Wheels are a key part of the bicycle: it’d be hard to roll very far without them. They are the primary sizing component in children’s bicyles, and can determine a lot of the function and performance of adult bicycles as well. A typical wheel consists of an aluminum hub and rim connected by wire tension spokes.
Wheels are generally built to accommodate a certain style of riding: serious road racers and triathletes can sometimes opt for incredibly lightweight carbon wheels with few spokes, aiming for aerodynamics and speed above everything. At the far opposite end, in Downhill, Dirt-Jump, or BMX, riders want the most durable wheel they can get.
Lightweight wheels are preferred by every style of rider because the mass of the wheel has to rotate. Because of the centrifugal force in play when your wheel spins, taking a pound off your wheels will dramatically decrease the amount of effort you have to put into attaining speed, much more so than taking that same pound off a non-rotating part of your bike such as the frame or seatpost. Have to carry heavy cargo? No problem, as long as the weight’s on you or on a pannier rack.
When replacing a rear wheel, it is important to make sure that it will continue to function with your drive drain (most importantly, your chain and cassette). Make sure that it supports the same way of mounting your gears, and the same number of gears: seven-speed cassettes are a different width than eight-speed, and so the wheels are different. The diameter, width, hub, braking surface, and method of attachment for the gears are all important factors in finding the right wheel for your bicycle. If you bring by your bicycle or even your old wheel, we can help you find a wheel that will work for you.