Are Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels Worth it?

Are you considering upgrading your mountain bike wheels? If so, you’re not alone. Wheels are one of the most important components on a MTB, and can make a big difference in how your bike rides.

But are expensive wheels worth the investment? In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what makes a good MTB wheel, and help you decide if upgrading is the right decision for you.

Do Mountain Bike Wheels Make a Difference?

A lot of people say you should spend a significant chunk of your bike budget on your wheels. But how much value can they really add? And is it enough to justify the price tag?

The answer: It depends.

For some riders, spending more than $1,000 on a set of wheels is an easy decision. For others, shelling out that kind of money for something that doesn’t even include a frame seems crazy.

So before you go blowing hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on rims and spokes, let’s take a look at what’s required to make cheap and expensive mountain bike wheels and see how they compare in terms of performance and durability.

Difference Between Cheap & Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels

The main difference between cheap and expensive mountain bike wheels is the materials that they are made from. Cheap mountain bike wheels are typically made from aluminum, while expensive mountain bike wheels are usually made from carbon fiber.

Carbon fiber bike wheels are becoming more and more popular with cyclists because they offer a number of advantages over traditional aluminum bike wheels. Some of the key benefits of carbon fiber bike wheels include:

  • They’re lightweight, which makes them easier to pedal and accelerate.
  • They’re aerodynamic, which means they cut through the air more easily and help you to ride faster.
  • They’re strong and durable, so they can withstand even the most strenuous rides.
  • They’re corrosion resistant, so they won’t rust no matter how bad the weather gets.

So, if you’re looking for a fast and lightweight set of wheels, carbon fiber is definitely the way to go.

Another difference is the weight of the wheel. Cheap mountain bike wheels tend to be heavier than expensive mountain bike wheels. This is because cheaper materials are used to make them, which makes them less durable but also easier and cheaper to produce.

Finally, there is the matter of spokes. More expensive mountain bike wheels typically have more spokes than cheaper ones, as this makes them stronger and more durable.

Are Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels Worth it?

Yes. More expensive mountain bike wheels are usually worth the investment. They often have better construction and materials than cheaper models, which can result in a smoother ride, longer lifespan, and less wear and tear on your bike.

If you’re looking for a set of wheels that will last for years and take your mountain biking to the next level, then it may be worth spending a little extra on top-quality models.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, so it’s important to do your research before buying new wheels for your mountain bike. Talk to other riders or read online reviews to get an idea of what’s available in your price range and what will best suit your needs.

While it’s common sense that pricier goods usually equate to better materials and construction, there are some exceptions.

Expensive mountain bike wheels can often be overkill for average riders who aren’t doing tons of downhill or jumping on their bikes. These folks will do just fine with cheap alloy wheelsets or even cheap hybrid wheels. Expensive mountain bike wheels should be considered by serious riders who want extra speed, improved braking power or better overall durability out of their wheels.

So, why would anyone buy an expensive mountain bike wheels?

Expensive wheels are expensive for a reason, mainly the process behind making them. Expensive wheels are stronger, lighter and stiffer than their cheaper counterparts.

So why not just buy the cheapest wheels available?

Expensive wheels will last twice as long as cheap ones because they are lighter, don’t need truing as often and also look nicer. The money you save on buying cheap wheels will cost you when it comes to replacing them more often.

So when should I upgrade my wheels?

If your wheels are in need of replacement, or you have just upgraded to a carbon frame, then it would be wise to invest in quality wheels. They’re not all created equally so choose wisely rider!

What to Consider When Buying Expensive Mountain Bike Wheels

There are a few things to consider when choosing new wheels. Firstly, what’s your riding style like? Are you constantly jumping off of ledges or smashing through rock gardens at high speeds? If so, you might want stiffer and/or stronger wheels. If on the other hand, you are more of an XC rider who likes to pedal every inch of the trail then lighter would be better suited for you.

As with any purchase that entails a large investment, it’s important to do your homework before buying expensive mountain bike wheels.

Talk to other riders and read up on online reviews before you make a decision. Expensive wheels might be more durable, but that’s not always the case; if you want something that will last and provide excellent performance without an exorbitant price tag, do the legwork to find out which brands and models fit your needs.

Your budget

Your budget will determine the maximum amount of money you can spend on your wheelset. You should decide how much money you are willing to spend and stick to it. Set a limit before you start looking around, don’t forget that sometimes it can be better to save more money and get a really good wheelset at the end.


You want to build your dream bike, not carry around an extra 5 lbs. Don’t even try to find the lightest MTB wheelset.

There are plenty of options if you look for them, but your best bet will be carbon fiber, which is great because it can significantly reduce the weight of your entire bike, but comes with a higher price tag.

What matters most is that you have high quality, durable materials that can resist impacts and harsh conditions. Plus the wheels you settle for should be able to take some abuse from heavy riders without wearing out too quickly.

Wheel Durability

There are so many options available on the market that it might feel overwhelming for one set of wheels!

There are brands that are widely known for their durable, strong components, like Shimano or DT Swiss. There are also popular brands that manufacturers often use as a benchmark to compare the quality of their own products: Mavic , Hope Technology or Formula.

You can’t go wrong with any of these reputable companies. If you have some more money saved up, consider looking at carbon fiber options; they are more expensive but will really reduce the overall weight of your bike .


This is an important factor to consider when buying new mountain bike wheels. Make sure that you find compatible tires before purchasing the wheelset.

The width should be clearly indicated on both your current tire and wheel rim, otherwise look online to see what others recommend. Your current tire size might limit your options, but you should be able to find the perfect ones for your bike.

Should I buy a complete wheelset or individual parts?

This will depend on how much money you are willing to spend, what type of riding you intend to do and what kind of pedals you use (flat, clipless).

The most popular option is using Shimano hubs with Mavic rims. You can always replace the rim with another compatible one, so it’s possible to upgrade without buying an entire wheelset .

You might want to purchase certain parts separately if you only need one component at this time, but don’t forget that these components can wear out quickly depending on how often your ride and where. Some MTB riders opt for even cheaper components, like the hubs and spokes. They only recommend using quality rims and good quality tires.

Hub type

There are two ways to build wheels : with and without a freehub. This refers to the part of the hub on which you attach your cassette.

Your cassette contains all your gears for your bike and they can be changed as needed for different terrain.

Freehubs have a ratcheting mechanism that ensures that as soon as you pedal forward, it shifts into gear. Some riders prefer this option because they don’t have to think about shifting gears every time they come to an incline or decline in the trail, instead they can focus on riding more efficiently and safely. The downside is more moving means greater chances of breaking down, especially on rougher trails.

Freehub , cassettes and gears

While most hubs of this type are compatible with Shimano cassettes, only some can pair with SRAM . This is something to consider when choosing a new MTB wheelset. You might want to ask yourself what kind of riding you plan on doing and see which system will be the most practical for your needs.

Wheel size

There are three dimensions that matter when it comes to wheel diameter : 26″, 27.5″ and 29″. They have different advantages depending on terrain or difficulty level you prefer, so take your time deciding if you really need those bigger tires or not. It’s always better to have too big of a tire than too small one, so consider upgrading to a bigger wheel size if you feel the need for it.

How do I maintain my expensive wheels to ensure they don’t break?

Most importantly, always use tubeless tires. Second, have your wheels trued regularly. Thirdly, make sure to avoid rocks and other sharp objects that could cause damage. Lastly, get a good warranty for peace of mind.

Be sure not to get overly confident in using your new wheels either! Although they are strong, chances are eventually you will get a puncture or crack the rim because no matter how much money you spend on your bike it still weighs 50lbs! Always take caution when riding.

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