Wheels play an important role in the performance and character of a bike, and thus it is very important to invest in a good wheelset.
Often these days, you might see carbon fiber wheelsets being sold in the market, and you might wonder, how is it different from the traditional aluminium wheelsets?
Carbon Fiber VS Aluminium Wheelsets
Carbon fiber is lighter than aluminium, which also means that it is the material of choice if you are looking at aerodynamics. Being lightweight, carbon fiber wheelsets also have greater climbing ability and it gives you more speed, as compared to aluminium wheelsets. Furthermore, it makes the bike feel snappier, making it beneficial for accelerating from a stop or out of slow corners.
Minimotors SG offers one of the lightest and value for money carbon fiber wheelsets in the market. Check out their 1.3kg ICAN Aero 40 Carbon wheelset priced at $1090 only!
Since carbon fiber is lighter than aluminium, it gives the bike more aerodynamics as compared to aluminium. This means that carbon fiber wheelsets give you more speed as compared to aluminium wheelsets. Furthermore, it reduces drag significantly!
Even though carbon is especially strong and it can be impressively durable, they do not bend, unlike aluminium. This means that they are more prone to damage from sharp impacts or crashes when they are subjected to loads they are not designed to cope with. But, while a bent aluminium rim can be straightened and reusable, it is not the same as a carbon rim. You can either get it fixed at a cheap price, or get a replacement. Thus, it will be good to always buy wheelsets with a crash replacement policy.
In terms of braking performance, aluminum wheelsets do much better than carbon fiber. It is tougher for heat to build up in carbon fiber wheelsets as compared to aluminum wheelsets, and thus, harder to brake. Even though improvements have been made to recent carbon fiber wheelsets these days, a good aluminium wheelset still provides better braking performance, especially in the rain.
The stiffness of a wheelset affects the responsiveness of the bike towards inputs such as pedaling and steering. Stiffer wheels give a more responsive acceleration and steer, and hold lines through corners and bumps more precisely.
Carbon wheelsets are generally stiffer as compared to aluminium wheelsets. However, the stiffer the wheelset, the less comfort it gives. Thus, newer carbon wheelsets are designed to be more comfortable, while remaining stiff to maintain positive steering and cornering.
Rim Width and Depth
Bigger rim widths improve cornering by reducing a tire’s tendency to roll on the rim. It also provides additional support to the tire sidewalls at lower pressures. Carbon fiber wheelsets are able to give you a bigger rim width without it being too heavy as compared to aluminium wheelsets.
Also, a deeper rim depth has more aerodynamic qualities as compared to shallow rim depths. Deeper rim depths have smaller holes inside the rim, allowing it to minimize air separation over the surface of the wheel, keeping airflow attached longer.
Bigger rim widths and deeper rim depths also mean heavier wheels. Thus, most riders will choose a carbon fiber wheelset if they are looking for bigger rim widths and deeper rim depths.
Check out Minimotors SG’s ICAN AERO 50, a carbon fiber 50mm rim depth disc wheelset!
In conclusion, carbon fiber wheelsets are definitely a better choice with its better overall performance, aerodynamics, weight, speed, and durability. However, if budget is your main concern, there are also affordable carbon fiber wheelsets out there that costs between $699 to $1350 from Minimotors SG! Check out their website on the range of affordable carbon fiber wheelsets!