In the cycling sport, consistently increasing attention is given to the performance limits. The wheel set is one of the main elements responsible for the quality of your racing bike, thus making it essential to know the qualitative differences between a product manufactured from aluminum and a full carbon rim.
Endurance: aluminum or carbon wheels?
When it comes to endurance, normally one thinks of the material in the strict sense. From this viewpoint, one could be led to say that an aluminum wheel is more durable than a carbon one. In reality, this type of reasoning is somewhat reductive, as carbon fiber and the manufacturing techniques applied nowadays allow to obtain an incredibly strong wheel even if made out of carbon fiber.
A different approach is necessary if we talk about endurance in relation to major impacts: it is necessary to specify that in the event of very strong impacts, wheels will need replacement in any case, as this could lead to stability issues whether the wheels are made of carbon or aluminum.
Contained weight: how to obtain the best performance?
We have seen how aluminum is, in itself, a light alloy, though quite durable. From this point of view, however, carbon fiber undoubtedly offers better performance: nowadays, the lightest wheels are made of full carbon, making them the most widespread solution at a professional level. Carbon, presently the lightest material for the manufacturing of cycling components, when used in wheels clearly decreases inertia while rotating. The result is a definitely better performing product.
Price: which solution is more advantageous?
From a strictly economical perspective, it is easy to say that an aluminum wheel is less expensive than one in carbon fiber, however this does not provide a sufficiently complete answer to the question.
Are you sure that a more economical product is always the most advantageous? That is not necessarily the case. As for all investments, before determining a real convenience, it is important to establish the needs that a product must satisfy.
From this point of view, a racing bike’s wheel should provide a certain type and level of performance, more or less high, in relation to your experience and your cyclist’s needs. If you are an amateur cyclist at the beginning of your activity, you may not be sure about committing to the purchase of high-level components, thus leaning more toward a lower initial expense. A more experienced cyclist, however, will hardly give up the performance of a higher-quality product, aware that an intensive use puts important components, like the wheels, to the test. Consequently, in this case, investing very little initially could result in some ways an economically disadvantageous choice.
Why should you want an always top-performing bike? Find it out in this article
Wheels for racing bikes: carbon vs aluminum, what to choose? Basically, the choice depends on what you expect from the new wheels. The best performance on the road, as previously said, is ensured by products made of carbon fiber which, though, start from a higher price (see Miura TS37 EVO below). If your need is to buy and “entry-level” product, then an aluminum wheel set can be the right answer instead (have a look at Athon).