Uncovering the Gains: Upgrading Your Gravel Bike Wheels from Aluminium to Carbon

In the world of cycling, one debate that often surfaces is the question of wheel material. This is especially true when it comes to gravel biking where the terrain can be unpredictable and the demands on the bike heavier. The primary contenders in this debate are aluminium and carbon wheels, each boasting its own set of advantages. Recently, however, there has been a growing trend among cyclists to upgrade their gravel bike wheels from aluminium to carbon. Let's delve deeper into this subject to understand the gains achieved by such an upgrade.

Strength and Durability

One significant advantage of carbon wheels is their improved strength and durability. Recent advances in construction techniques and materials have made carbon wheels robust enough for gravel and mountain bike riding. This is a substantial gain, considering the rough and rugged terrains that gravel bikes often traverse.

Weight Reduction

Carbon wheels are generally lighter than their aluminium counterparts. This weight reduction can result in a more responsive and "zippier" ride, which could potentially lead to increased speed and efficiency. A lighter bike can also reduce fatigue over long rides, making your gravel biking experience more enjoyable.

Ride Quality and Performance

Upgrading to carbon wheels can also enhance ride quality and performance. Carbon allows for higher spoke tension, resulting in a stiffer, more responsive feel. While aluminium wheels are known for their flex that helps absorb bumps, the stiffness of carbon wheels can provide better control and precision, particularly in hard corners when your tires are really biting.

Aesthetics and Sound

Let's not forget about the aesthetic appeal of carbon wheels and the distinctive sound they make. Depending on how deep they are, carbon wheels can produce a cool, satisfying sound that many cyclists love. Additionally, carbon wheels often feature sleek, modern designs that can give your gravel bike a more premium look.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

While the benefits of carbon wheels are clear, it's essential to consider the cost. Carbon wheelsets tend to be more expensive than aluminium ones. However, wheelsets like the NS Host offer a carbon upgrade for riders on a smaller budget.

So, upgrading your gravel bike wheels from aluminium to carbon can bring about several gains, including enhanced strength and durability, weight reduction, improved ride quality and performance, and aesthetic appeal.