People's definition of gravel riding can waver whether that's based on personal preference, bike setup, or simply the terrain available depending on where you live. The general consensus for riding "real" gravel, think loose and chunky, is wider is better when it comes to tire size as it allows for better flat prevention, more traction, and overall better comfort. But gravel bikes have a limitation on how wide a 700c tire you can fit in the frame and fork and in an effort to get higher volume tires to fit into these framesets, the gravel crowd looked at what the mountain bike world did when putting fatter 27.5-inch wheels and tires on their 29-inch setups. Road plus is no longer a fringe segment of the market and now frame builders, as well as wheel and tire manufactures, are on board and if your bike supports plus and you're looking to add a little more volume to your ride, we'd suggest you have a look at the Tubeless G3 650b Gravel Wheelset from Mercury Wheels for a solid setup. The price is just right too so you can keep the 700c wheels for fast road rides and save these wheels for the gravel.
The hookless aluminum rims come in at a 30mm external and 25mm internal width for optimal gravel tire support and an easy tubeless setup. It's 22mm deep profile balances stiffness, for a responsive ride, and compliance, for a little more forgiveness over washboards and ruts and the rims are laser welded for lightweight strength. The build quality is top notch and is hand built in Mercury's Ogden, UT facility to exacting standards. Sapim double butted spokes and alloy nipples keep weight to a minimum and reliability to a maximum and connect the rims to the Mercury hubs with reliable sealed cartridge bearings. This setup comes with a 15 x 100mm front and 12 x 142mm rear thru-axle spacing but it can easily convert to quick-release if needed.
The set comes in at a respectable 1,644g which is only around 100g heavier than full carbon XC options and a lot friendlier on the wallet. Rim tape and valves are included for tubeless use. Please choose between Shimano/SRAM or XD freehubs for your drivetrain and note that the rotor mounting is for 6-bolt.
- A gravel wheelset that adds volume for traction and comfort
- Rim width optimized for gravel-sized tires
- 15x100 and 12x142mm thru-axles reduce torsional flex
- Tubeless setup is easy with the included tape and valves
- 650b+ allows for higher volume tires to fit in 700c frames