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Unveiled (sort of): Shimano's semi-deep RS80 wheelset

Like the Dura Ace Carbon clinchers, but cheaper

The chaps at Shimano have a long and glorious history of trickling down their top technology to a point where mortals are able to afford it – that's the process that brought us the magnificent Ultegra 6700 groupset last year, and the recent Shimano 105 launch at the new product presentation last week was more of the same.

It's not just groupsets though. One of the most interesting things we didn't see at Shimano last week was the new semi-deep RS80 wheelset. We didn't see it because it wasn't ready, in spite of the fact that it's due to be launched before many of the wheels that had made it to the party. That's why there isn't a pic of it at the top of the story...

Semi-deep section rims are becoming increasingly popular among both racers and sportive riders. Deep enough to give a bit of aero advantage, they're also light enough to be used full time. Shimano's WH-7850 Carbon clincher wheelset has felt the love from, with tester Jon Burrage describing it as a "Superb top end wheelset with a winning combination of performance and value". As with last year's RS80 wheel, which was a reworking of the Dura Ace hoop using the same rim and an Ultegra-level hub, the 50mm RS80 will feature the same rim technology as its dearer stablemate. The rim in question uses a structural carbon section bonded to an alloy braking surface, it's not simply a carbon fairing. The rim will be laced to a new Ultegra 6700 hub.

The WH-7850s tip the scales at 1580g, so we'd expect the RS80s to be around the 1700g mark. As for cost, well the standard RS80 is about two-thirds the cost of the Dura Ace wheel; assuming that the 50mm wheels follow the same pattern you're looking at about £700 for a set. They're due to be available in the summer, and as soon as we can get some pictures of them we'll post them here. In the meantime, here's an 'artist's impression' created by our 'graphics department'...

Dave is a founding father of, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.

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