Best Value: Road Bike Wheels
Mavic Aksium Road Wheel A Good Value
Choosing A Good Road Bike Wheelset
Choosing a good road bike wheel set can be difficult. There are dozens of styles, models and manufacturers to choose from making the list of choices and combinations neat limitless. Because of the advancements in technology and materials it is possible to spend quite a lot of money on set of high end road wheels. It is not uncommon for a search to turn up numerous models listed for $800, $900 or more. For the average rider putting in 100-200 miles per week, the commuter or the weekend cyclist there is really no need to spend this kind of money on a set of wheels. You can get just as much enjoyment and as many miles out of a set that costs less than half of what you might pay for a high performance wheel set.
There are a few things to look for. One is the manufacturer. Who is making the wheel or wheel components? This can have a huge impact on cost, materials and durability. Next is the construction and materials. Is it heavy? Will it support your weight and will it last a long time. I recently searched for a good set of wheels for my road bike and this is what I came up with. So far I am very happy with my new wheels and expect them to last for many miles.
Is This Wheel The Best Value?
Mavic Aksium Wheel Specs
- Weight - under 1800 grams for the set, 830/965 gm front/back
- Rim Size - 700 CC
- Construction - 6106 Aluminum
- Spokes - Stainless steel, bladed, direct pull
- Hub - Mavic QRM
- Skewer - Quick Release, aluminum
I ended up choosing the Mavic Aksium wheel set. This wheel is listed as their entry level model but compared to some others this is a high end wheel. This wheel is solid, rolls buttery smooth and is stiff and responsive.
The wheel is built on Mavic's QRM hub and features direct pull bladed spokes, cartridge bearings and Mavic's customary high level of construction. I have had a set of Mavic MB wheels before and loved them, they lasted forever. I think from what I have seen so far I will be enjoying my Aksium wheels for quite some time.
As far as price goes this wheel is a little more expensive than you will pay for some other wheels but in the end you get what you pay for. I have found this wheel listed online for about $270 a set but I got mine at the local bike shop for $325 and that included tubes and tires.
Mavic Aksium Road Wheel Set
FAS RD-60 Road Wheel Set Specs
- Weight - 2200 grams for the pair w/o the quick release
- Rim - 700 CC
- Construction -Alloy/Aluminum
- Spokes - Sapim Bladed 20F/24R, indirect pull
- Hub - FSA alloy
- Skewer - alluminum
FSA RD-60 Wheelset
This is a good wheel set but the weight is significantly more than for the Aksium. The price is also a lot higher. Even the ones I found on sale were listed at $189 and that did not include tubes or tires. Once adding those in the total price would likely be much more than the $325 I spent on the Aksium.
These wheels are built on FSA's alloy hub that features a cage ball system for the bearings. In my opinion anything not a cartridge bearing is not worth the effort. Also, the weight is significantly higher than the Aksium, about 400 grams before you add in the weight of the skewers. This wheel is good for commuting and fun riding but is not really appropriate for anyone interested in racing at the local track or training for a long club ride.
Other reviews I have read echo my thoughts. The wheel is too expensive and too heavy when compared with the Mavic Aksium. Plus the Aksium has a design feature that keeps it one step ahead of the FSA RD-60 road wheel set, direct pull spokes.
Performance Forte Road Wheel Set Specs
- Weight - 1700 grams for the pair with no skewer
- Rim - 700cc
- Construction - Alloy/Aluminum
- Spokes - Stainless Steel, bladed, indirect pull
- Hub - Forte, Alluminum
- Skewer - Not Included
Performance Bikes Forte Road Bike Wheel Set
This is the wheel that I first investigated, mainly because of price. I have bought many Performance Forté parts in the past and have liked most of them so I gave them a good once over. The rims, at first glance, are a match up to any basic road bike wheel on the market. The wheels are alloy construction and built on Forté hub with cartridge bearing with bladed spokes. Overall weight is light, coming in at 1700 grams, but does not include skewers. One negative of construction is the indirect spoke pull. Based on my past experience with Forté I was still interested but decided to read some other reviews.
The consensus that I have found, based on a half dozen reviews, is that the wheels are OK. But only OK. Every good review was matched one negative. Apart from the potential for some loose spokes there is some concern that the wheels will not support larger/heavier riders like myself. I am 6ft and weigh around 200#, depending. These wheels do have the least number of spokes, 16 on the front and 20 on the back, which could be a factor in the problems some of the reviewers were having. Other than that reviews were good and I think they would do a good job, especially for small riders.
The price on the Forté wheelset is about $170 at this time, after discounts. This price does not include skewers, tubes or tires so that needs to be taken into consideration. After adding in the cost of accessories that I have estimated at $130 (2 x $8 tubes + 2 x $50 tires) the total would come to about $300. With the price so close and the ease of going to the local store and picking up a set of wheels with tubes and tires already installed it was really a no brainer.