Wheelsets, like a good pair of shoes, have to be great. They need to be able to do precisely what you need them to—they need to be able to do exactly what you bought them to do.
Of course, much of this will depend on your exact needs, and while you can probably chug along and get by using one that’s been crafted from the flimsiest of materials—i.e., one that looked ugly, won’t last very long, and is an overall pain to ride—the fact is that you really shouldn’t settle for anything less than what you need, especially if you have the budget for it.
In other words, you need to get the best single speed wheelset you can afford for your bike. And be wary of those who will suggest otherwise, or those who will suggest that a particularly inferior product “will do.” After all, there is more to wheelsets than being circular and being able to spin round and round to get you from point A to point B, so you don’t want to simply chug along and get by with a cheapo wheelset that will break when you least expect it to.
You want something good, something comfortable, something that will last and provide marginal and noticeable gains for the additional price.
And, since this topic can be moderately confusing, we’ve decided to write this article so people like you—yes, you!—can be informed about the many options on offer.
So sit back, relax, calm your plebeian mind, and read on to get guided accordingly as to the best single speed wheelsets available on the market today.
We like State Bicycle Co. They are definitely a notch above most in terms of quality, despite being very affordable. They also come with a nylon rim strip that protects the tubes from getting punctured. The rims itself are nice, with 32 spokes per wheel to ensure that each can withstand a good beating. The bearings on the bike look well-built, too, as though they’ll happily preclude those annoying rattling sounds that one would expect on cheaper wheelsets. So that’s great.
All-in-all, this wheelset is a more than capable daily-beater. It’s durable, lightweight, and affordable. And the fact that it’s from State Bicycle Co., which is a very reliable brand as far as wheelsets go, makes this one easy to recommend.
We think that this particular single-speed wheelset is excellent for the price. Retrospec Mantra is a brand that seems to be geared towards fixie stuff, but this wheelset is no doubt a good option for those who use single-speed bikes, too.
The rims are made from alloy, but trust us: they are strong. In fact, they’ve been double-walled for extra strength, so you don’t have to worry about putting them through a moderate beating—they’ll be fine. We’ve also noticed that—, and this is despite that they’ve been double-walled—they’re reasonably lightweight, which is not what one would typically expect for something this budget-friendly.
In a nutshell, this is a great wheelset. It looks and feels well-built, despite that it’s inexpensive. So if you need something less than $200 bucks, then we’d definitely recommend this one.
Vuelta is a well-known brand in the bicycle industry, so while we fully expected this wheelset to be OK, we were surprised to learn that it exceeded our expectations.
It is definitely a good option if you’re looking for a budget-friendly single-speed wheelset. The build quality is surprisingly good, for something that’s less than $200—I mean, we’re not exactly talking about premium materials here, but it definitely looks and feels like it can take a beating.
The rims, with its aluminum construction and 30mm depth, make the wheelset look more expensive than it actually is, and the 32 spokes in each wheel gave us a measure of confidence in the rim’s strength and durability. Don’t let the price fool you, this is a very capable wheelset for the causal rider, and it can take a beating if need be.
The Pure Fix Flip-Flop Wheelset looks fantastic in our opinion. And if you’re buying one mainly for how it looks, then don’t fret much about the other details, since we can confirm that this wheelset is perfectly fine as a daily beater. It is also made from an aluminum alloy, which means you can expect it to be strong and lightweight.
Each wheel has nylon rim strips that will help keep the tubes from getting punctured, and each wheel has 32 spokes to ensure rim strength and durability.
One gripe we have about this brand of the wheelset is that there have been reports of it being delivered in subpar condition. Our experience with the Pure Fix 700C Flip-Flop wheelset is good, so we don’t know what to make of these reviews. One reason for the complaints might be that these customers were sold fakes—but, of course, we can’t be sure. We can only counsel those who opt for this particular wheelset to be sure they’re getting it from a reputable source. In any case, if the reviews make you feel iffy, then go for the other wheelsets we’ve recommended above—they’ll do just fine.