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Verdict: 
Stiff, fast-reacting wheels built to a very high standard and with the reliability of an aluminium brake track
Weight: 
1,421g
Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset
9 10

Shimano's Dura-Ace C24 carbon laminated wheels are light, stiff and responsive, putting in an excellent all-round performance.

I've been running the C24s with 25mm Continental Grand Prix 4000 tyres (Shimano advises that you use tyres ranging from 23mm to 28mm with these wheels) and they've been very quick, accelerating fast, and the ride quality is hard to fault.

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The C24s, which have just been given a graphics/aesthetics update to match Shimano's new R9100 components, have the shallowest rim heights of any wheels in the Dura-Ace range: the front is 21mm and the rear is 24mm. They're not particularly wide either: 15mm internal, 20.8mm external, whereas the new C40 and C60 clinchers are both 17mm internal and 24mm external, following the trend towards more width.

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim bed.jpg

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim bed.jpg

The rims are aluminium alloy with a CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) laminate on the hub-facing surfaces. The aluminium wall thickness is just 0.7mm and Shimano uses 'a patented phosphoric acid anodising process to bond the carbon fibre rim to the alloy [to ensure] an excellent combination of strength, rigidity and a low weight'.

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim detail 2.jpg

Our review wheels came in at 601g (front) and 820g (rear), a total of 1,421g (without rim tape or skewers). That's a little higher than Shimano's claimed 1,389g but it's still impressively light, particularly as Shimano hasn't compromised quality or durability here.

The hub shells are aluminium too, with a titanium freehub body at the rear. The wheels spin on cup and cone bearings, as is the Shimano way. The sealed cartridge bearings that most other brands use these days might be fit and forget but Shimano's design allows you to adjust the preload or give the bearings a complete service to ensure optimum performance and maximum longevity... as long as you know what you're doing (if not, you can take them to your local bike shop, of course). The labyrinth double-contact seals have managed to keep the stainless ball bearings running free of water and gunk during a particularly wet and mucky review period.

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rear hub.jpg

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rear hub.jpg

You get 16 straight-pull butted and bladed spokes in the front wheel and 20, laced two-cross, at the rear. Attached to very widely spaced hub flanges, they provide excellent levels of stiffness that you notice particularly while cornering hard or riding out of the saddle. I only managed to get brake rub when I set the pads stupidly close to the rims and rode uphill in a ridiculously hard gear; in all realistic circumstances there was none at all. The wheels feel taut and efficient.

Braking is up to the standards you'd expect on an aluminium brake track – which means it's better than you get with any carbon fibre rims out there. A few brands, notably Mavic, have improved the quality of carbon fibre braking lately, but none has the bite or consistency that you get with something like the C24 wheelset.

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim detail.jpg

Shimano Dura Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset - rim detail.jpg

Shimano doesn't make any aerodynamic claims for the C24s. If you're looking to reduce drag you need to step up to the C40s or the C60s. What you do get here is that lightness and responsiveness that I've mentioned and, as you'd expect, a shedload of stability no matter what the wind is doing.

The other point that's worth mentioning here is the ride quality. I'm not a big one for talking about smoothness when it comes to wheels but these do take an appreciable amount of road buzz out of your ride, and that makes a big difference to the way you feel.

> Buyer's Guide: Road bike wheels

These wheels have required no truing during the two-month test period and the titanium freehub is virtually unmarked so it looks like it'll go the distance.

All in all, these are very impressive wheels. They don't have the width of many modern designs, nor the aerodynamics, but they are light and fast reacting, and the alloy brake track adds to their all-weather versatility.

Verdict

Stiff, fast-reacting wheels built to a very high standard and with the reliability of an aluminium brake track

road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano Dura-Ace C24 Carbon Clincher wheelset

Size tested: 700C

Tell us what the wheel is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

Shimano says: "WH-R9100 CL carbon clincher wheel, designed to meet pro road race criteria"

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

Full carbon / alloy 21 mm deep 20.8 mm wide rim

Low rim weight is achieved by reducing the alloy wall thickness from 1.3 mm down to 0.7 mm, then a patented phosphoric acid anodizing process is used to bond the carbon fibre to the alloy giving an excellent combination of low weight, strength and rigidity

Carbon reinforced spoke eyelets increase durability

Alloy clincher rim maintains high braking performance with standard brake pads in all conditions

Front: 16 stainless steel butted (2.0-1.5-2.0) and bladed straight pull spokes

Rear: 20 stainless steel butted (2.0-1.8-2.0) and bladed straight pull spokes

Elbow-less spokes make for a strong yet compliant wheel

High lateral rigidity is produced with a wide flange spacing

Labyrinth double-contact sealing effectively shuts out water and dirt

Alloy cone with integrated steel Borozon treated bearing races - super mirror finish reduces friction

Quick and easy to maintain digital click bearing adjustment

Cold forged, machined aluminium hub shell and oversized 7075 alloy axle keep the wheel weight to a minimum

700C clincher compatible

Supplied with Q/R skewer

Average weight front: 585g

Average weight rear: 804g

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
8/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

The price has gone up considerably over the Dura-Ace 9000 version of this wheel, but the distributor tells us that's because of currency changes as a result of Brexit.

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

They've stayed absolutely true with no need for fettling.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

No problems.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

Great. The large lever at the end of the quick release is easy to use.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's light, stiff and responsive.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

The fact that it reacts fast and efficiently.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The price rise is a shame, but that's not unique to Shimano.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

These put in a strong performance across the board. Yes, the price has gone up considerably in the UK (from £849 to £999), apparently as a result of currency changes, but these are exceptionally good wheels.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding

Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.

15 comments

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HowardR [135 posts] 9 months ago
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I've a pair of the previous incarnation, the C24 9000, shod with Continentals Attack/Force tyres & latex tubes and using them always puts a smile on my face – providing a light and very responsive ride (almost as good as the Mavic GP4’s on large flange Campag' Record record hubs that I had 30 yeas ago)

I’ve only encountered the one test where the C24's aero’ abilities get measured & interestingly they gave near enough the same results as a lot of deeper rims, the Shimano C50 included: http://www.rouesartisanales.com/article-15505311.html The article is now a few years out of date & so I’m guessing that aero’ wheels may have improved a bit & people don’t just buy them ‘cos they look good – that would be silly

And – whilst prattling on about wheels – I can’t help but wonder if bike’s & wheels is similar to cameras & lenses (bear with me!). People spend often spend a lot of money on buy an expensive camera & then skimp on the lens – which is strange because it’s in many ways the lens that’s the most important part in getting a sharp image & controlling the depth of field (with the aperture) – the body of the camera does little more than control the shutter (and provide metering) – A bike frame is ‘just’ a thing that suspends the rider between the wheels & holds all the other bits (chain wheel, gears, breaks, handle bars e.t.c in place. The things that make the biggest difference to the ride quality of almost any bike is the wheels & the tyres that they carry  - as demonstrated by the current [return to] all-purpose bikes…..   

And re bike tests - It's a shame that they don't include a section where the thing is ridden with a set of widely availble 'bench mark' wheels  such as  Mavics Aksiums or Ksyriums

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harman_mogul [294 posts] 9 months ago
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Two sets of C24s here, Dura Ace 7850 and RS80. Both have performed impeccably in carbon-fiber and steel bikes, and are still a pleasure to ride. They work well with Conti Force/Attack (as HowardR above), Conti Gran Prix, Vittoria CX Corsa and CG Pavè,  Specialized S-Works Turbo, and Schwalbe One—all easy to mount and remove. As Mat remarks, they also provide good ride comfort, and brake well in all weathers. No doubt this current model, like previous ones, sets the bar for price-performance, and in my opinion the average club rider cannot want for better.

Incidentally the review gives the wrong impression in stating that 'The rims are aluminium alloy with a CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) laminate on the hub-facing surfaces'. The C24 rim structure is CFRP, to which is bonded the aluminium well and brake track, a subtle but important difference. 

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Disfunctional_T... [225 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes

I don't see the point of these wheels, unless you are doing an actual hillclimb event. At any grade less than 7%, you are going to be faster with Fulcrum Racing Quattro LG's which cost only about 200 pounds.

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KoenM [87 posts] 9 months ago
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Finnaly a review on these wheels, I love these wheels, they are light, stiff and VERY comfortable also for the weight they are not to expensive! 
I've got these wheels after a recommandation from a few friends, and I myself recommend these to everyone! 

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abondncfc [1 post] 9 months ago
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I run the new C24s 9100 on a Cervelo R5 having previously wornout a set of C24 9000 wheels on an R3 Team which were replaced with another set before the bike was written off. The new ones are significantly stiffer than the previous version and ride brilliantly - I use Conti GP 2s, 23mm at front 25 on rear.  They are really comfortable and stable and but a tad heavier than the 9000 rendition. The 9000 C24 was very good, the new ones are better.  Braking is also significantly better than the carbon aero wheels I also use, although around 20,000K of all year use will wear the alu brake lining through. 

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Simon E [3097 posts] 9 months ago
1 like

RS81s are £400, less than 100g heavier (most of that in the hub, I'd bet) and visually almost identical to the Dura-Ace. I wonder what difference there is in the quality of construction and whether there is any detectable difference when riding.

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timbarnes [13 posts] 9 months ago
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harman_mogul wrote:

Incidentally the review gives the wrong impression in stating that 'The rims are aluminium alloy with a CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) laminate on the hub-facing surfaces'. The C24 rim structure is CFRP, to which is bonded the aluminium well and brake track, a subtle but important difference. 

I think Road CC have it right, although of course we may just be talking semantics, Luescher Teknik cut one up recently:

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOGVVrKBmxr/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BOLQvCCBeDo/

It's looks like an aluminium extrusion with the CF bonded to it, particularly around the spoke holes for reinforcement.

I've got two sets, and they are brilliant wheels - light, stiff, and the aluminium brake track is the 'clincher' for me - carbon rims just don't cut it for braking imo, braking is poor and heat management is a problem. (Doubt this? Take a look at Luescher Teknik's Youtube channel...)

My older 7850s are still true after 7000 miles, although I did get a broken spoke at the thread on the 9000s after a couple of years and 4.5k. I'm light - 65 kg. (ProBikeKit told that that Shimano wouldn't warranty this despite the 3 year DA warranty, I suspect they didn't even go to Shimano and I couldn't be bothered to 'fight' it, I just won't buy anything from them ever again.)

Which brings me to the reasons that I probably won't buy any more of these (really great) wheels. In two words: Maintenance and lifecycle.

- I love the hubs - the Ti FW rear in particular, however a pair of rims plus a rebuild comes in at about the same street price as a set of new wheels - probably more in fact - without the warranty. That's really annoying, as my rear 7850 rim is now shot after 7000 pretty dry and flat miles, plus as it's 10 speed it's not really worth spending more on. It would be nice to build it onto a cheaper rim, but this isn't possible either as (if you can get them) the spokes don't come in a range of lengths. [I guess it *might* be possible to find other straight pull spokes that fit, but my guess is that the drilling is Shimano specific - must check that]. [Although the rear rim is asymmetric, which whilst cool may further limit options]

- You can get the Shimano-specific spokes, but it takes quite a bit of research to get the correct spoke and nipple. Only SJS had them when I needed one, and even then I had to get a 7850 spoke & nipple which I knew was fine as I realised I could 'borrow' one from my old 7850s to check. Had it not been rear drive side I may have been in trouble as the other lengths were different.

 

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macrophotofly [283 posts] 9 months ago
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Great wheels. First wheels I recommend to anyone who cycles in a hilly area (In Japan with the mountains it's a straight forward decision). Lightweight, stiff and strong.  Roll beautifully, alu brake track gives you confidence. I have the 9000's and go back to them often.

I am surprised they didn't make this latest version wider. The internal 15mm width is a bit old school, so I guess they prioritised weight over the "latest thing"

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Bobbinogs [250 posts] 9 months ago
2 likes
Simon E wrote:

RS81s are £400, less than 100g heavier (most of that in the hub, I'd bet) and visually almost identical to the Dura-Ace. 

Yepp, pretty much the same wheel.  The only real difference between the DA C24 and the RS81 wheelsets is the hub (DA vs Ultegra) and the decals.  The thing with the hub though, is that the main reason for buying DA (aside from the very underwhelming 100g saving) is that the hubs will last for ever if serviced every now and then.  Performance of a hub (DA or Ultegra) is pretty much identical. Err, good luck with a cost effective rebuild of the C24 when the rim is worn though. 

There seems to be a never ending supply of dentists who are happy to drop a huge chunk of cash to save 100g on a wheelset so I can understand Shimano's point of producing the C24, although getting a set of C17 Zondas will give all the 'performance', an improved ride comfort and handling (due to the 17mm internal width) and a price of less than half.  Go figure!

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madcarew [447 posts] 9 months ago
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timbarnes wrote:

....That's really annoying, as my rear 7850 rim is now shot after 7000 pretty dry and flat miles, plus as it's 10 speed it's not really worth spending more on. It would be nice to build it onto a cheaper rim, but this isn't possible either as (if you can get them) the spokes don't come in a range of lengths. [I guess it *might* be possible to find other straight pull spokes that fit, but my guess is that the drilling is Shimano specific - must check that]. [Although the rear rim is asymmetric, which whilst cool may further limit options]

 

I find that extraordinary. I've had a set of 7850s for 6 years or so. In that time they've done every race I've done and many miles of training as well. I expect they've done well in excess of 12000 miles and they're still going fine. The braking surface is notably concave but within shimano's wear limit. I'm 80kg and do a  lot of descending. I vouch for the fact that they're really good wheels and compared to my earlier DA wheels which are my training wheels and have done about 40,000 miles, been thru 2 bike write offs and are still perfectly true, they have a limited road life, but 7000 miles seems extraordinarily short. Sure the Missus hasn't been using them for shopping trips on the sly?

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Bobbinogs [250 posts] 9 months ago
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On average I get through a set of rims in about 6,000 to 8,000 miles. I do ride in some shocking conditions but am always careful about cleaning rims and pads after cruddy rides. I reckon my experience is fairly similar to that of others in my club. If you can get 40,000 miles out of a set of wheels then I reckon that is most unusual.

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Mat Brett [656 posts] 9 months ago
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abondncfc wrote:

I run the new C24s 9100 on a Cervelo R5 having previously wornout a set of C24 9000 wheels on an R3 Team which were replaced with another set before the bike was written off. The new ones are significantly stiffer than the previous version and ride brilliantly - I use Conti GP 2s, 23mm at front 25 on rear.  They are really comfortable and stable and but a tad heavier than the 9000 rendition. The 9000 C24 was very good, the new ones are better.  Braking is also significantly better than the carbon aero wheels I also use, although around 20,000K of all year use will wear the alu brake lining through. 

The 9100 C24s are the same as the 9000 C24s. 

Shimano tell us, "The only difference is the graphics/ aesthetics to match the new R9100 components. The specifications etc. are all the same."

 

harman_mogul wrote:

Incidentally the review gives the wrong impression in stating that 'The rims are aluminium alloy with a CFRP (carbon fibre reinforced polymer) laminate on the hub-facing surfaces'. The C24 rim structure is CFRP, to which is bonded the aluminium well and brake track, a subtle but important difference. 

Shimano itself describes the wheels as "Carbon Laminated Clinchers". 

http://bike.shimano.com/content/sac-bike/en/home/components11/road/dura-...

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matthewn5 [1063 posts] 9 months ago
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I had a paid of the Ultegra RS80s back in the day. Same rims.

Very soft wheels compared to the Fulcrum 5s and Fulcrum 3s I replaced them with. They just didn't seem to transmit power as efficiently.

Oh, and other brands also use cup and cone bearings.

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Mat Brett [656 posts] 9 months ago
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matthewn5 wrote:

Oh, and other brands also use cup and cone bearings.

Did someone say they didn't, then?

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harman_mogul [294 posts] 7 months ago
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As I recall, the alloy brake track is 0.7 mm thick, so cannot contribute much to lateral strength. Though obvs the beauty of the design is the way the two components complement each other. As mentioned, it's a pity they are so costly to rebuild. Properly maintained, the hubs have a very long service life, long outlasting the rims.