Cycling in Brisbane Australia
Congratulations on the new ride!
Without knowing the specs on the standard wheels it's pretty hard to advise on new wheels. It would be really nice to know the weight of the SR2 wheels, but Giant haven't listed anything on their web site that I could find. Likewise for the tyres.
I don't buy into the "light wheel" myth. Choose light wheels if you are lifting the bike up onto a car regularly, and aero wheels if you are cruising at 30+ kmh all the time. For general riding I don't think it matters - a flapping jersey will cost more in aero penalty than an expensive aero wheel set will gain.
Of course, it is quite acceptable to buy wheels (or anything else for that matter) because you like them!
The light wheel thing isn't a myth.. trust me. A nice set of wheels really do feel amazing. Heavy slow wheels just make the bike feel dead. The problem is it really is diminishing returns though...
It's more than just weight though. Stiffness and aero really can be felt. It's hard to get light weight, stiff, and aero in one wheelset.
$500 isn't going to get you a great upgrade. Maybe some Fulcrums or Mavic Aksiums might do the trick.
I'd go on to the facebook group "Bicycle Market Brisbane" and look around. Try get something like some Craftworx hand built wheels - you may find them at this price point.
Congratulations on the new ride.
What do you intend on using the bike for? How much do you intend riding it?
For $500.. I really doubt you're going to get anything super great... certainly not new.
That sort of money will get you a good solid wheelset.. probably better than the giant wheels, but not great. I've not heard anything good ever about Giant road wheels. Lots of breakages and lots of problems. I've heard that if you have enough problems they upgrade you to shimano wheels so you stop having problems.
I think that for you to notice a big performance difference you'll have to spend much closer to 1000.. or maybe more. I'd ride the giant ones till they fail and claim warranty. :o
I forgot to mention.. the tyres that come with the bike are 120tpi that get average reviews. They are probably equivalent to the $25 maxis refuse... which aren't a bad tyre. But - you'd probably notice quite big difference going to one of the better 320tpi tyres like GP4000's. Of course, you can again do this once the tyres are worn...
Better tyres would probably be the best value upgrade you could do.
With giant factory stuff... it's nearly impossible to get specs and compare anything..
If you can stretch the budget a little, talk to Stephen at Craftworx. Tell him the riding you want to do and he'll recommend a few options. Hubs are just as important as the rim, rims wear out while quality hubs keep on going.
Other than owning a set of his wheels, I have no tie up with Craftworx.
+1 on the tyre upgrade first. Plenty of light fast options out there.
Wheel weight? Makes a difference to the feel for sure, but as to performance?
Here are some opinions...as with all the interweb, there's the good, bad, and indifferent. The trouble is telling what's what! For sure the marketers aren't going to tell you not to buy their nice light wheels.....
On the tyres go for a wider. my 2nd hand trek came with 23mm GP4000s. poor traction & hard ride 110 - 120psi. a wider tyre will have negligible aero loss and a small weight penalty, however better rolling resistance even with lower pressure hence better traction and comfort. You may even be able to fit in some 28mm tyres