5 Best Road Bike Wheels Under 500 (March, 2023)

Updated on August 18, 2022

What to look for in a road bike wheel update that’ll slash your personal bests but won’t cost you a fortune Upgraded wheels are one of the easiest ways to give your bike a boost in performance.

Even a budget set can enhance speed and ride quality while also reducing weight on many standard bikes because they are a component that typically lags behind the rest of the construction.

Investing in a new set of wheels for around £500 is an excellent starting point because the price is reasonable but the wheel quality still is high enough to make a noticeable difference in performance.

But once you’ve selected your bike’s braking system, you’ll face a variety of challenges. Is it better to have a shallower rim for quicker acceleration or a deeper one for better aerodynamics?

In addition, do you desire additional characteristics such as tubeless compatibility, robust hubs, a sturdy construction, or a wider rim to accommodate larger tyres?

Before making a purchase, do your homework on the various features and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each.

You don’t have to do any of the homework yourself, since we’ve done it for you and compiled a list of the five best choices both for rim and disc brake bicycles under $500.

One of the quickest and most effective methods to increase your bike’s performance is to upgrade to the best driving bike wheels.

Your bike will feel like it’s gliding up a hill, and you’ll be able to maintain a steady speed on the flats thanks to a light yet rigid wheel. With a little elbow (or waterproof) grease here and there, high-quality hubs keep things running and, most importantly, keep the elements out.

Wheels that are the lightest in weight

The best tyres for road bikes

It’s more difficult than ever to pick the proper wheelset because of the wide range of alternatives available, such as varying depths of carbon or alloy rims, tubeless, clincher, and tubular tyre compatibility, disc or rim brakes, and quick release or thru-axle options.

If you’re in the market for new road bike wheels, we’ve put together a list of our favourites.

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Best Road Bike Wheels Under 500

1. Carbon Aero Disc 50 Hunt

Best road bike wheels for value

  • Weight: 1487g
  • Depth: 50mm
  • Width (internal): 21mm
  • Very good rolling speed
  • Wide internal rim width
  • Good looking
  • Good value
  • Susceptible to cross-winds
  • Slow to accelerate

The best wheels for road bicycles in terms of value.

This set of 50 carbon rims from Hunt is a fantastic deal for those looking to improve their wheels. With their 50mm rim profile, they are a touch thick but still look excellent. The company logo is clearly visible, yet it’s stylish.

The wide, 21mm internal rim width and tubeless-ready Continental GP5000 tyres nestled flat on the sides of these tubeless-ready Hunt wheels, as with all of Hunt’s wheel options. Hunt will even deliver them taped and with valves.

Tubeless wheels typically leak about 10psi per day, which is consistent with other tubeless wheelsets we’ve tested.

The Hunts completed 750 kilometres of testing in Calpe, Spain, where the hilly roads suited them well.

A 35kph / 21mph cruise was possible with these wheels, but the freehub buzz was deafening while you were coasting along at that speed. They aren’t the fastest out of the gate.

If you’re running bladed spokes or have a wheel depth of more than 40mm, you’re going to get a little bit of wind catching on the rims during long descents.

Our favourite road bike wheelset on the market is the Hunt 50, which weighs just 77 grammes per wheel, making it one of the lightest wheels on the market at this price point.

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2. Tubeless Zipp Firecrest Carbon Tubes

  • Weight: 1410g
  • Depth: 50mm
  • Width (internal): 25mm
  • Smooth ride
  • Low overall weight
  • Handle well in most conditions and terrain
  • Impact strength especially when sprinting/ high watts
  • Easy to set up
  • Excellent off road capabilities
  • Great price for performance wheels
  • Some noisy freehub clunk
  • Graphics can peel off after a time
  • Only works with 28mm+ tyres which are hookless compatible

In general, the best road bicycle wheels are suggested.
As a result of this, Zipp has shifted its focus to designing wheels that can be used with wide, tubeless tyres, and at low pressures. Because they have a 25mm internal width and are hookless, you must use tyres with a minimum pressure of 72 psi and a width of 28 mm or greater.

Because of the hookless design, your options for tyre brands are rather limited, but you should take it out for yourself before passing judgement, as we found the ride quality to be great and it to be one of the best road bike wheels you can buy right now.

The reduced tyre pressure does result in a softer ride, but this should not be mistaken for a slower one.

You’ll have an almost blood-like connection to your bike thanks to the smoother ride, and the wider rim profile gives you an incredibly balanced and confident ride. Under fact, even in severe wind conditions, we were able to attain 85km/h with them and they never gave a flap.

Because of their low rolling weight and 66-point hub teaming, these wheels take up quickly and can show a clean set of heels in any sprint.

The wheels really came out of their own after mounting a set of Tangente Course G40 gravel tyres on the rims. They only lost 2 psi on a 400-mile, three-day journey that included 50mm tyres.

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3. A Zero Carbon Fulcrum Db.

  • Weight: 1450g
  • Depth: 30mm
  • Width (internal): 19mm
  • Spoke count: 21 front and rear
  • Light for climbing
  • Hold speed well on the flat

Climbing in a lightweight manner
The Racing Zero Carbon DB have also won a Cycling Weekly Editor’s Choice award, proving that they are every bit as good as their rim brake counterparts (see rim brake wheelsets below).

Two-way fit technology allows the use of either clincher or tubeless tyres on the 30mm deep carbon rim disc brake.

A combination of their lightness and depth makes them excellent for climbing, descending, and riding full throttle on the flats. Any bike that you ride with Racing Zero Carbon DC will noticeably benefit from the addition of a set.

4. Ar30-D Cero

  • Weight: 1420g
  • Depth: 30mm
  • Width: 22mm
  • Low price for a good set of wheels
  • Lightweight option
  • Simple Tubeless Setup
  • Long term durability
  • Stiffness of alloy rim can translate to harsh ride at high tyre pressures

Over the course of about 2000 miles, I came to the conclusion that these wheelsets are highly well-rounded and reliable while also being adaptable.

With these rims, you’ll be able to traverse any type of terrain with ease.

Anyone searching for a set of wheels for their gravel bike, a set of wheel chocks for their racing machine, or simply somebody who doesn’t have the money to go down the carbon route should put them on their shopping list.

Cero has done it once again, undercut the big name brands with a no nonsense wheelset created in the UK and made for any terrain you throw at them, taking into account price point, performance, weight and longevity.

5. Cadex Wheel

  • Weight: 1501g
  • Depth: 65mm
  • Width (internal): 22mm
  • Innovative tech
  • Impressive power transfer
  • Low weight
  • Quality build
  • Expensive

Cadex, Giant’s high-end performance brand, is known for its high-quality components.

The carbon spokes and hookless bead construction of the Cadex 65s contribute to the wheelset’s exceptionally low weight of 1,502g for a 65mm deep wheel.

They come with their own set of tyres, which are made to function in conjunction with the wheels and may be inflated to extremely low pressures as necessary.

The robustness of the wheels surprised us, as did the low weight, which contributed to the vehicle’s quick ascent and acceleration.

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