The benefits of specific wheels for gravel bikes
Gravel cycling is without a doubt the fastest growing trend among cycling enthusiasts. Do you like to explore terrains that go off the paved roads? Let's pick a gravel bike and you won't be disappointed. However to fully enjoy this activity, having the right equipment is essential. And that of course includes specific wheels for gravel cycling. In this article we'll explore the benefits of using these specific gravel cycling wheels and exactly inform why they're worth investing in.
First of all, let's answer the question: what is gravel cycling?
Gravel cycling can be described as a perfect combination of road cycling and mountainbiking. The rides are very varied, alternating between paved roads and unpaved terrain. Gravel bikes use a specific design, both in terms of frame geometry and the way the components are adapted to erratic conditions to meet almost any challenge.
In terms of looks, at first glance a gravel bike looks more like a road bike. This is mainly due to the curved handlebars. If you zoom in on the construction of the frame you quickly see that a gravel bike has a character of its own. Also the wheels, with the width of the rim as main difference differ to those of road bikes or mountain bikes.
What are specific wheels for gravel cycling?
Before diving into the benefits, let's first define what specific wheels for gravel cycling are. Gravel wheels are wheels that are designed for use on rough, unpaved and unpredictable terrains. They have wider rims and they offer the posibility to mount wider tires than most road bike wheels, which provide better stability, control and comfort on gravel roads. Even up to 60 mm!
This is why specific gravel wheels matter
This is best explained by answering the question: can I use my regular road bike wheels for graveling? The answer is very simple: yes you can. You can fit road bike wheels to a gravel bike and use them for cycling on gravel and other unpaved terrain. But specific gravel wheels provide more stability, control, traction and comfort on this unpaved terrain.
The benefits of gravel wheels step by step
1. Enhanced Stability and Control
One of the main benefits of specific wheels for gravel cycling is enhanced stability and control. Gravel roads can be unpredictable and bumpy, making it challenging to maintain balance and control. However, specific wheels designed for this type of terrain have wider rims which can handle wider tires, providing a larger contact patch with the surface. This results in increased stability and control allowing riders a smoother ride through gravel and other unpaved roads.
2. Increased Traction
Another advantage of specific wheels for gravel cycling is increased traction. Gravel roads can be slippery and unpredictable, and the right wheels can make a significant difference in how well you can grip the road. Mounting wider tires on gravel wheels provide more surface area resulting in better traction, even on loose gravel.
3. More Comfortable Ride
Gravel roads can be rough and uncomfortable, but specific wheels designed for this type of terrain provide a more comfortable ride. The wider rims with wider tires will absorb shock and vibration, reducing the impact on the rider's body. This results in a smoother ride, allowing you to enjoy your adventure without feeling every bump and jolt.
4. Better Durability
Gravel roads can be harsh on wheels, causing wear and tear over time. However, specific wheels for graveling are built to withstand the rough terrain making them more durable than regular road bike wheels. This means you can ride longer and harder without worrying about damaging your wheels.
FFWD's range of specific gravel wheels
The FFWD DRIFT: our number one, without any doubt.
The DRIFT is a 100% gravel addict. With completely to gravel cycling dedicated specifications, the DRIFT is the most versatile model in the FFWD collection. The 24 mm (inside) wide rim is suitable for gravel tyres up to 60 mm and the use of extra strong spokes make the DRIFT extremely robust and durable. Despite this, the DRIFT still manages to record a very low weight of just 1515 grams for a pair of wheels.
The FFWD TYRO: a great second choice, but less versatile in tyre width.
For those who thinks the TYRO is a model only suitable for riding on paved roads, you got that wrong. You can effortlessly mount gravel tyres up to a width of 44 mm on the beautiful high carbon rims.
The FFWD OUTRIDE: the most economical option.
No carbon rims over here but definitely the quality and great characteristics you would expect from FFWD. All at an unbeatable price level. The OUTRIDE with tubeless-ready aluminum rims is one of the all-rounders in the FFWD collection and feels at it's best on any terrain. Are you looking for a set of gravel wheels within a price-friendly range, and a width of 40 mm suits you well? Then the OUTRIDE will be the perfect choice for your gravel bike.
In conclusion, specific wheels for gravel cycling are a must-have for anyone who loves to explore off-the-beaten-path terrains. They provide enhanced stability and control, increased traction, a more comfortable ride and offer a better durability than regular road bike wheels. Even when they may be expensive, the benefits they provide are well worth the investment. So if you're planning your next gravel cycling adventure, make sure you have the right equipment. Including specific wheels designed for this type of terrain.