generally considered to be faster than other wheel types.

They can be fiddly to set up, though, and have a bit more weight than others.

Hookless Tubeless Road Bike Wheels

The original tubeless tires used hooks to stop the tire from blowing off the rim. The latest ones don’t, as technology has improved to the point where they’re no longer necessary.

This increases the aero capacity, as it makes a clean transition from rim to tire. Technology has also improved the strength and durability of rims, making this a popular version of tubeless wheels these days.

The downside is that not all of these tires are compatible with tubeless rims, so be careful when buying.

Tubular Road Bike Wheels

Tubular wheels are generally lighter than others, with a lighter rim. They roll very smoothly, and the tubular tire is either glued or taped to the rim.

They’re not seen often outside of the racing world lately, which may have to do with the fact that they’re harder to fit and harder to repair when punctured.

What are the Most Important Things You Need to Know When Choosing Wheels?

You can’t just choose a wheelset because it looks awesome! Here are a few things you need to consider before you shell out your hard-earned cash on a new set.

If you’re likely to be traversing rough terrain or a mix of surfaces, then strength and durability are going to be of extra concern. Your wheel needs to be able to withstand bumps and jolts of varied terrain.

A heavier wheel is nothing to be afraid of here, as it will keep you anchored more sturdily on bouncy terrain. Cyclists who will be doing a lot of climbing or riding up and down hills will get the most benefit from lightweight wheels.

Cyclists with an aero bike will most likely want a wheelset that’s super aerodynamic and works with them to improve streamlining and speed. The depth is going to be important here, but you’ll need to look at both depth and shape to make sure they’re going to give you the best effect.

Keep in mind that aero wheelsets are only going to be effective if you’re riding at a speed of 20mph or higher.

The Wired Runner