Upgrading road bike wheels, a dilemma

This is my question really, how much better are the wheels at different price points?

28k Giant carbon SLR2
38k Giant carbon SLR1
40k Entry Italian carbon
50k mid level USA/Italian carbon
100k top of the line carbon

I really don’t know how much better the ride will be and I actually just want something better than these shitty PR2 wheels, so I’ll probably pick up the SLR2 wheels.

Actually kinda related to the OT.

Here’s a rule I live by when buying upgrades. Always spend more than you have budgeted, you won’t be disappointed.


The wife will kick my ass lol

All i do, all day, every day, is build wheels.
The advice I give everyone is to never buy wheels with proprietary spokes.
Whatever wheels you buy, make sure that you will be able to get spares outside of the maker’s network.
DT swiss, Giant and Roval wheels often use a special type of “T Head”, application specific, DT spoke, which is a FPITA to get later.
Also check availablity of replacement freehub bodies. At the moment I have 2 sets of Reynolds wheels here that are unusable owing to unavailable replacement bodies.
Have you looked at HUNT wheels?


My thoughts are Giant can replace the wheel or a part of the wheel if it breaks since I live in Taiwan. I’m guessing the parts will be readily available.

I have heard of hunt but they would have to ship it to Taiwan and if I have problems with them I would have to ship them to hunt? I honestly just want to walk to the Giant store 150M from my house and say “hey it’s broken fix it please thanks”

Some of the local guys I ride with ride on Fulcrums (cheap here compared to other countries) and Mavic’s.

I had a Shimano carbon wheel break on me coming down a mountain once, alloys only for me for now on.


My last pair of carbon wheels lasted about 200.000km so no issues normally. Riding in rain wore down the brake strip. broke the back wheel on a pothole…

Cheap custom Chinese rims are available, and I have no issues with my pair of 25mm rims laced to some older campy hubs using standard DT spokes.

I went with these (or similar, 2 years ago… they’ve developed a slightly different range now. )

Request the store to provide the “wife receipt”. :wink:

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You can also consider Salukivi, which is a local brand. They can test before you buy. I hear they are decent wheels, but lose a lot of value if you want to re-sell.


Then I might be interested in buying them second hand, once I finish my first 200,000 kms…

Have you come across TOKEN wheels in Taiwan? Any thoughts on them?

My friend has a pair of rim brake 47(ish)mm alloy rim brake wheels and he says they are bomb proof. Cannot comment too much on the disc wheels, but they should be pretty high value CP.

Here’s something from CyclingNews may help you make your decision

How to choose the best lightweight wheels

Before splashing out on the first set of wheels you set eyes on, it’s worth looking at the various attributes that make up the best lightweight wheels. Not only are the following factors fundamental in terms of compatibility with your bike (disc, tubeless, wheel width), they also have a direct impact on the strength, efficiency and longevity of a wheel.



Reducing the rotational mass of a wheel is a far more important upgrade than trying to lighten your frame. If you think about it, climbing wheelsets are around 350-500g lighter than the aero equivalent, so not only are you losing total mass, you get the added benefit of saving energy (and wattage) to overcome inertia.

Of course, all else being equal, a lighter wheelset will be faster, but ‘all else’ is never equal. Reducing weight will usually come at the expense of something else. That could be depth, strength, or even compatibility with tyres.

Take a moment to consider your requirement for aerodynamics. If you’re only ever riding along on the flats, then a lightweight pair of wheels will ultimately be slower than a heavier, more aerodynamic pair.

Brake type

The rise of disc-brake modulation has changed the game in many ways, the most pertinent being wheelset/frame compatibility. In layman’s terms, a disc-brake wheelset won’t work with a rim-brake frame and vice versa. When choosing the best lightweight wheels for your bike, you’ll need to ensure you get the correct braking type.

Axle type

With disc brakes came the requirement for stiffer axles, and the solution was 142x12mm thru-axles. Modern disc brake bikes will usually have these thru axles. Modern rim brake bikes will usually still use quick release skewers, and the best lightweight wheels tend to follow the same script, but just to be on the safe side, double-check your bike’s axles and ensure your new wheels match.

Rim depth

Lightweight wheels for climbing possess a far shallower profile than their deep-dished brethren, usually around 25-40mm, which is great for climbing and cross-winds but not so much for straight-line efficiency. For many, however, the sacrifice in aerodynamics is worth the gain in gravity-trumping weight. It all comes down to the type of terrain you ride - if your local training roads are mountainous or hilly then it’s wise to go with a climbing wheelset; if it’s flat or rolling, go aero.


While it’s no secret that carbon is stiffer, more responsive, and better at absorbing vibrations than aluminium, there isn’t much of a weight discrepancy between the two materials. In fact, in some instances, aluminium is lighter, and it’s certainly cheaper. If the wheels listed in this guide are a little on the steep end of your budget, then look to aluminium for some cost savings.


The best lightweight wheels are all about keeping weight to a minimum while still retaining stiffness so it’s imperative that you choose a tyre that complements its function - there’s little point in fitting chunky 30mm tyres as this defeats the purpose. It’s also worth considering the compatibility, as with the introduction of tubeless wheels and hookless beads, not all tyre manufacturers are guaranteed to be compatible.

The brands behind all of the best lightweight wheels will have a tyre compatibility chart that tells you what’s safe (and more importantly, what’s not safe) to use.

@Zapman did you end up upgrading? What did you go with?

I’ve been thinking about upgrading my PR-2s (rim brake) as well, but I only ride for recreation and I’m fairly used to them + the tubeless-specific quirks.

Hey autorelease, I did upgrade them. I found a decent pair of used Shinano Dura Ace C40 wheels on a Facebook buy/sell group for bicycle related items.

It’s a world of difference honestly. It feels a lot more stable under braking and the control of the bike feels way better. I also didn’t have to change my tires as I would of had to if I bought SLR wheels.

I have a disc brake bike, so I could also upgrade the brakes to a more advanced rotor. I got Shimano MT900 rotors.

My main concern is safety when cycling and I feel more confident with these wheels and brakes.

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Wow quite the upgrade!

Maybe after level 3 ends I’ll pull the trigger on something.

I’d go with the SLR2 wheels. But it depends on the bike. If you’ve got a $100k+ frame then maybe the Italian ones or mid level.

There’s a lot of wheels in the 8,000-15,000 range that are yesterday’s mid-tier top of the line wheels that would make a heap of the difference, even for a recreational cyclist.

A pair of Fulcrum 3s or Campagnolo Zondas. If you want something deep section you can consider Mavic Cosmic or DT Swiss. All of which are aluminum brake tracks so you do not have to worry about swapping out your brakes pads.

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