If you want to change the wheels on your disc brake road bike, we have 12 pairs here ranging from under — £300 to over — £2,000.
Your stock wheels might have worn out, perhaps you want a second pair of wheels/tyres setup for a different kind of road surface, or maybe you just fancy an upgrade. The wheels shown here are the ones that have impressed road.cc reviewers most over the past couple of years. They've all scored at least eight out of 10 in testing so you can be sure that they're the real deal.
If you're interested in any particular wheelset, we've included a link to our original review where you'll find all the details you need to make your buying decision. We've also included a link to help you find a local dealer for each brand, while clicking on the product name will take you direct to an online retailer.
Most rim brake wheels attach to your bike with quick release skewers, but things are more complicated in the disc brake world. Some disc brake bikes use quick releases and traditional-style open-ended dropouts, but others use thru axles. This is where the dropouts are closed, an axle passing into a hole on one side of the frame/fork, through the wheel hub and screwing into a threaded hole (usually) on the other side of the frame/fork.
Most of today's road bikes that use thru axles take 12x100mm at the front (the diameter is 12mm, the length is 100mm) and 12x142mm at the rear. However, some disc brake bikes take 15mm thru axles (or even 9mm thru axles) and some have a 135mm rear spacing, although this is uncommon.
The same wheels can usually be made to fit different bikes through the use of axle adaptors. The Hunt Superdura Dynamo Disc Wheelset (below), for example, will work with both quick release skewers and 12mm thru axles (and less common configurations).
Just make sure that you get the right adaptors in order to replace like with like.
Centerlock or 6-bolt?
There are two different standards for fixing disc brake rotors to wheels: Shimano's Centerlock and 6-bolt. If you have a preference for one system, make sure the wheels are compatible (or be prepared to buy an adaptor).
Let's dive in.
16 of the best disc-brake-compatible wheels
The Hunt 35 Carbon Gravel Disc X-Wide are the UK brand's flagship gravel wheelset. The step up to 23mm internal rim width sets them up for the new breed of mega-wide-clearance allroad bikes – and the adaptable hubs mean your investment now is almost guaranteed to fit any future bike purchase.
The main reason for getting the X-Wides is the super-wide 23mm rim bed, backed up by a few square acres of carbon chunkiness to keep things in one piece. There's a great deal of comfort to be had from the rim profile when you're bombing about taking drop bars where no sane person would consider sensible or even possible. Everything about the X-Wides murmurs 'Find Your Limits', and it didn't take long to trust that they were more than up to the job.
The Scribe Aero Wide 50-D carbon disc wheels are all about speed according to the manufacturer, and they don't disappoint. Matching a wind-cheating 50mm-deep rim to smooth-running hubs, an instantaneous freehub engagement and plenty of stiffness makes for a set of wheels that delivers for those who want to put the hammer down. The impressive weight and a sensible price finalise the deal.
A wheel weight of 1,449g (1,438g claimed) is impressive full stop, but when you consider that's including a wide and deep carbon fibre rim, plus the extra spokes needed for a disc build, it is truly awesome and something you really notice when fitting them to your bike.
The Pacenti Forza-C 30mm Disc Clincher wheels are a new design from the ground up and they are absolutely lovely. You can feel the quality of the build as soon as you start riding, and their stiffness is impressive considering their very svelte 1,378g weight. Pacenti hasn't even stung you on the price either.
Pacenti builds these wheels by hand in the UK and it shows – not necessarily the UK bit, but definitely the handbuilt part. The wheels feel tight and stiff, but the spoke tension allows enough comfort through to take out any harshness.
The Parcours Grimpeur Disc wheels are light enough to excel on the tarmac while being so tough that you can smash them over rocks and tree roots with little concern for their wellbeing. They won't break the bank either.
With a 40mm-deep U-shaped carbon rim they weigh in at just 1,406g with the tubeless rim tape fitted, which ties in well with Parcours' claimed weight of 1,390g bare.
Fitted to the Flanders Forte cyclo-cross frameset that we had in for testing, the wheels offered snappy acceleration, and their low weight helped the whole bike feel flickable at the front and rear for hopping over potholes, rocks and other obstacles.
Being fitted to a cyclo-cross bike they spent most of their time off-road and they took the knocks and bumps from the gravel tracks and tree roots of the local singletrack without issue.
Shimano's RX31 wheelset is perfect for bikes that see a hard life, whether that be slogging along on the commute in all weathers, a bit of light touring, or even some gravel or cyclocross abuse. Our test wheelset proved to be pretty much bombproof and the bearings ran smooth and quiet no matter what we through at them. The build quality was good, the tension remaining high and even across bladed spokes, and the rims staying true. These are solid, dependable wheels at a good price.
The CXD4 is a mid-level alloy disc wheelset that weighs a reasonable 1,580g for its price. The rim is a tubeless-ready 23mm-deep alloy extrusion, sleeve-jointed for extra strength. Its 19mm width means you really want to be running at least a 28mm tyre, with anything up to a 50mm okay if it'll fit in your frame. The hubs have an alloy body and axle and sealed cartridge bearings: two in the front and four in the rear.
On the road, the wheels feel stiff and solid and the bearings run smoothly. They can take a battering on rougher surfaces and still run true. They can handle a cyclocross race or a gravel event fine.
The Racing 5 is a well-established general-purpose road wheelset that's a good choice for a first upgrade.
The wheels have 26mm deep rims that are 21.8mm wide, and these are now officially suitable for tubeless tyres. The hubs are quality affairs, as befits a sub-brand of Campagnolo, and the spokes are built with round, straight-pull spokes.
The Fulcrums are solidly built, reasonably stiff and generally easy to live with. Coming in at a decent weight (we weighed our review set at 1,640g), these are excellent wheels for the money.
These are well-made wheels that can be adapted for a variety of cycles and purposes. They work with both disc brakes and rim brakes and Halo has developed hub adapters for both conventional and offset cranks to allow any combination of axle length, chainstay length or crank offset. The rims are tubeless-ready, allowing a tubeless tyre to snap into place with a very satisfying crack. The ride quality is excellent, the weight modest and we found it impossible to provoke them into twisting or flexing.
The BORG22 wheelset features 22mm-deep aluminium tubular rims and triple butted Sapim Force spokes laced onto Miche Syntium DX hubs. It's not a flashy package, but it bats well above its price tag – it's tough, fast and will suit riders looking for a brilliant road or cyclo-cross wheelset.
Although not light, these wheels are responsive while the aluminium rim and higher spoke count mean these put up a strong and robust performance. The hubs are unfussy and last very well.
These wheels are built up to order in the UK so you can have the spoke tension tuned to suit your weight and riding requirements.
If you're looking at a dynamo system for your road bike then the SONdelux hub dynamo is pretty much the best out there for low resistance and weight, and it's renowned for great build quality which is matched by the rest of the components on these excellent Hunt tubeless ready wheels. Considering how much the dynamo costs on its own, the price is excellent too. They might be a bit much for the odd night ride, but if you rack up the miles after dark they're an investment worth considering.
These wheels put in a near-faultless performance. They're a must for your list if you're looking into dynamo power.
Edco's Optima Roches are a tough set of wheels that are tubeless ready and compatible with SRAM, Campag 10/11 and Shimano 10/11-speed (yes, all of them). These wheels are built around Edco's own SuperG hubs, which are handmade in Edco's Swiss factory and guaranteed for a whopping eight years.
These are about as tough as they come, which is no mean feat for a pair of wheels that weigh 1,725g, have a low spoke count and spin up fast enough to enjoy sprints. Like a good wheel, they are stiff without rattling the fillings, making them perfect for any kind of riding that requires a fast wheel that will take a battering.
Just Riding Along's Gecko Carbon Wheels are impressive hoops that take on the constant knocks and vibrations the roughest gravel tracks can throw at them, while still being so light that they won't hamper your performance on the road. With a 1,400g weight (with the tubeless rim tape and valves fitted) and all the strength you could need, it's also pretty amazing that they come in at well under a grand.
Mavic's Ksyrium range has always had a good reputation for offering decent performance whatever your type of riding, and these aluminium alloy Pro UST Disc models further confirm this with a solid build quality and plenty of stiffness, all at a decent weight.
We haven't just used these wheels on the road, we've taken them onto gravel bridleways, towpaths and other rough tracks and they can take a kicking without their trueness being affected.
You can run the wheels tubeless with Mavic's own Yksion Pro UST tyres that come as part of the package.
This is an excellent full-carbon clincher wheelset. The build quality is high, they look great, perform really well and are pretty good value too.
Smooth and quiet, they gain speed quickly and continue at pace whatever the gradient. The buttery bearings and stiff construction make for controlled descending, but the Tokens are at their best on flatter, faster rides when the aero profile helps you bowl along at a good speed. Rough sections of tarmac are dealt with easily too, the wheels absorbing a reasonable amount of buzz and feeling composed,
Tubeless rim tape is already installed if you want to run them with the appropriate tyres.
Fast, light and wide, these tubeless carbon wheels offer excellent performance. They're superbly fast in a straight line and maintain excellent momentum when you're really pushing hard on the pedals. The rounded rim profile provides exceptionally good stability with little sign of buffeting even in the strongest gusts.
They're also tough and dependable, easily shrugging off bad road surfaces. We smashed into potholes and rode them along gravel tracks during testing and they took all the punishment with no sign of loose spokes or going out of true.
These tubeless-ready carbon-fibre wheels are aimed at meeting the demands of endurance bikes, combining speed with stability and comfort.
A disc brake specific 47mm deep clincher rim is optimised for 25 to 28mm tyres with hubs based on DT's proven 240 design, but wrapped in a new aero shell and rolling on ceramic bearings.
These wheels aren't cheap but they do provide a fantastic aero performance that excels in a wide range of conditions with the durability you'd expect at this price.
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Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.