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Shimano makes a lot of wheels. Here's a guide from the cheapest to the most expensive

We’ve previously taken you through the wheel ranges from Mavic and Fulcrum, now it’s time to turn our attention to Shimano’s rather large offering of wheels. Shimano wheels are frequently specced by bike manufacturers and they’re popular aftermarket upgrades, no doubt helped by being a common sight in the professional peloton - it supplies wheels to more teams than any other brand. 

- Your complete guide to Shimano groupsets

Dura-Ace R9100 and R9170 wheelsets

Shimano unveiled new Dura-Ace wheels with the launch of its latest groupset last summer. The new C40 and C60 wheels have a fashionably wide rim designed for improved aerodynamics. 

Shimano-WH-R9170-C60-TU-Dura-Ace-Disc-Center-Lock-Carbon-Wheels-51446-0-1482926918.jpeg

Shimano-WH-R9170-C60-TU-Dura-Ace-Disc-Center-Lock-Carbon-Wheels-51446-0-1482926918.jpeg

The rims have a wider profile than the previous generation Dura-Ace wheels, following the current trend for bulbous profiles that are more stable in crosswinds than the older V-shape rims. Each is available in a clincher or tubular version, so you can emulate the pros if you want or be sensible and fit some inner tubes.

Alternatively, the R9170 versions of the C40 and C60 wheels are designed solely for disc brakes and use a 12mm thru-axle hub and a rim that is tubeless compatible. There’s also a tubular option as well.

If you want the lightest option, the R9100-C24 has a very shallow 24mm rim that keeps the weight low, making it an ideal wheelset for climbers. It's virtually unchanged from the previous R9000-C24 in case you're wondering.

Clincher

Tubular

Shimano’s previous Dura-Ace R9000 generation wheels are still available if you shop around. There’s the C24 (£1,999.98) and C75 (£1,699.98), the classic C50 (£1,599.98) and finally the C35 (£1,499.98).

- Review: Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset

Ultegra RS700 and RS770 wheelsets

Shimano-WH-RS770-C30-Tubeless-Ready-Disc-Clincher-Road-Wheel_107971_1_Supersize.jpg

Shimano-WH-RS770-C30-Tubeless-Ready-Disc-Clincher-Road-Wheel_107971_1_Supersize.jpg

Along with the latest version of Ultegra 8000 launched this year, which follows closely in the wake of new Dura-Ace, Shimano released updated wheels. It’s offering two wheelsets under the Ultegra label, the carbon-laminate RS700 for rim brakes (£749.98) and the RS770 (£799.99) for disc brakes.

Both are tubeless-ready and the later is compatible with thru-axles. There are also new hubs to shed about 60g of weight compared to the old 6800 wheels, and there’s a lighter carbon layup in the new rims. Claimed weight is 1,568g for the rim brake wheels and 1,639g for the disc wheels.

The previous generation Ultegra 6800 wheels are still available. These have made with a similar carbon composite construction to that found on the Dura-Ace C24 wheels. You can read our review of the wheels here.

RS81 carbon laminate wheelsets

The RS81 series borrows features and technology from the range-topping wheels in Shimano's range but offers it in a more affordable package. There are also three rim depths to suit your requirements and budget.

RS81 carbon laminate wheelsets.jpg

RS81 carbon laminate wheelsets.jpg

RS, by the way, stands for Road Sport, and is Shimano’s attempt to offer top-level performance at a great price, and are ideal for racing and training duties.

The aluminium brake track with a carbon outer means you’re assured of reliable braking performance in all weathers and don’t have to change the brake blocks on your bike to upgrade to these. The hubs have extra wide flanges to build a stronger wheel and Shimano’s OptBal Spoke System is intended to increase the rigidity of the wheelset.

RX830 35mm Tubeless Disc Brake wheelset £799.98

Shimano-WH-RX830-road-disc-brake-wheels-2.jpg

Shimano-WH-RX830-road-disc-brake-wheels-2.jpg

The RX830 combines Shimano’s proven carbon laminate technology in a 17mm wide (internal) tubeless-ready rim optimised for disc brakes, so there’s no brake track on these rims. The hubs are cup and cone and ready for disc brakes with conventional quick release axles - so you’ll only see these on cheaper or older generation rim brake bikes, as most disc brake bikes are moving over to thru-axles. Shop around and you can find them discounted, as is the case for most of the wheels here.

RS610 24mm Tubeless wheelset £324.98

This is one of Shimano’s most affordable wheels to utilise its carbon laminate rim technology, and the rim is also tubeless-ready. They feature an offset rim design with wide flanges to provide a stronger wheel and the hubs are compatible with 10- and 11-speed cassettes.

RX31 Road Disc Brake wheelset £299.98

Shimano RX31 wheelset.jpg

Shimano RX31 wheelset.jpg

The RX31 was one of the very first dedicated disc brake wheelsets available when disc brakes started appearing on production road bikes a few years ago. Shimano has built a solid wheelset around 24mm profile aluminium clincher rims with 24 stainless steel butted and bladed straight pull spokes in each wheel to best deal with the disc brake forces. Hubs are now thru-axle compatible with contact sealed bearings with an 8,9,10 and 11-speed compatible freehub.

- Review: Shimano RX31 wheelset

RS330 Alloy clincher wheelset £299.98

Looking like a good upgrade option for many entry-level bikes, though you’re likely to see these wheels specced on a lot of mid-range bikes, the RS-330 uses a lightweight aluminium rim with a 30mm depth providing good aerodynamics, making them ideal for anyone wanting to inject a bit more speed into their riding.

RS21 Alloy clincher wheelset £279.98

This wheelset uses Shimano’s proven hub design with angular contact bearings and a wide flange for extra wheel strength, laced to 24mm high rims with a handy wear indicator. Steel butted and bladed straight pull spokes with a 2-cross lacing pattern improve wheel rigidity. 

RS11 Alloy clincher wheelset £199.98

rs11 wheels.JPG

rs11 wheels.JPG

You’re getting a bit more technology in return for your extra £50 over the RS010 wheels below, with a 24mm profile aluminium rim and bladed stainless steel straight pull spokes - 16 up front and 24 our back. The hubs have labyrinth sealed angular contact bearings and low-friction seals for low rolling resistance and good durability.

RS010 Alloy clincher wheelset £159.98

The RS010 is the most affordable in the RS line and uses much of the same technology as you'd expect higher up the range, and is a really good entry-level wheelset. You get the same 24mm rim depth as the more expensive wheels with 20 front spokes and 24 rear spokes and quick release hubs with wide flanges, contact bearings and steel axles.

RX010 Centre Lock Disc wheelset £199.98

RX010.jpg

RX010.jpg

An affordable disc brake wheelset with 28 spokes in each wheel for extra durability and a 24mm rim for low weight, combined with Centre Lock disc rotor mounting system. The rim width is recommended for 25 to 38mm wide tyres. The hubs use regular quick release axles.

R500 24mm wheelset £94.79

Shimano’s most affordable wheelset and one you’ll see on a lot of entry-level road bikes with 8 and 9-speed drivetrains. Combining 24mm aero and anodised rims with 20 black chrome plated spokes in each wheel and weighing 1,884g, it’s a solid wheelset.

- 22 of the best 2017 road bike wheels

David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.

7 comments

Avatar
fluffed [53 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

R9100 C40 Clinchers are restickered C35s , do not be fooled into buying these. The tubular C40s are new though.

Avatar
uk10904 [3 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

The R9100 c24's can be had for less than £700 not £999.99 and the RS81 is under £400 not £700  as in the article?

https://cheapestbikeparts.com/?terms=R9100+C24+Wheelset

https://cheapestbikeparts.com/?terms=RS81+C24+Wheelset

 

Avatar
madcarew [465 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

An extra 500 quid just for the disc brake versions of the DA wheels? That's nuts!!

Avatar
cyclisto [332 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Regarding the cheapest r500, has anybody tried redishing 2.5 mm to the so that with a 5mm spacer on the left side and a MTB axle they can be used at 135mm rear dropouts? They seem fast commuter wheels compared to standard 32spoke 19mm rim wheels

Avatar
ChrisB200SX [566 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

I think the R500 are actually R501 now, but still have R500 graphics on the rims. Mine took a fair bit of abuse and stood up well to two crashes, one at about 40mph!

They've got J-bend spokes. I think they take upto and 10 speed cassette too.

I must admit, they don't seem much less aero than my far more expensive aero wheels.

The rims are sort of somewhere between V and U shape, not wide though.

Excellent value and I can't really fault them, they appear more aero than the RS11 wheelset I bought.

Avatar
GrantT [4 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Both the C40 and C60 clinchers (rim brake) are the same rim profile (both height and width) as the older C35 and C50. Not wider or taller as the name and this article suggests.

Only the tubulars (rim brake) are actually wider and taller.

Avatar
TypeVertigo [421 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

"The RX830 combines Shimano’s proven carbon laminate technology in a 17mm wide (internal) tubeless-ready rim optimised for disc brakes, so there’s no brake track on these rims. The hubs are cup and cone and ready for disc brakes with conventional quick release axles - so you’ll only see these on cheaper or older generation rim brake bikes, as most disc brake bikes are moving over to thru-axles."

You might want to rephrase that. RX830 wheels can't be used on rim brake bikes of any shape or form.