Shimano’s road wheelets range from race-ready carbon wheels to entry-level bomb-proof wheels that can withstand almost any punishment. There are many wheelsets to cover the middle of the road. These wheelsets offer a balance between weight and durability, and can satisfy most riders’ desire for a simple training wheelet. Because Shimano wheelsets are used by many top bike manufacturers, Shimanos are highly sought-after and readily available. We love Shimano’s bike gear, including replacement saddles and bicycle shoes. It’s a name that is synonymous with cycling.
The Dura Ace lineup has been a favorite of serious cyclists (photo by Cycling Weekly).
The company’s wheelet product line includes six versions of the and WH-9000, which are Shimano’s high-end Dura Ace brand. There are three models of the 90000: one clincher, two tubular and one tubeless version. All have carbon rims, double butted alloy wheels, and either high modulus carbon, carbon-alloy composite, or carbon-alloy laminate. The rim profiles of each model vary, with some offering an aero profile while others have a broader range of rim heights (ranging from 24mm to 50mm). The prices range from $900 for the 90000 C24 clinchers up to $2700 for a pair 9000 C50 tubular wheels.
In terms of lightness, acceleration, and responsiveness, riders seem to be akin to the 9000 wheelsets. Shimano appears to have found the perfect balance with the 9000s. They use carbon to reduce weight but retain enough strength in engineering to be durable and stiff. There are many rim profiles to choose from. The C24 is more traditional and the C50 is more aero. The C35 falls comfortably in the middle, which is good for riders who don’t want to go either way.
The Ultegra wheelset is the WH-6700. This aluminum-rimmed wheelset can accommodate either tubeless or traditional clincher tires. The hubs and axels of the wheels are made from aluminum. The spokes are made from bladed stainless steel with a black finish. Non-aero rims have a height of 24mm at the front and 23mm at the back. With the addition of a spacer, the freehub can work with both 8- and 9 speed cassettes. A 10-speed cassette is also compatible. The front rim has a 16-spoke radial pattern and the rear has a 20-spoke cross pattern. The 6700 retails at approximately $400
The 6700 is a favorite of riders because it costs $400 less than other wheels. This makes them a great choice for beginners and as an upgrade to heavier entry-level wheelsets. They are 1652g so they aren’t lightweight, but they are still durable and light for their price. These wheels also score high for their versatility. Riders can choose between traditional clinchers and tubeless tires.
Road Sport wheelsets bring high-end Dura-Ace features into cheaper wheels that can be used for training. The RS80 is the top-end Road Sport wheelet. Both versions feature carbon-alloy composite rims. The RS80 – C50 has a similar aero profile to the 7900 – C50 and the RS80 – C24 has a traditional, non-aero profile to the 7900 – C24. Both wheelsets come with alloy hubs that are compatible with 8- and 9-speed cassettes.
The RS30 and RS20 rims cost less than the RS80 (between $200-300, as compared with about $800 for RS80), but they are several hundred grams heavier. The RS20 has a standard 24mm rim height while the RS30 has a more aerodynamic 30mm profile.
The Road Sport wheels, like all other Shimano road wheelets, are highly praised by riders as being reliable and good value. They are not the most flashy or lightest of wheels, but they do the job, especially when it comes to daily training on rough roads.
Road Sport Wheelset
Shimano’s WH-R500 is an entry-level wheelet that offers a cost-effective alternative for riders who are looking for basic training wheels. Although the WH-R500 wheels have a $230 list price, they can be purchased for as low as $200. The basic, simple, and functional wheelset works. The R500 has aluminum rims, steel wheels, and a freehub body. It is compatible with all 8-, 9 and 10-speed cassettes. Round stainless steel spokes are laced with a 20-spoke, radial pattern at the front and a 24-spoke cross pattern at the rear. The set is 1884g in weight due to all that steel.
Riders have one major complaint about these wheels: their weight. They are not fast and don’t have race-level responsiveness. The R500 is a good basic training wheelet. Riders report that the wheels are able to withstand heavy use and abuse from less than ideal pavement. These wheels don’t suit heavy riders due to their low spoke count. However, riders close to 200 lbs report that they can put many miles on them without any problems.
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