The Shimano WH-R500 provides an economical alternative for riders in search for a primary training wheelset. Listed at a price range between $200-$300, the WH-R500 wheelset is incredibly hard wearing that can survive harsh weather conditions and tension brought by frequent braking and road abuse.
Comparing it to other models of the same caliber, the WH-R500 is in a price range that performs quite well, being one-of-a-kind, rock solid, and a reliable wheelset introduced by Shimano.
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.
You can exhaust these sturdy wheels on the road while saving your lightweight wheels when they are truly needed. The R500 is perfect for your daily commuting during the day and a versatile training wheel on the weekends.
The round spokes and the aluminum and steel construction of the WH-R500 are nothing but the basics, but the actual performance over the years tell us that the WH-R500 can stand up the test of time. They hold up well and survive aggressive use and able to endure situations that you don’t want to subject your racing wheels into.
Strong and rock solid, which are great for climbs and descents
An entry-level bike perfect for beginners
Economical price point
Some complaints of broken spokes
Not suitable for racing due to its heavy weight
Choosing A Wheelset
Weight is probably one of your top priorities when looking for a wheelset. It is a no surprise if you complain about the weight of the WH-R500. But when you realize that it is a basic training wheelset at this level, offering significant acceleration and speed, the R500 is a perfect catch that performs adequately and as expected.
For this purpose, you should be aware of the different features that will affect the overall riding performance of your bike.
Most wheelsets can last for a long time but be sure that is time-tested and weatherproof. It’s best if you can use it during summer or during a cold winter.
Manufacturers pay attention to the aerodynamics of a wheelset, which defines how smooth your ride will be against your weight and the force of the crosswind.
As much as possible, you want to choose a light wheelset, but light wheels wouldn’t always mean better performance. If you want to achieve something that makes you feel like flying in the air, choose a wheel that is both light, durable, and with a good rolling characteristic.
Friction. Choose a wheelset that gives you firm brake friction that will make stopping easier in all kinds of weather. Today, some brands incorporate UB technology that mills the braking surfaces of the rim for better brake friction.
Choose a wheelset that fits your budget but remembers, not to sacrifice your comfort and the bike’s performance with a cheaper option. Always go for the quality and besides, wheels are your investments.
Features & Benefits
Rims and freehub body. The R500 features durable aluminum rims, oversized steel axles and a freehub body with a freehub shell made of aluminum. The anodized aluminum rim profile of the R500 contributes to the durability of the product and the wheel’s resistance to corrosion.
In terms of compatibility, the freehub can fit with various cassettes such as 8-, 9-, and 10-speed cassettes. Because of this beefy, steel structure, the R500 is much heavier than any of its counterparts.
If there’s something you would complain about, probably it would be the weight of the R500. But, you may never see a basic training wheelset like the R500 made reliable with the basic good components. No wonder, many riders would applaud the versatility of the rims serving during commuting and training.
The R500 is made of 20 round stainless steel spokes in a radial pattern in the front and a 24-crossed pattern spokes in the rear. Though the spokes are nothing but the basics, these wheels can run thousands of miles without significant wearing. For this reason, it’s a no surprise that the R500 is not a snappy option and not capable of race-level responsiveness.
Rim wear indicator
The R500 has a smart rim wear indicator, which allows safe detection of a worn rim. It’s a great practice to check your rims for wear every now and then. Wearing is a result of the friction caused by the brake pads when coming in contact with the rim’s braking surface.
Also, the rim takes a lot of aggressiveness and abuse from running bumps in the road. With the R500’s rim wear indicator, you can quickly detect any damage earlier before more serious corrective actions are taken.
The Shimano R500 has a semi-aero anodized 24mm rim profile, which is modestly elegant, offering aerodynamics without catching crosswinds. This defines the good rolling capacity of the bike since air resistance is the biggest hindrance when riding your bike and this drag force is the most important source of resistance to keep in mind.
For instance, the air resistance when riding uphill is one of the most prominent factors in the bike’s speed performance.
Weighing at 1884g (pair), the R500 is not a good option for racing since its focus is to provide an affordable, sturdy wheelset that will suit beginners as an entry-level bike for everyday use. Priced around $200, the R500 will fit anyone’s budget while enjoying the usual Shimano technology.
If there’s an easy trick on choosing any product or accessory for your bike, most experts would suggest reading forums from verified sources. There are quite plenty on the internet that I found discussing how reliable the R500 is, but I also suggest that always scrutinize those that you read and filter the ones applicable for your current or long-term goals and needs.
Thanks to the numerous review sites and its active users for giving verified testimonials about the Shimano WH-R500 wheelset.
Here are some testimonials that you may find useful:
There are excellent upgrades to the to the WH-R500, which are lighter, faster and compatible as a racing set.
This set of wheels are lighter when compared to the R500. It features bladed spokes with the same rim profile like the R500. The cost is 10% higher than the R500 but looking at the number of spokes, which makes it quite a little lighter, it suggests that it is not as durable as the R500.
This may be an issue to heavy riders. Still, beginners and pros have more positive reviews to say about the Mavic Aksium. Find it here.
If you want an ultimate upgrade with an impressive aerodynamic rim profile and bladed spokes, choose among Shimano’s Road Sports line like the RS20 or the RS30. They are priced a little higher but definitely a very wise upgrade. This second tier wheelset by Shimano is a durable bargain. You can check it here.
Fulcrum Racing 5
The Racing 5 is at the lower end of this Italian brand, but nevertheless, its specs are impressive. Priced around $400, they are more expensive than the R500. And like the former, the Racing 5 is strong, not too heavy, and weather-proof. If you are doing a bit of racing while being economical, the Racing 5 is a decent, race-ready option. Find it here.
The R500 wheelset is hard to beat in terms of price, durability, and performance. As an entry-level wheelset, it’s able to endure any kind of situation that you don’t want to subject your racing wheels into.
The R500 definitely live up to your expectation of being rock-solid, durable, weatherproof, and a slow-wearing machine. Besides, the point of a training wheelset is that it’s able to last during times of aggressiveness and survive the daily, harsh environment along the road.
Plus, you would want a durable wheelset you can throw on during the winter. Whether intended for daily commuting or harsh training, the Shimano WH-R500 delivers. Click here to check this product.