Best Road Wheels for Big Riders

Cyclists who weigh more on the heavy side - around 200 - 300lbs, typically have trouble finding aerodynamic wheel sets which don't buckle under their extra weight and power. In this article I will discuss what qualities you should be looking for in an aero wheel fit for bigger riders, and will review some affordable aero wheels to determine which is the most durable, affordable, and best value wheelset.

What Makes a Durable Wheel Set?

There's a few characteristics which work together to result in a heavy duty and durable wheels fit for heavier riders:

  • Spoke Count: The marketing trend lately is to sell bikes with lower spoke counts. However for larger or more aggressive riders, you would typically want spoke counts in the 30s, as more spokes will work in conjunction to handle the weight of the rider. Try going for 32/32 at a minimum. 
  • Spoke Weight/Durability: Heavy spokes will withstand more pressure and increase the longevity of your wheels.
  • Wheel Material: Bigger riders should aim for aluminum wheels versus carbon as they are much stronger and will withstand more abuse. Steel should generally be avoided as it adds to much weight and can have a negative effect on performance.
  • Spoke Design: Having spokes thinner in the middle vs the end allows for more flex in the middle of the spoke and least flexing in the end where the spoke is the weakest.
  • Tires: Tubeless tires are preferred for bigger cyclists as otherwise traditional tubed tires may cause pinch flats which is when the tire compresses against the rim, causing a puncture. 
  • Rims: Wide, deeper rims will be more supportive than the alternative

Best Wheels for Heavy Riders

Below are the 4 wheels we feel are the best for supporting the extra pressures brought on by heavier users:

ROL SLR Clincher Wheel

  • Recommended ride height of 240lbs
  • 1,595 grams
  • Hand Built
  • 24 Spoke front / 28 spoke rear
  • Supports 9/10/11 speed cassettes
  • 27 mm rim


This wheelset comes with four more Sapim CX Ray spokes per wheel as it's little brother the Race SL alloy clincher wheelset. This means that it is more resilient and can handle more aggressive or largers riders, or more abusive terrain.

These custom made wheels support 9/10/11 speed cassettes, and provide incredible stiffness and aerodynamics

Vuelta Corsa HDS

  • Supports riders weighing up to 300 lbs
  • 30 mm deep rim
  • 36 Spokes, laud in 3-cross
  • 8/9/10 speed spacer for older cassette patterns


Mavic Ksyrium Elite UST

  • Double butted steels spokes; which are incredibly durable
  • Tubeless Design
  • Virtually Indestructible Rim

ROL D'Huez Road Bike Clincher

  • Recommended weight is 242lbs
  • SAPIM CX-RAY spokes
  • Wider rim for improved tire performance
  • Tube-less tire compatibility
  • Very Stiff and stable wheels
  • Lightweight at 1,478 grams
  • Supports 9/10/11 speeds

Conclusion

In our opinion there are a few factors that a heavier or more aggressive rider needs to consider when purchasing a wheel set that can last them a long time. These would include a strong aluminum frame coupled with a high spoke count, tubeless tires, and a wide rim. In addition to having these features, our recommended wheel set must be positively tested and be backed by a reputable and high quality company. 

One company stands out among the rest; ROL wheels. We are impressed by both the D'Huerte Wheel and SLR Clincher and recommend both as aero wheel sets fit for heavy and/or aggressive riders.

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