When it comes to road bike wheelsets, the Shimano brand is probably the pioneer and the gamechanger on the field of biking. Known as makers of the best cycle components, they pretty much offer every cycle accessory you can think of.
Why Shimano Brand?
The innovations Shimano incorporate on their products adapting to the heightened environmental concerns are very impressive. For almost a decade, they continue to deliver components like their product line of road bike wheelsets that help people enjoy the outdoors while interacting with the environment through nonpolluting activities.
In fact, three new road wheelsets are to be introduced by Shimano this 2018. Two sets for the road and one with a multi-surface design.
Our Pick of The Best Shimano Wheelsets
Considering the above wheel features and the factors affecting bike performance, which Shimano wheelsets make our top list? Let’s find out.
1. Shimano Dura-Ace 9100 C40 Carbon Road Wheelset – Clincher
- 10 (with spacer), 11-speed compatible
- OPTBAL spoke system
- Rim: Height 35mm, Width 20.8mm
- W/ Rim Tape
- W/O Wheel Bag
A road wheelset with 35mm deep and 22.4mm wide rim, the Dura-Ace 9100 C40 is probably one of the best lightweight clincher carbon wheels manufactured by Shimano. The aluminum hub shell and alloy axle is combined with a freehub titanium body keeping the wheel weight to a minimum. These makes it an ideal choice for extreme athletes on the road.
2. Shimano Dura-Ace WH-9000-C24-TL Tubeless Clincher Wheelset
They say, quality and performance comes with a price and this is the case for the Dura-Ace WH-9000-C24-TL. It is very responsive and it climbs effortlessly with hubs that run smoothly and quietly without the need for ceramic bearings making it a perfect option for fitness, recreation, and other sportive events.
Aside from that, it is time-tested and weather proof as it was made with a braking surface that is consistent in all weathers.
3. Shimano WH-6700 Ultegra Tubeless Clincher Wheelset
- 6061 aluminum alloy rims deliver a super-lightweight and aerodynamic ride without compromising strength and stiffness
- Wide flange hub and offset 23mm front rim for high rigidity and power transfer
- Digital adjustment system is easy to adjust and reduces QR axial force
- Cup and cone bearings for low maintenance and best performance
- 16/20 stainless steel, bladed, double butted spokes for strength and speed
The Shimano WH-6700 comes with an attractive feature, which impresses most bikers. Aside from the wheels that are made with a sleek design and with a cool grey finish, Shimano gives you a variety of tire options. The rim is compatible with tubeless clincher tires without the fuss of installing tubeless rim tape.
4. Shimano WH-RS11 Aluminum Clincher Wheel
- OFFSET Rim for high rigidity and power transmission
- Rim: Height 24mm, Width 20.8mm
- 10 (with spacer) /11 cassette compatible
The Shimano WH-RS11 is more economical among other Shimano models offering the same technology of other Shimano wheels. It is made with low-friction contact sealing that effectively shuts water, mud, and dirt without affecting the rotational smoothness making it ideal and suited for winter training and daily commuting.
5. Shimano WH-9000 Dura-Ace C35-CL Wheelset
If you want a Shimano model that is good both for racing and training activities, choosing the Shimano WH-9000 Dura-Ace C35-CL is not a mistake. Like the WH-RS11, it is made with double contact sealing shutting out water and dirt effectively. A high-end, mid-depth aero wheelset perfect for a hilly course and wet conditions
6. The Shimano WH-R500
The Shimano WH-R500 is an entry-level wheelset and an economical alternative if you are seeking for wheels for your basic training or daily commuting. Together with its subsequent model, the WH-R501, it is priced around $200 to $240 comparable to the low-end Mavic Aksium wheels. The WH-R500 is ranked below Ultegra WH-6700, also an aluminum wheelset, which is double the price of the WH-R500.
Weighing at 1884 grams, the WH-R500 are probably too heavy for racing, but it can be your everyday training wheel. Shimano focused on providing affordable and sturdy wheelset that can serve starters and beginners as an entry-level bike.
Check our in-depth Shimano WH-R500 review for more granular analysis of this wheelset.
7. The Shimano RS80 (Ultegra) Wheelset
The RS80 can be classified among other carbon fiber wheelsets like the Mavic Ksyrium that weighs about the same like the Shimano RS80. While many riders would tell you that the Mavic is the most durable wheel available in the market with one of the smoothest hub, riders of the RS80 has the advantage of having a wheel with almost the same specs but cost less.
Though the prices of the Mavic Ksyrium and RS80 are close to the same, Shimano line of products are more often on sale.
The RS80 is made to outperform on crosswinds and hills brought by its aerodynamic feature. Though your ride maybe not as smooth as expected, the wheels of Shimano RS80 are responsive, which is the main priority of most riders with the amount they have spent with this wheelset.
What is Unique About Shimano Wheels?
Shimano road wheels are known for their standard road 700c size, which is almost compatible with every road bike in the market aside from the fact that they pass every road racing regulations.
Perfect for hybrid bikes, they are probably one of the best lightweight upgrades for commuters. Without a doubt, their top end products are chosen and ridden both by pros and health enthusiasts.
The Dura-Ace wheels popularized by Shimano are the ultimate flagships of this road wheel brand offered in both tubular and clincher design. Aside from being lightweight and with established balancing strength, they feature carbon rims and freehub titanium body.
Cyclists would find their perfect and budget-friendly pair of wheels from Shimano whether it is intended for training, racing or commuting.
The Benefits You Get From Choosing Shimano
Shimanos are not just popular in the market, but they are also highly available anywhere for the reason that bike manufacturers use Shimano components as their stock equipment. Their series of wheelsets are all made durable despite being lightweight.
Unlike other brands, Shimano still produces high-performing wheels in narrow rim versions, which is an excellent upgrade to any existing mountain or road bike.
Cost Of Shimano Wheelsets?
Frequently, riders regard Shimano products as pricey but to be honest, they are priced reasonably, and it’s all worth it. For instance, Dura-Ace versions are priced between USD 1000 to USD 1500.
Meanwhile, RS versions are priced between USD 90 to USD 200. For budget riders, there are affordable Shimano parts that suit your pocket. Rest assured, all Shimano wheelsets are made durable, road-friendly and highly stable.
The question is: Should you go for clinchers or tubular Shimano wheels?
Different Types Of Wheels
The most common type of bike wheels are definitely clinchers, defined by the type of tire they use. Probably your bike came complete with clincher wheels for a very good reason. The rim of carbon clincher wheels is heavier to survive braking pressure and force from the rim compared to the tubular wheels.
Clincher wheels by Shimano are made to minimize any time to change punctures along the road. They have an easy-access design allowing you to wedge off your tire easily and repair any puncture with convenience. Choose among the versions of the reliable and durable Ultegra or the race-ready and aggressive Dura-Ace, whichever suits your preference.
· Easy puncture repairs
· Changing of tires can be performed in minutes
· Typically cheaper than tubulars
· Heavier than tubular counterparts
· Higher rotational weight compared to tubulars
· Higher stress and pressure on the braking surface
Tubular wheels are commonly lighter compared to clinchers since the rim is not made heavy and strong just to hold the bead of the tire. Instead, the tubular tire is glued onto the rim. We have a more comprehensive guide on Clincher vs Tubular bike tires.
Though clincher versions of the Shimano are more popular because of the ease of changing wheels and repair, Shimano tubular wheels are lighter and the smooth riding experience is unmatched.
· Lighter wheels
· Lighter rims
· Better acceleration
· Fitting is less easy than clinchers
· Repairing punctures is not as easy as repairing clinchers
Tubeless Road Bike Wheels
Though not as popular as the two types of wheels, tubeless wheels are gaining grounds in the market. Many clincher wheelsets are now made compatible with tubeless and conventional clincher frameworks. With the absence of a tube, the tire is able to create an airtight seal towards the rim. All you have to do is apply some sealant and pump some air into the tire.
Shimano tubeless versions are found to be super lightweight while delivering an aerodynamic ride without compromising strength.
· Lower risk of flat tires
· Lower rolling resistance
· Detailed setup
· Heavier rims
Types of Racing Wheel Sets
Wheelset Features That May Affect Performance
Understanding and considering the different parts and features of every wheelset are vital as they greatly contribute to the overall performance of your road bike.
Rims are the first thing to consider when choosing a pair of wheels. If you are looking for wheels that can accelerate quickly, it is essential that the rims are as light as possible. Carbon rims are lighter which gives you the idea that they are expensive too.
Most wheels would come with either an aluminum or carbon-braking surface. Wheel with aluminum braking surface shows a more consistent braking surface and more efficient braking. Carbon’s braking performance is often diminished in the wet aside from it suffers from heat build-up when brakes are dragged for a considerable amount of time.
Hubs contain the axle and bearing located at the center of the wheel. Higher quality hubs are often made with superior bearings. Remember that compatibility between brands depends on the freehub body. In any case, Shimano, SRAM and Campagnolo brands are compatible with each other.
Hubs contain bearings to allow the hub to rotate on the axle. More expensive wheels come with more superior bearings, which run smoothly with lesser friction. Hubs have either cartridge bearings or cup and cone. Shimano wheels often bear the latter.
Spokes function to support the rim from the hub and distribute pressure around the bike wheel. Spoke count and lacing pattern is crucial as they may affect the wheel’s strength and stiffness. Wheels with higher spoke count are stronger but slightly heavier. Meanwhile, lower spoke counts are more aerodynamic.
Nipples maintain the stability of the spoke on the rim. The spokes are typically laced into the hub and tensioned at the nipple. Nipples are usually made of brass providing tensile strength or made of aluminum alloys to save weight.
Before making that final decision, consider buying the best wheels available to your budget and lifestyle. Bikes often come out of the box with wheels that are below par as compared to the frame and different groupsets. For this reason, making an upgrade makes a huge difference from biking experience to road performance.
They say that if you ever ride tubeless, you won’t be going back to tubed clinchers again. Upon comparing the features of every type of Shimano wheels, we found ourselves enjoying the WH-6700 Ultegra Tubeless Clincher.
Though tubeless wheelsets are still gaining their momentum on the market, there are more reasons why we are choosing this super lightweight Ultegra tubeless clincher. From their fantastic wheels to their smooth-as-silk performance, they are indeed right out of the box at a great price.
Aero wheels look pro but typically heavier and less easy to handle in high winds. On the other hand, light wheels are excellent during acceleration and climbing. These are your best option if you enjoy biking on hilly areas.
Given the fact that Shimano product lines are “pricey,” we recommend that you evaluate your current need for an upgrade. No one has ever lost on an upgrade and what Shimano always promise is a more remarkable and fulfilling ride. We are talking about Shimano anyway! A brand that is practically offering the best road bike wheels out there.