How to Choose the Best Bicycle Wheels for You [Active.com]
Below is an excerpt from the book "The No-Drop Zone: Everything You Need to Know About the Peloton, Your Gear, and Riding Strong" by Patrick Brady. The 250-page book outlines all aspects of road cycling for beginners, from riding skills to bike gear to the cycling lifestyle. Learn more about the book here.
Easily the biggest improvement you can make to your bicycle comes from purchasing a set of high-quality wheels. The benefits of a set of racing wheels can be reduced weight, greater aerodynamics, or, if you are willing to spend enough, both.
It used to be that a high-quality wheel set was built by a veteran mechanic at your local shop. Today, that isn't as common; most wheels come prebuilt from the factory. Find the shop in your area with an experienced wheel builder, because any time you need your wheels serviced, his experience will be helpful.