With the Shimano RS80 (Ultegra) Wheelset, a pair of carbon wheels is just within your reach. It is one of the entry-level wheelsets under Road Sports category, which represents Shimano’s line of Ultegra components.
The RS80 paired with a C24 profile retails around $800. Meanwhile, with the more aerodynamic C50 profile, it can be found around $1300.
Priced cheaper than its counterparts, it uses the same patented carbon alloy rim that you can find on Dura Ace WH 7850. Safe to say, the RS80 fits between entry-level aluminum RS30 and the Dura Ace lineup, which normally costs you more than $600 than the RS80. Who wouldn’t be impressed?
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.
For regular ultra-long rides and a smooth, silky ride, Shimano’s Dura-Ace may be more fitting to you although the RS80 also survives long rides without signs of wearing. A lot of testimonies have proven how durable the RS80 is and how it seems to hold up great over time.
Features & Benefits
The Shimano RS80 wheelset at least looks like they are made of carbon, but underneath is an alloy rim. Shimano used a thinner aluminum extrusion measuring to 0.6mm and not the usual 1-1.3mm, which makes up the basic built of the rim. The rim is bonded to a carbon outer layer.
Forget the glue because Shimano used phosphoric acid for the bonding process. To make it simpler to understand, the rim is still primarily made of aluminum with an excellent-looking carbon outer layer.
To reinforce the weak parts on the rim, the carbon is concentrated to a depth of 30 layers on every spoke holes. Fulcrum achieves this by milling the aluminum rim after being thrust.
The RS80 is made of 16 bladed spokes made of steel and tied to Ultegra level hubs. Some would say otherwise- that they are nailhead semi-bladed spokes. Despite this remark, they are perfectly smooth and well-sealed.
The spoke nipples are not threaded directly into the rim, but instead positioned in a more conventional fashion and seating inside the rim wall.
Like most entry-level wheelset, the RS80 is made of aluminum hubs and steel freehubs. They can handle 8, 9, 10-speeds. It’s worth noting that Shimano is an innovator of today’s freehub technology ensuring every rider durability and reliability.
Like any hub, Shimano hubs are subjected to corrosion but cleaning them periodically may contribute to its preservations.
Some riders reported having tight hubs, but they can be easily managed by adjusting it for a smoother feel and tightening the hub back after running 500 miles. But Shimano recommends to adjust it when necessary, then leave it alone until time to overhaul.
Every section of the RS80 is impressive giving riders a cross between an aerodynamic ride and a deeper profile when subjected to grinding and hilly rides. The RS80 wheelset outperforms other expensive wheels on hills and in crosswinds.
Drain holes are small holes in the rim, which are built on purpose to drain or evaporate out collected or condensed water that accumulates on the inner portion of the double-walled rim usually when mounting of the tire and tube is finished.
Without the drain hole, a collection of water inside the rim may happen, especially on wet rides and sudden change of temperature or humidity. In short, you are just getting an extra weight that contributes to the lightness of your wheels and possibly contributes to the corrosion of wheel components.
Weight and Capacity
The RS80 is considered lightweight at 1486g. Also, The RS80 doesn’t have any weight limit in terms of capacity so that it can accommodate light to heavy riders. Users may attest to the better deflection of the RS80 (5mm) for the 15kg load when compared to the Fulcrum (3mm) and Gipiemme (4mm).
This is a good indicator how the wheels will perform. The RS80 wheels are stiff enough, and brake rubs and flex are barely noticed.
With the RS80’s outer layer of carbon in the rim, it keeps things stiff to maintain a smooth ride even on rough roads. And under normal pressure, they are an excellent wheelset for longer rides. If you want an affordable wheelset for hilly rides, flats, and downs, the Shimano RS80 performs well for the money.
Typical Shimano wheels has a fit finish: clean, smooth, refined, and reliable. The RS80 has an understated look making it less-attention grabbing but at the same time sharp while not being obnoxious. Out of the box, you will surely notice how lightweight they are instead of their understated design.
I have reviewed comments and reviews from other riders regarding the Shimano RS80, and I am glad to share them in this guide. It is very essential to read first-hand user reviews because their testimonies will likely be what you will be experiencing.
Well, I hope you’ll be reading those verified testimonies and reviews rather than landing on paid or fake reviews. Overall, riders who bought this wheelset are satisfied and happy, especially in terms of its price, weight, and built.
Selecting Your Wheelset
When it comes to choosing a wheelset, there’s a saying that rings a bell to many bikers, “Strong. Light. Cheap. Pick two.” It’s a saying by Keith Bontrager that still holds true up to this day.
Since wheels are the ones keeping your bike rolling, choose a wheel that has smooth and dependable hubs, has high stiffness for tracking, capable of holding a tyre under pressure, provide a surface for reliable braking, and as much as possible lightweight while possessing all these characteristics.
Once you upgrade to a wheelset that hits these benchmarks better than what you have now, such as shifting to the RS80, you are stepping up your game. Improvement in your riding experience is measured by the following:
- Improved ride quality
Faster average speeds
Improved braking ability
Decrease on weight
Better acceleration and deceleration
There are four important parts of a road bike wheel that you need to understand to avoid confusion and to prevent any form of purchasing mistake.
The wheel rotates around the hub sitting at its axis. A freehub mechanism is typically featured on the rear wheel allowing the bike to coast while being able to move forward as desired. The hub contains the axle that attaches the wheel to your bike.
These are set of wires that lace the hubs to the rim. The number of spokes and the material where it is made from is essential to the strength and aerodynamics of your ride.
The spokes connect towards the center into a special nut known as a nipple. You can straighten a wheel by adjusting spoke tension through the nipple.
The rim functions to hold the tyre and provide a braking surface for bikes that are equipped with a rim-brake.
As I have stated above, there are few options you may want to consider apart from the Shimano RS80, which is priced reasonably with an all-around functionality. The RS80 relatively competes close enough to the below-mentioned products.
1.Shimano Dura-Ace 7850/7900
These models of Dura Ace are priced at $1300 and up but with a better hub that runs smoother than the RS80. Like the RS80, it can also accommodate 8, 9, 10-speed cassettes. The aluminum rim surface of the 7850 and 7900 are smooth and reliable just like what the RS80 promises though the former gets a bit of beating on some forums.
Unlike the RS80, though the design is the second priority for most riders, these Dura Ace models are flawless, simple, elegant yet modern.
Overall these wheels are something you would want for longer miles as well as for weekend club run. They may be aero wheels, but you can also get that with the RS80 both offering comfort, speed, and reliability. You can check the product here.
2. Mavic Ksyrium
Starting at $1000, you’ll have a hand of one of the Mavics that boasts their ride quality and weight with clean and straightforward construction. They are a significant upgrade for enhancing the performance of your road bike.
Like the RS80 they fall on then lightweight category due to the integration of techniques during the manufacturing period. They use their own allow that is lighter and stronger than their regular counterparts. Also, they used inner spoke milling to lighten up the rim.
All these technologies make the Mavic Ksyrium lightweight without compromising strength and stiffness, which we also love on the RS80. Know more about this wheelset here.
3. Fulcrom 3
Then Fulcom 3 is priced around $700 and up on some outlets. Yes, they may be cheap, but there are durability concerns you should be aware of most especially to riders with heavier weight. A lot of riders would still recommend this entry-level wheelset with great stiffness and rolling capacity like the RS80.
It weighs around 1558g, a little heavier than the RS80 but they also speed up easily. Learn more about the Fulcrum 3 wheelset here.
Overall, the Shimano RS80 gives every user a smooth ride although a little rough on some surfaces. It may not be as smooth as the Dura Ace 7850 or 7900, which has increased hub engineering and better bearings, but paying a little extra for the Dura Ace for extra smoothness in the ride is probably something you should think of.
If you are looking for an excellent overall carbon wheel for the money while being fast, versatile, and that is proven durable over time, you should take a look and consider the RS80. The carbon layer may be thin, but it makes a difference to the ride. Often, you can find this product offered at a nice discount through our partners. Find it here.