Best Mountain Bike Wheels: Ride Further and Longer

Glide through trails and off-road terrain more efficiently with these top mountain bike wheels

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If you need new mountain bike wheels or just want to upgrade your bike’s look and style, we’ve got a few you should consider. Over time, wheels can get dented, dinged, or bent on the ride, and that may weaken them and make your next ride uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. If you want your bike to ride and look better, here are some of the best mountain bike wheels on the market.

  • Best Overall
    Mavic Rim 26er Mountain Bike Wheels with Disc Brake Shimano Hubs
    Summary
    Summary

    A robust and sturdy pair of 26-inch mountain bike wheels with durable alloy disc brakes.

    Pros
    Pros

    They come with a set of tough folding bead tires, stainless steel spokes, and are designed out of 6061 T6 aluminium. They also feature a double-wall clincher for additional protection.

    Cons
    Cons

    They are pricey compared to some competitors,  but you get two tires included with the price. 

  • Best Value
    Wheel Master 26” Alloy Mountain Disc Double Wall
    Summary
    Summary

    A solid and large 26-inch wheel that handles well at high speeds on any mountain terrain.

    Pros
    Pros

    The wheel attaches to the bike easily and quickly, it’s lightweight, and it features thick gauge spokes for improved comfort and ride.

    Cons
    Cons

    It is only sold as a single wheel and does not come included with a tire.

  • Honorable Mention
    Vuelta Zerolite MTB Limited Edition 26” Hand Built MTB Wheelset
    Summary
    Summary

    A stylish set of two 26-inch rims featuring wide and thick stainless steel black bladed spokes.

    Pros
    Pros

    The wheels are compatible with 8-, 9-, and 10-speed Shimano style cassettes. They rotate more quickly with less power to propel you further, and they spin smoothly and effectively.

    Cons
    Cons

    The decals are stickers that can be pulled off easily, the wheels are heavier than normal, and they do not come with tires.

Tips

  • You can tell a wheel is built for a mountain bike by its size. Wheels will generally start at around 24 inches and can run all the way up to 32 inches.
  • You know you need to upgrade your rims if you examine the design. Many wheels have a hole or groove that slowly vanishes when they wear down. If they do not have this, you can look at the surface of the rim to see if it has a concave depression.
  • The wheel can fit on two types of axles. You can tell them apart by the way they attach to the wheel. A quick-release skewer slides through the axle and uses a switch to clamp the wheel into place. A thru-axle uses a threaded hole to tighten down the wheel.

FAQs

Q: How can I tell if a tire will fit my bike?

A: Measure the clearance from the frame and fork, and compare it to the width of the rim. You can eyeball it, but using a ruler will help if you don’t have a wheel to work with. Also, check with the manufacturer to see if they have a sizing chart.

Q: Can I remove a bike’s wheels by myself?

A: Yes, you should be able to easily remove the wheels by undoing the clasps in the front and rear. Also, the tire should be simple to take off by deflating it first and then using a tire lever to remove the rubber.

Q: Do bike wheels have to be put in a certain way?

A: When mounting the wheels, make sure they are facing the correct way. While the front wheel can face either way, the rear wheel needs to face a certain way in order to function properly. You can find the correct way by noting which side of the wheel the drivetrain is on.

Final Thoughts

For a great set of mountain bike wheels that rotate smoothly and quickly, consider the Mavic Rim 26er Mountain Bike Wheels with Disc Brake Shimano Hubs.

Or you can check out the Master 26” Alloy Mountain Disc Double Wall, which is lightweight and features thick spokes for a better ride.