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Upgrading Your Wheels What to Choose

There comes a time for every rider, a time when you’re sitting at home wondering what to upgrade on your bike. You want something that’s going to make the difference, take the weight down, make you faster. Presuming you’ve bought a frame or bike from us - if not, why not? - you’ll already have the most solid starting point, but there’s a secret that we all learn, that frame and groupset can only do so much, it’s time to bite the bullet, turn your mind to bearings, freehubs and rim diameters, and just succumb to the fact you need some new wheels.

Unfortunately this is where the hard work starts, or the fun bit depending on how you’re inclined. There’s so much to consider when finding the perfect match and more criteria to meet than a UCI controlled substance list. It’s a minefield, and we know how tough it can be when every company is out there boasting about shaving milliseconds off your PB’s, we know - we’ve heard it all, and probably said it all too. But there is something in it, and we have nothing but the upmost confidence in the quality of both construction and performance in our wheels, be it for training, racing or generally just blitzing around town.

The one question you're bound to ask yourself when you start delving deeper into things is if you want clinchers or tublular. We recommend that everyone have a go at riding tubulars at some point, but the safety net of clinchers can't be misunderestimated. To help you decide what wheel is right for you we've put together a brief, but hopefully helpful, breakdown to help you make an informed decision.

Tubular

The racers choice - tubulars are both lighter and faster, yet also more expensive and more difficult to change. However, things are changing in the practicality of tubs, thanks to the availability of decent quality tub tape you changing tyres at the side of the road is actually a lot easier than you think, and the need for glue is left to your discretion. We still like to glue ours for peace of mind and because we enjoy the process. That's the thing you see, tubulars attract loyal followers who chatter on about ride quality, speed and performance benefits.

Track riders use them for their ability to run on extremely high pressures, and 'cross riders too, yet for the opposite reason, as they frequently run theirs down to 20psi. Even the cheapest tubs are both lighter, stronger and faster, thanks to increased TPI (threads per inch) and much lower rolling resistance. Top end tubulars are often of the handmade silk variety and carry a price tag that some people would spend a on a whole wheelset, but the bottom line is, if you race, get tubulars

Clincher

The practical choice - clinchers are perfect for everyday use, be it commuting or training. We all use clinchers, they're by far the most versatile wheel choice, there's something reassuring about going out for a ride safe it the knowledge that with a mini-pump, tube and tyre lever, you will rarely have a problem. On the other hand clincher wheels and tyres are heavier, noticeably so in many cases, for instance, our CT45 clinchers are around 400g heavier than the tubular version. But that's to be expected in a race primed wheelset, and weight is not an area where clinchers come into their own. It's purely about flexibility and durability whilst on the road.

Clincher performance is improving all the time, treads are getting grippier, weights are tumbling, puncture protection increasing. This is clearly seen in the sharp rise of clinchers in competition usage, especially visible in tri and Ironman circles where clinchers are often favoured above their tubular counterparts. Clinchers also represent fantastic value for money, as decent tyres can be bought for sometimes a quarter of the price of tubs, and instead of having to change a whole tyre when you flat, you can just swap out the tube and be on your way.

Carbon Or Alloy Rims?


Once you've decided which tyres are going to be best for you it's time to turn your attention to your rims. Are you going to settle for a set of narrow profile alloy rims or are you going to take advantage of the aero benefits offered by a deep profile set of aero wheels. At Planet X we know it's a game of horses for courses.  Alloy and carbon rims are available in both narrow and deep section profiles. We love alloy rims for their low cost and hard wearing braking surfaces. We love carbon rims for their lightweight and ease of being shaped in winning aero profiles. If you want the fastest set of deep profile carbon TT and triathlon wheels then you simply have to go for carbon rims. Our Planet X 50/50 and Planet X 60/90 carbon wheels set the standards for race day carbon wheels, they are incredibly lightweight and offer a huge slice of aero performance. If you're on a bit more of a budget then our CT45 carbon clincher wheelset matches alloy rim with carbon fairing for the best of both worlds on a budget.

If you want a sporty set of wheels but don't want to have to chop and change according to wind conditions and the prevailing gradient of your bike ride then we have a huge range of narrow section , alloy race wheels from Campagnolo and Fulcrum. The Fulcrum Racing Sport wheels offer dependable quality at a bargain price while their top flight Fulcrum Racing Zero Nite wheels bring the most advance rim surface treatment technology together with Fulcrum's ceramic bearings and triple milled rim design to deliver incredible lightweight performance, breathtaking acceleration and predictable handling and braking under all conditions. choose the ones that are right for the way you ride.

Luckily for you we stock a wide range of carbon clinchers, tubulars and deep and narrow profiled wheels so you can make the decision for yourself. Consider how you're going to use them, consider the balance between performance and practicality, and you won't go far wrong.