With the rise of enduro and ever more technical and faster tracks, plus the popularity of longer-travel mountain bikes, wheels have to take more hammer than ever. This partly explains the bias towards durability, strength and downhill aptitude in many new wheels; factors that have slightly overshadowed traditional concerns of saving weight and maximum efficiency at all costs.
Lighter wheels accelerate and slow down faster, change direction quicker and make climbing easier. It’s not that simple though, as wheel roundness and stiffness are factors too, plus the physics involved with rotating mass and centrifugal forces means weight closer to the outside edge makes more difference, so a heavier wheel with a proportionally lighter rim can still spin up to speed faster.
All of the following wheels are the best mountain bike wheels which scored at least 9/10 in our test. Here’s a complete list of all the mountain bike wheels we’ve tested.