Best Mountain Bike Wheels [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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Are you looking for the best mountain bike wheels available?
Join the club. If you own a mountain bike, you need to upgrade some parts from time to time. Mountain bike wheels are among the most important components you will need to replace. This will not only boost the speed of your bike but will also give you a better ride quality.
However, you need to ensure that you are replacing them with top-quality wheels that are reliable, durable, functional, and sturdy which can be tough to fin if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
But don’t let all of that put you off, this is where we come in.
We’ve spent the last 8 hours comparing over fifteen products so we could narrow them down into a list of the best mountain bike wheels. We carefully compared a multitude of factors from durability to aesthetics so we could give an accurate answer as to which wheel is the best.
All of the products on this list are great and each has its own perks but if you want to head straight for the best then check out our top 3.
Now you’re up to speed. Let’s get started.
We’ve spent the time so you don’t have to:
Top 19 Mountain Bike Wheels
MAVIC COSMIC ELITE UST DISC FRONT WHEEL
Top Choice Item
Our top pick is the MAVIC COSMIC ELITE. this wheel is something of a hidden gem but it’s easily the best on this list.
When it comes to performance, durability, and reliability, the Mavic Cosmic is undeniably the best. Even from the appearance, you can clearly see that it is made of strong materials which makes it ideal for all terrains.
It also comes with black spokes which are made of stainless steel. Again, it comes with an aluminum alloy and smooth ball bearings. The wheel allows different speeds such as 7, 8, 9, and 10. Plus, its high quality is matched with a fair price of $270. This is worthy of taking the top spot for the best mountain bike wheels.
So, what are you waiting for? Add it to your basket while it’s still available.
The most reliable
Allows different speeds
Quality and durable materials
Latest deal: Mavic Cosmic
Stans No Tube Flow S1
Coming in at number 2 is the Stans no tube flow S1.
Stans bring you a wheelset strong and sturdy enough to rip through any terrain while remaining lightweight, making pedaling easy and secure. The material used is aluminum which is durable and rust-free.
The tires have a wider rim width which allows you to install wide tires. This enables better grip on the road and allows for better traction as well. The spokes of the wheel are easily replaceable, and the reinforced rims provide great impact resistance for extreme situations.
The wheels have been tested on Red Bull Rampage and on multiple World Cup DH seasons which gives you extra confidence on the track. This is an amazing product and you will be thoroughly satisfied.
Now, let’s take a look at the reviews. One customer said “Nice wheelset for the money. Beads up nicely and holds air!” However, our favorite review was from this happy customer “having a blast. Tires easy to mount, and hubs are rolling fine. – Thanks chain reaction”
Now, that’s hard to argue with. Check these out, you won’t regret it.
Lightweight and durable
Wide rim base for traction
Reinforced rims for impact protection
Latest deal: Stans no tube flow S1
Wheel Master 29er
Onto a more budget-friendly option, the wheel master 29er is a fantastic choice if you need a wheel replacement.
These wheels are strong and should be able to take more of a beating than your average wheel. Plus, the hubs are low-end Non-seal bearing.
The wheel is 29 inches and each one is checked by hand. For just $83 these are a bargain and don’t sacrifice quality like other cheaper tires on the market do.
But what have others said?
Well, this happy customer complimented the tire for its “fine quality, made in the USA which is a plus, had all parts switched over and mounted within 5 minutes, will recommend this product to others.” While another kept their thoughts short and sweet with “Top notch quality!! Light and good looking rim”
This is easily one of the best mountain bike wheels if you’re on a budget. So get it now!
Checked by hand
Made in USA
Sturdy and durable
One customer reported that the valve hole wasn't filed
Latest deal: Wheel Master 29er
Fulcrum red fire 5 TR wheelset
And at number four we have the Fulcrum red fire wheelset.
The design speaks a lot on a mountain bike and fulcrum makes sure their wheels stand out by providing a red and black contrast with their set.
The unique style looks clean and elegant on the bike. The alloy construction allows for a durable, sturdy, and lightweight experience while the wide wheelbase allows for the installation of wide tires for better grip on the road.
And that’s not all.
It also improves impact resistance as the wheels will not cripple on sharp and extreme turns. Lower rolling resistance combined with better traction on the track will enable a better and smoother uphill as well as downhill ride.
The wheels have a nice profile and will see you through a long time. Overall, an amazing product for the price and one we wholeheartedly recommend to anyone who really wants to up their game when it comes to trail riding.
Metal alloy construction
Lightweight and sturdy
Wider wheel width
Lower rolling resistance
Seam in rims
Latest deal: Fulcrum red fire 5TR wheelset
Star Tru STW 26 X1.5 BO Silver Real Mountain Bike Wheel
Next up is the Sta-Tru wheel.
To boost durability, this wheel is made of high-quality materials. It is also tested for durability which means that you won’t need to replace it anytime soon. While this isn’t the highest quality wheel on this list it does the job and what more could you want?
Also, note that the rim is made of aluminum which has a width of 265mm. Again, they have 36 holes which makes them sturdy and durable. They’re also very lightweight and only weigh 2.25 pounds only.
Onto the reviews.
This wheel has a 4-star rating on Amazon and has a ton of positive feedback. Here’s an example: “If you simply need a replacement wheel this will do the job without making you feel like you wasted your money.” And at just over $60 bucks we can understand where they’re coming from. It’s a great price but you won’t be getting a top-of-the-range tire.
Check it out. This might just be what you need.
Inadequate grease on the bearings
Latest deal: Star Tru
Spank FLARE vibrocore front wheel
Let us introduce you to the Spank Flare front wheel.
Spank uses alloy for their vibrocore front wheel which enables lightweight riding. The wheel is sturdy and well-built for rough terrains going downhill on the most insane and unpredictable tracks.
The impact protection allows the wheel to maintain the shape on sharp and extreme turns. Alloy means it is also rust-free so you do not have to worry about washing the wheel.
Wait, it gets better.
The rim has a mount for disc brake and is tubeless tire ready. This means you can install tubeless tires and wide ones at that since the rims are also wide which enables better road grip and traction. The wheel has an overall symmetric profile and will not disappoint.
So, why wait? Get it now!
Lightweight and strong
Tubeless tyre ready
Could use maxtal as material
Latest deal: Spank FLARE vibrocore front wheel
Spank OOZY 345 boost hybrid front wheel
Last but not least we have an entry that’s easily a contender for the best mountain bike wheels.
If simplicity is your style, you have come to the right place as spank offers you a minimal approach to a front wheel for your MTB.
The minimal branding speaks to the audience as it looks clean and elegant and the material used is an alloy that we know is lightweight and strong for rough rides. Plus, the reduction in weight allows for quick take-offs.
But by now you should know that’s not all there is.
It is also rust-free so no more corrosion while washing the wheel. The wheel can withstand bumps easily and can take on sharp corners without problems.
It’s also tubeless-ready, and the wide wheelbase allows for better traction and grip on the road. Low rolling resistance enables comfortable and effortless pedaling.
Overall, this is an amazing product for the price and definitely deserves its place on this list for the best mountain bike wheels.
Lightweight and sturdy
Could use better quality spokes
Latest deal: Spank OOZY 345 boost hybrid front wheel
Mountain Bike Wheels – A Buyer’s Guide
Price – Some of these wheels can run you up a lot of money. At this point, you need to pay attention to the material that is used in the wheel. If you are not getting maxtal while paying a premium of close to a thousand dollars, no need to get that product. There are always better more inexpensive alternatives available to you.
Quality – This comes down to the material used again. A 6000 series aluminum build will be good. A 7000 series will be even better, but the best option is maxtal. It is a super strong and lightweight material used in super trains. Some wheel companies for MTBs are also incorporating it into their products. Go for it if you can.
Profile and resistance – Wheels with a low profile and low rolling resistance allow for a better overall riding experience. This is because a low profile allows you to stay close to the ground and a low rolling resistance will enable you to pedal effortlessly.
Factors To Consider When Buying Mountain Bike Wheels
Types of spokes– If you will be using the bike frequently, then you need to look for one with many spokes. However, the spokes should not be so many if you will be using it occasionally. You also need to consider your weight which means that if you are heavy, a bike with many spokes will be the most ideal.
Tubed vs Tubeless – A tubeless tire means that it does not have an inner tube. The good thing about these wheels is that are resistant to puncture and they also lower the air pressure. As a result, they provide smooth rides and better control. However, they are not easy to fit.
Terrain – You also need to think of the terrain where you will be riding the bike. Some bike wheels are specially made for specific terrains like downhill, mountain, cross-country while others are made for rocky terrains.
Brake attachment and rim width– You will also need to consider the brake system in your bike. You should be aware that some wheels are designed for disc brakes which means that they do not have a braking surface. In terms of width, most of the wheels have a diameter of between 19mm-24mm. A wheel with a wide rim provides better support. Also remember to check the material plus the size of the rim since they can also affect the speed of your bike.
Size-Bike wheels are available in different sizes. The common ones have 26 inches. These ones work perfectly with many riders but they do not do well in muddy areas. Their spare parts are affordable and easy to find.
- 27.5 Inches Wheels- These ones are suitable for tough terrains. However, they are not the best for short riders.
- 29 Inches Wheels – 29 inches wheels have better traction as compared to the rest. Since they are not common, their spare parts are not easy to find.
When Should You Buy New Mountain Bike Wheels?
When buying a mountain bike, you normally buy it together with the wheels. However, these wheels may not last which means that you will require to replace them. Below are major reasons why you should purchase mountain bike wheels.
Weight – You may realize that the wheels that are on your mountain are too heavy. To prevent discomfort, you will need to replace them with lightweight models. The good thing is that most of the wheels on the market today are lightweight and durable.
Size– You may buy a mountain bike only to realize that the wheels are too big or too small for you. Instead of taking the bike back, the best thing would be to look for wheels that match your requirements in terms of size.
Rim profile– Mountain bikes are made for different terrains. However, at times you may need to change terrains or use the bike for a specific purpose like cross-country or hill climbing. This means that you will look for suitable wheels that suit the terrain.
Tubeless– The good thing about wheels that does not have tubes is that they rotate faster which makes them suitable for rough terrains.
How We Formed This List
Searching for a mountain bike wheel today is one of the hardest things most cyclists go through. This is because there are so many models and they all have different features. To save you from frustrations that come after buying unreliable products, we decided to compare different models and after thorough research, we came up with the above products. The first thing we did was to compare the most outstanding features that a good mountain bike should have. We considered various factors like the number of spokes, size, and materials.
We also checked the price to ensure that the products we have picked are budget-friendly. Apart from that, we tried to check the products from various online stores so that we could check what customers were saying about them. As you can see from the links we have included, all the products are top-rated on Amazon. This means that you can pick any of them without any worry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does wheel weight matter?
Wheel weight matters a lot like a lightweight set of wheels will allow an overall lightweight mountain bike. This will help you reach higher speeds quickly. Uphill, wheel weight doesn’t matter a lot.
How long should MTB tires stay inflated?
High-pressure MTB tires should be inflated once every weak depending on the use. If it is excessive then checking the pressure before leaving your house is advised.
Do lighter wheels improve ride quality?
Lighter wheels will help in a more responsive experience. You will feel more in control and will be able to make quick turns.
Do MTB wheels make a difference?
Yes, wheels make a difference. Look into lighter tires and going tubeless. MTB wheels have much better grip and durability so they can take a beating on the harsher trails.
Are carbon mountain bike wheels worth it?
Lightweight carbon wheels make a bike feel snappy and easier to get up to speed. They can help you climb faster and save energy on long rides. Many riders, even novices, can actually feel the difference when riding lighter wheels and it’s the easiest way to feel a significant difference in weight on your bike.
How long do mountain bike wheels last?
It all depends on how often you ride but the average life expectancy should be around 1-2 years. Mountain bike tires will typically last for 3,000 to 8,000 miles. If you use the mountain bike on trails with sharp rocks and roots, expect the lifespan to drop radically to perhaps 1,000 miles.
And that’s the best mountain bike wheels.
If you have been thinking of replacing your mountain bike wheels, you should consider any from those we have reviewed. They are all reliable, durable and are built to withstand different conditions. Since they come with different features, their price also varies.
We looked at some of the best available wheels on the market for your mountain bike. Some had aluminum construction while others used a super lightweight maxtal construction which was super durable. All kept the weight in high priority, keeping it light for quick take-offs.
The spokes used were made of stainless steel in some cases. All tires provided wide wheelbases and low riding resistance which is very important when it comes to MTB wheels.
Whichever trail riding mountain bike wheels you decide on though, make sure they fit you and your bike’s needs. And if you’re still struggling with your search then check out our other guide on the best mountain bike tires.
Content Manager at Pedallers
Alex is a cycling expert at and focuses on reviewing bikes, accessories, and general cycling. He searches for the most up to date products that match the needs of cyclists across the world. Whether it's recent news or the best bike set-ups, Alex is a trusted source for anything around cycling.