Best Mountain Bike Wheels [Review] in 2021
written by Cycle expert Alex Bristol
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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 it will also give you a beer feel when riding.
However, you need to ensure that you are replacing them with top quality wheels that are reliable, durable, functional and sturdy. We understand that choosing the best wheels is not always an easy task. In this article, we shall reveal the best mountain bike wheels you can find today.
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
When it comes to performance, durability and reliability, Shimamo 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.
The most reliable
Allows different speeds
Quality and durable materials
Latest deal: Shimamo Mavic Cosmic
Stans no tube flow S1
Stans brings you a wheel set strong and sturdy enough to rip through any terrain while remaining lightweight, making pedaling easy and secure. The material used is aluminium which is durable and rust-free. The tyres have a wider rim width which allows you to install wide tyres. 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.
Lightweight and durable
Wide rim base for traction
Reinforced rims for impact protection
Latest deal: Stans no tube flow S1
26 Inch Mountain Bike Bicycle Wheels for Disc or Rim Brakes with Kenda Cobra
Comes as a pair
Double wall aluminum alloy
Available in different colors
Rims are not sealed or welded
Latest deal: Mountain Bike Bicycle Wheels
Fulcrum red fire 5 TR wheelset
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. The wide wheelbase allows for installation of wide tyres for better grip on the road. 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.
Metal alloy construction
Lightweight and sturdy
Wider wheel width
Lower rolling resistance
Seam in rims
Latest deal: Fulcrum red fire 5TR wheelset
MTB Mountain Bike Bicycle 26Inch Milling Trilateral Alloy
Suitable for rough terrains
2 Spare bladed spokes
Strong and light
Supports a tension force of 350 kilograms
They cannot take too much of abuse
Latest deal: MTB 26Inch Milling Trilateral Alloy
Mavic deemax pro wheelset
Maxtal is a super lightweight aluminium alloy that has been widely used in super trains and provides them with strength and durability on the track. The lightweight nature allows significant reduction in weight which improves speed and control. Mavic incorporates this material into their wheelset which bring out some of the best performance on the track. The traction and control in handling for this wheelset is outstanding. It maintains a sturdy and robust profile on every terrain and has a wide base for wider tyres. This massively improves grip on the ride while turning. The reinforced maxtal material will also not cripple on turns and sharp corners. The wheels are incredibly well-built and provide a tubeless ready system. If you are down for a satisfying and fun adventure, this product will make you happy.
Maxtal aluminium alloy
Super lightweight and strong
Great traction and handling
Latest deal: Mavic deemax pro wheelset
Vuelta Zerolite MTB Limited Edition 26” Hand Built MTB Wheelset
Prime Picked Item
Ideal for MTB enthusiasts
Only works with rim brakes
Latest deal: Vuelta Zerolite
Wheel Master 26” Alloy Mountain Disc, Double Wall
Best Value Item
Allows a speed of 8-10
Easy to replace
Features mountain holes which works with disc brake rotor
Not the best quality
Latest deal: Wheel Master
Mavic XA elite 29er boost wheelset
Mavic is back at it again with their XA elite wheelset offering maxtal for their rims, steel for their spokes and aluminium for their hubs. We have seen earlier that maxtal is a super lightweight and strong material used for ultimate performance and durability on the road. Combine that with reinforcements of steel and aluminium, and you get an amazing wheelset tough to beat. The wheels are robust and have minimal rolling resistance allowing your rides to be smooth and comfortable. With a wide wheelbase, you can install wide tyres for better road traction and grip. You get a mount for disc brakes and the freewheel system allows for instant acceleration and efficient climbing uphill. Overall, this is a great product for the price.
Maxtal and aluminium incorporation
Lightweight and strong
Mount for disc brakes
Spoke design could be better
Latest deal: Mavic XA elite 29er boost wheelset
Star Tru STW 26 X1.5 BO Silver Real Mountain Bike Wheel
Inadequate grease on the bearings
Latest deal: Star Tru
Spank FLARE vibrocore 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 shape on sharp and extreme turns. Alloy means it is also rust-free so you do not have to worry about washing the wheel. The rim has mount for disc brake and is tubeless tyre ready. This means you can install tubeless tyres and wide ones at that since the rims are also wide. This enables better road grip and traction. The wheel has an overall symmetric profile and will not disappoint.
Lightweight and strong
Tubeless tyre ready
Could use maxtal as material
Latest deal: Spank FLARE vibrocore front wheel
Crankbrothers cobalt 2
Crankbrothers knock it out of the park when it comes to customization and making the wheels look elegant and cool. The black and white contrast looks absolutely beautiful and stunning. Definitely stands out while riding and the youth will absolutely love it. The wheels use 6000 series aluminium which allows them to be lightweight and durable on the road. They are also rust-free so no more worries while washing them. The fast and smooth spinning cobalt hubs allow for a smooth, comfortable and friction-free rotation as you blast past your favorite terrain. Low rolling resistance combined with a wide wheelbase allow for better traction and grip while maintaining a satisfying experience. Overall, they bring a very personalized and fun riding experience.
6000 series aluminium
Lightweight and sturdy
Smooth spinning cobalt hubs
Spokes can be higher quality
Latest deal: Crankbrothers cobalt 3
Spank OOZY 345 boost hybrid front wheel
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. The material used is alloy which we know is lightweight and strong for rough rides. The reduction in weight allows for quick take offs. 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 is 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.
Lightweight and sturdy
Could use better quality spokes
Latest deal: Spank OOZY 345 boost hybrid front wheel
What to look for when buying the best mountain bike wheels?
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 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 the 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 came up with our list of top 9 mountain bike wheels
Searching for 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 product, we decided to compare different models and after a 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 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.
Does wheel weight matter?
Wheel weight matters a lot as 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 tyres stay inflated?
High pressure MTB tyres 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 quicker turns.
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.
However, if you are searching for a top quality mountain bike that will give you the best value for your money, Shimamo Mavic Continental 29er Wheels is absolutely the best. Unlike others, this one is made of heavy-duty materials which means that it lasts longer than other models. If the price is too high for you, then you can consider any other from the list since most of them are very cheap. Irrespective of your choice, we hope that this guide will be of great help when buying mountain bike wheels.
We looked at some of the best available wheels on the market for your mountain bike. Some had aluminium construction while others used a super lightweight maxtal construction which was super durable. All kept weight in high priority, keeping it light for quick take offs. The spokes used were made of stainless steel in some cases, not in all. All tyres provided wide wheelbases and low riding resistance which is very important when it comes MTB wheels. No matter which one you choose, you will absolutely love it.
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.