The RS80 line of Shimano carbon wheels is part of the Road Sport category and features Shimano’s Ultegra componentry. The RS80 with C24 profile is usually available for about $800. A set of RS80’s with more aerodynamic C50 profiles can be purchased for close to $1,000. The Shimano lineup is also available. The RS80 is a good choice between the entry-level, aluminum RS30 and Dura Ace lineup (WH 7850 series and 7900 series), which are about $500 – $700 more than the RS80.
The RS80 is generally compared to the Mavic Ksyrium and other carbon fiber wheelsets. It weighs roughly the same as the Shimano. Mavic is loved by many who claim it to be the most durable and smoothest wheel on the market. However, the RS80 has the advantage of having a wheel with similar specifications for a fraction of the price. Although the list prices for the Ksyrium wheel and the RS80 wheel are almost identical, you’ll find Shimano lines on sale more often with sometimes substantial savings. We don’t see Mavics on sale very often, and we find that the savings are less for them when they do. This is also true for Fulcrom, another major RS80 competitor.
The Shimano RS80 comes with an aluminum hub and a steel freehub, which can be used at 8, 9, or 10 speeds. The Shimanos are the pioneers of freehub technology today. They are reliable and durable. The Shimano hub, like all hubs, is susceptible to corrosion. You will need to clean it regularly to ensure your investment remains protected. The RS80 has stainless steel bladed spokes, just like other wheels in its class. Current models have silver spokes, which compliments many road bikes that are black. Riders who are likely to be riding in salty or other harsh conditions might find the extra finish of black
spokes useful. Overall, the combo delivers a smooth ride. However, it can be a bit rough on certain surfaces. Although the ride is not as smooth as the Shimano Dura Ace WH 7850 or 7900 it is still very comfortable. This is due to the improved hub engineering and slightly better bearings of the DA. Riders will have to decide if the extra ride smoothness is worth the additional cost. The 7900 and RS80 don’t have a weight limit so they can accommodate Clydesdales.
The overall shape of the RS80s sections is very pleasing. It seems to give riders a mix of an aerodynamic ride and a deeper profile that allows for more grinding and hilly riding. Although you won’t get the same aero profile with a Zipp wheel or Hed, many riders find this to be a positive thing. This wheelset may be more efficient on hills than other wheels, and it can also perform well in cross winds.
Road tests confirm the good performance on hills and in crosswinds. Depending on your previous riding, you might notice an aero pickup. The RS 80 will not give you a soft ride. You will feel a lot of road energy, which is normal for wheels this class and composite. These wheels are responsive and this is what riders who spend that much money on them want. You might consider other wheels, such as the Dura Ace from Shimano. However, the RS80s are capable of handling long rides. Your computer will show you that you have a good overall performance, even if you’re a pro at 1,000-watt output. The durability of the RS80 models is what makes them stand out. We have seen many RS80 models that have been used for many miles and they still look great.
There are a few options for the RS 80, as mentioned above. However, the RS80 is a good option in terms of functionality and price, with a lower price than other options. The key competitors include:
- Shimano owns the Dura-Ace 7850 and 7900 models. The DAs cost $1300 or more. However, you will get the coveted DA hub, and a smoother ride overall.
- Mavic Ksyrium. The Ksyriums start at around $1,000. Those who have used Mavics love their ride and weight. They are also popular with bike mechanics because of their simplicity and clean construction.
- Fulcrom 3. These wheels can be purchased at some outlets for as low as $700, but we have heard enough concerns about their durability to make us wary for heavier riders. Those who have had no problems with the wheels report that they are very stiff and fast.
The Shimano RS80 is a great choice if you’re looking for a carbon wheel that is affordable, versatile, fast, and long-lasting. We recommend comparing the RS 80 and Ksyrium to find the right one for you. The RS80 may offer the combination of value and performance you’re looking for, thanks to the discounts that can be found often on this wheelset (for example, through our affiliate, here).