It’s not enough just to choose the rim profile I want for my wheel. Another point to consider is the type of tire we’re thinking of putting on it. There are basically three types of tires for road bikes, and each one needs a specific wheel. So there are the following options:

Clincher wheels
They are suitable for (traditional) clincher tires that use an inner tube to work properly. Are the most used tires in road bikes today, they are simple to mount and, as a rule, the cheapest. They are also the most used for training. The tire is held in position by the presence of a small edge on the rim and together fixes the tire to the wheel with the high pressure of the inner tube.

Wheels for tubular tires
Tubular tire wheels (also known as boyoux) are, overall, lighter and faster than clincher tire wheels, because in this case the tire is glued directly to the wheel without the edge. It does not carry a tube, and can withstand higher pressures, and this helps the bike to roll better.

As a rule, and for cost-benefit reasons, we will only find tubular tire wheels in wheel models that are already a little more expensive. Why is that? Because on the simplest wheels it doesn’t justify to put tubular. Therefore it is not easy to find a tubular version on cheaper aluminium wheels.

Tubeless tire wheels
These wheels are compatible with tubeless tires. As a general rule, they are a little heavier because the rim has an extra material to provide an airtight seal for tubeless tires. The great advantage of these tires is that they’re thicker, and the chances of puncturing are lower as well. It is a type of tire that is gaining more and more fans in road cycling since in Mountain Bike these models are already the bread and butter.

Author: Tiago Torres, Segredos do Ciclismo