Shimano RS80 C50 wheelset  £849.99

7/10

Well built wheels that will help you go faster on the flat, but there is a weight penalty over full carbon alternatives costing not that much more

Weight 1839g   Contact  www.madison.co.uk

by Dave Atkinson   July 11, 2011  

We've long held Shimano's shallow-section RS80s to be one of the better mid-range standard wheelsets on the market, so were keen to get our hands on these deep section C50 hoops to see if they measure up. And they do, pretty much: they're well made, fast at speed and good-looking. Only the weight lets them down.

Where the 24mm RS80 wheel uses a laminated Aluminium/Carbon construction the C50 has a structural Carbon inner section mated to an alloy braking surface. The spoke nipples are seated in the rim in the standard manner though you'll need the non-standard oversized tool (supplied) to tweak them. You get steel bladed spokes (16 front, 20 rear) instead of round ones for a bit more air-cutting capability. At the centre of the wheel sit the same Ultegra-level hubs you get on the standard RS80s, and they're excellent, with straight-pull spoke holes to prevent spoke breakages at the shoulder, and top quality seals and bearings. There's a steel freehub too.

Stick them on and set off and the first impressions are of a very well build wheel. The spokes were tight and the rim true, there was no pinging of spokes bedding in, just a lovely quiet thrum from the deep rim. I know it's not the reason you buy deep section wheels, but it's a lovely noise, and these wheels make a nicer sound than most. Just so you know.

Out of the saddle it's possible to induce a touch of brake rub if you really go after it, but there's plenty of laterally stiffness. In terms of comfort they spent the test period shod in excellent Vredestein Fortezza Tricomp and Vittoria Open Corsa Evo rubber, which undoubtedly had more effect on the comfort levels than any elasticity in the wheel. But it's fair to say they feel lively on the bike, rather than a dead weight. they're nice wheels to ride.

Once you get the C50s up to speed - and we're really talking about 20mph and upwards - they really start to shine. They feel fast, and they are fast: I posted a good time on my 40-mile test loop first time out, on a route that includes some fairly slow climbs along with a lot of rolling and flat terrain. It's difficult to know if that's just the wheels or a combination of factors, but I certainly didn't feel they were holding me back, most of the time.

Most of the time? Well, these aren't light wheels. They're carrying an extra 350g over the standard RS80s and all of that is in the rim, where it matters most. There's certain types of terrain - draggy climbs for example - where all that extra mass gets felt. Just as the zippiness at 25mph is noticeable, so is the weight in the deep rim slogging up a long, gradual climb at 12mph. It's horses for courses: if you're going to do more of the former than the latter, they'll save you time.

I stuck these on the bike for a 360km day ride from Bath to Colchester, on a route that was astonishingly flat for the most part. And two-up with another rider, with tri-bars fitted for an aero position, taking turns at the front, they're just what you need. Well, almost: Trev had some £2k Reynolds Forty-Six hoops on his bike, which give the same aero advantage but without the weight penalty. I wanted his wheels.

Therein lies the rub, really. Okay, the Forty-Sixes are a massive step up from these Shimano hoops, but the Reynolds Assault C, which we tested earlier in the year, is a sub-1600g full Carbon semi-deep wheel for just over a grand, and these C50s are £850. In the real world of online discounts, that translates to £850 for the Assaults and £650 for the C50s. If it was my money, I'd save up the extra and go full Carbon.

It's not that the C50s are bad wheels - they're most definitely not - it's just that full Carbon is within reach if you're looking at this price bracket. More expensive, but within reach. Full Carbon rims have their problems, but the main ones - clincher rim strength, braking and heat dissipation - have been all but solved by Reynolds with their CTg braking systems; they're very, very good and other manufacturers are doing excellent work in that area too. It's not the problem it once was.

Verdict

I wanted to like these wheels, and don't get me wrong: I did like them. If they're right on the limit of your available wheel spend, and you definitely want to go deep, then I can recommend them: they do the things that you want from a deep section wheel, without fuss. But the lure of full Carbon and the weight saving it represents would have me saving the extra pennies.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Shimano RS80 C50 wheelset

Size tested: n/a

Tell us what the product 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?

Rear Wheel Spec:

High performance road racing wheel meets the demands of today's professional and amateur riders

Carbon and alloy clincher rim is both light weight and ridged whilst maintaining high braking performance with standard brake pads

50 mm deep carbon rim with alloy braking surface for improved aerodynamics and increased rigidity for sprinters and TT specialists

20 rear stainless steel butted and bladed straight pull spokes

High lateral rigidity is improved with a wide flange spacing

Labyrinth double contact sealing - low-friction seals effectively shut out water, mud and dirt without affecting rotational smoothness

Polished bearing races reduce friction and provide for smooth rotation

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

8, 9, and 10-speed compatible

700C clincher compatible

Supplied with Q/R skewer

Weight 1013 grams

Front Wheel Spec:

High performance road racing wheel meets the demands of today's professional and amateur riders

Carbon and alloy clincher rim is both light weight and ridged whilst maintaining high braking performance with standard brake pads

50 mm deep carbon rim with alloy braking surface for improved aerodynamics and increased rigidity for sprinters and TT specialists

16 front stainless steel butted and bladed straight pull spokes

High lateral rigidity is improved with a wide flange spacing

Labyrinth double contact sealing - low-friction seals effectively shut out water, mud and dirt without affecting rotational smoothness

Polished bearing races reduce friction and provide for smooth rotation

Cold forged and machined aluminium hub shell keep the wheel weight to a minimum

700C clincher compatible

Supplied with Q/R skewer

Weight 770 grams

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Very nicely built wheels, arrived true and stayed true

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Fast at speed, like a deep section wheel should be

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

No issues during testing, build quality is high

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
6/10

You're giving away a lot of weight over a shallow section wheel or a full Carbon rim

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Lively despite the weight

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Good wheels for the money

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

They're good wheels, great on flattish fast rides

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Good at speed, stiff, lovely noise

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

you feel the extra weight on the climbs and the drags

Did you enjoy using the product? yes

Would you consider buying the product? If it was my money, I'd save a bit more and go full Carbon

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe, depending on their riding

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 38  Height: 190cm  Weight: 98kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with SRAM Apex

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

10 user comments

Oldest firstNewest firstBest rated

There's only something like 40g difference in rim weight between the Assault C and these, and as they are 8% deeper you'd expect that anyway?

posted by dubtap [9 posts]
11th July 2011 - 13:22

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as a day in day out wheel, I'd choose the alu rim option for the minor weight penalty over the carbon. I have some very nice bontrager aoelus, but they are rarely wheeled out on anything other than race day...

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [179 posts]
11th July 2011 - 13:40

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dubtap wrote:
There's only something like 40g difference in rim weight between the Assault C and these, and as they are 8% deeper you'd expect that anyway?

we weighed the RS80s at 1839g (w/o skewers) and the Assault Cs at 1559g (w/o skewers). That's a significant weight difference and a noticeable one.

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7251 posts]
11th July 2011 - 15:41

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If you want to be truly scientific about it, you should base your conclusions on repeatable measurements. So, when can we expect you to ride the same 360km route, say twice more on the Shimanos to establish accuracy, then three more times on a pair of Reynolds Assault C wheels...? Never? Bah, slacker.

posted by handlebarcam [527 posts]
11th July 2011 - 19:24

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handlebarcam wrote:
If you want to be truly scientific about it, you should base your conclusions on repeatable measurements. So, when can we expect you to ride the same 360km route, say twice more on the Shimanos to establish accuracy, then three more times on a pair of Reynolds Assault C wheels...? Never? Bah, slacker.

You might be waiting a while for the results of that scientific test Thinking

I will be riding it again next year though, if anyone fancies a bash Smile

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7251 posts]
11th July 2011 - 19:32

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I have a pair and took the rim stickers off immediately after realising it looked liked ASBO

IMAG0080.jpg

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
12th July 2011 - 10:33

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Old Cranky wrote:
I have a pair and took the rim stickers off immediately after realising it looked liked ASBO

heh!

Dave Atkinson's picture

posted by Dave Atkinson [7251 posts]
12th July 2011 - 10:37

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...£700 c/w tyres, tubes and ultegra cassette during the recent sales.

posted by Old Cranky [276 posts]
12th July 2011 - 10:46

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I have some normal rs80 wheels, done around 10,000 miles on them and they still run true, i have refurbed the hubs once (new grease and bearings) and they are still good. Rims are nearly worn out now though. If these are of the same quality then they will be crackers-shame about the hefty price tag though.

posted by Bike_Terrorist [13 posts]
19th July 2011 - 11:04

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now on ribble for £400 quids

posted by the-yorkshire-p... [179 posts]
11th November 2013 - 11:48

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