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Unpack This: Pro-Level Carbon Road Wheels

Aero carbon wheels are the ultimate upgrade for any road bike. If you want WorldTour-level performance, then it's possible to ride the same Zipp, Reserve, and ENVE wheels the pros are riding. Just be prepared to drop some serious coin!

Written by: Bruce Lin

Published on:

Posted in:Road

If you want more speed on your road bike, the best upgrade after high-performance tires is carbon wheels. There are a few key reasons: 

  • Carbon is lighter than aluminum. Because wheels are rotating weight, reducing wheel weight improves acceleration.
  • Carbon is stiffer than aluminum. Stiffer wheels transfer more of your pedaling power to the ground. 
  • Carbon can be formed into more aerodynamic shapes. Carbon rims can be made deeper and wider without gaining too much weight. 

That’s a pretty basic overview, but it’s pretty much why every pro road cyclist races on carbon wheels. If you’re looking to upgrade your road bike, there are plenty of great budget carbon wheels on the market. If you want pro-level performance though, you can buy the same wheels that the best riders in the world are using. We break down three of the best all-rounder tubeless-ready disc-brake carbon road wheels on the market: the Zipp 303 Firecrest, Reserve 40/44, and ENVE SES 3.4. 

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Zipp 303 Firecrest Highlights

Zipp 303 Firecrest

Photo: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

[product-block handle="zipp-303-firecrest-carbon-tubeless-700c-front-wheel"/]

[product-block handle="zipp-303-firecrest-carbon-tubeless-700c-rear-wheel-hyperglide"/]

[product-block handle="zipp-303-firecrest-carbon-tubeless-700c-rear-wheel-xdr"/]

  • Ridden by Movistar WorldTour team
  • Made in USA
  • 40mm rim depth
  • 25mm internal rim width
  • Hookless bead
  • ABLC dimples 
  • Zipp ZR1 DB hubs
  • 1,352 grams
  • Lifetime warranty

Reserve 40/44 Highlights

Reserve 40/44 road wheelsPhoto: A.S.O./Pauline Ballet

[product-block handle="reserve-40-44-w-dt-swiss-240-hubs-carbon-tubeless-700c-wheelset"/]

  • Ridden by Jumbo-Visma WorldTour team - Wout van Aert, Jonas Vingegaard, and Primoz Roglic
  • 40mm (front) / 44mm (rear) rim depth
  • 25.5mm (front) / 25mm (rear) internal rim width
  • Hooked bead
  • DT Swiss 240 hubs
  • Internally reinforced spoke holes to strengthen the area around the spoke nipple
  • Fillmore tubeless valves - prevent sealant clogging and ease tubeless setup
  • 1,388 grams
  • Lifetime warranty

ENVE SES 3.4 Highlights

ENVE SES 3.4 carbon road wheels Tadej Pogacar Photo: A.S.O./Aurélien Vialatte

[product-block handle="2022-enve-ses-3-4c-tubeless-carbon-wheel-set-hg11"/]

[product-block handle="2022-enve-ses-3-4c-tubeless-carbon-wheel-set-xdr"/]

  • Ridden by UAE Team Emirates WorldTour team - Tadej Pogacar
  • Made in USA
  • 39mm (front) / 43mm (rear) rim depth
  • 25mm internal rim width
  • Wide Hookless Bead - prevents pinch flats
  • ENVE Alloy hubs
  • 1,398 grams
  • Lifetime warranty

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