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Opinions on Ultegra wheelset

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Opinions on Ultegra wheelset

Old 11-19-22, 11:08 AM
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crn3371
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Opinions on Ultegra wheelset

Any opinions on Shimano’s WH-RS500 wheelset (700x15c)? I know they’re classified as Ultegra but it really sounds like maybe more like deluxe 105’s. The reason I ask is that my bike currently has 700x14c rims and already has marginal clearance with the mounted Roubaix Pro 25/28 tires (I have to partially deflate to clear brake calipers). If I buy any wheel wider than 700x15c I’m going to have to also purchase new narrower tires, which I’d rather not do. My old Tarmac had Ultegra wheels and I really liked how they felt so I’m hoping that Shimano’s latest version is similar.
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Old 11-19-22, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Any opinions on Shimano’s WH-RS500 wheelset (700x15c)? I know they’re classified as Ultegra but it really sounds like maybe more like deluxe 105’s. The reason I ask is that my bike currently has 700x14c rims and already has marginal clearance with the mounted Roubaix Pro 25/28 tires (I have to partially deflate to clear brake calipers). If I buy any wheel wider than 700x15c I’m going to have to also purchase new narrower tires, which I’d rather not do. My old Tarmac had Ultegra wheels and I really liked how they felt so I’m hoping that Shimano’s latest version is similar.

the 14 and 15c doesn’t sound right to me. I would imagine your bike could handle 23 or even 25 width. I have the “105” version of these wheels and they are pretty terrible. I keep them for backup in case my superteams assplode.
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Old 11-19-22, 12:25 PM
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Frame is 2012 Specialized FACT 8R carbon frame. Current wheels are marked 622x14c from the days of skinny tires. I have a thread in the mechanics forum detailing my clearance dilemma.
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Old 11-19-22, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Frame is 2012 Specialized FACT 8R carbon frame. Current wheels are marked 622x14c from the days of skinny tires. I have a thread in the mechanics forum detailing my clearance dilemma.

I bow to someone who has more knowledge. My 2001 ritchey doesn’t have this tight of clearance.
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Old 11-19-22, 01:15 PM
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I have a 6800 wheelset. Good and bad things about it.

I like the new hubs. Adjustment of the cones is a little tricky, but once dialed in they're good.

The 6800 has a no spoke hole design so that they can be run with tubes or tubeless without tape.

But, I did find they were tight when using tubes. I had to put a tube in one because of a hole mid-ride, and I could barely get the tube in. But, perhaps that is the way the tubeless goes.
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Old 11-19-22, 01:36 PM
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Unless anyone has a better suggestion I think I’m just going to get a set of Zonda’s from Wiggle or PBK. I’ll roll the dice on whether or not my current tires will still fit in the frame.
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Old 11-19-22, 02:25 PM
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Are you running Campagnolo or Shimano shifters and derailleurs?

Gearing?
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Old 11-19-22, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Unless anyone has a better suggestion I think I’m just going to get a set of Zonda’s from Wiggle or PBK. I’ll roll the dice on whether or not my current tires will still fit in the frame.
I am not familiar with Specialized Roubaix tires. Some (generally older) tire models were released back when 700x15C wheels were common. Thus, when they are mounted on more contemporary 700x17C wheels (e.g., Campagnolo Zonda), the measured tire width exceeds the nominal tire width. Going from 700x14C wheels to 700x17C wheels will make any mounted tire taller and wider, but hard to tell by exactly how much.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Are you running Campagnolo or Shimano shifters and derailleurs?
I suppose the OP can also upgrade to a set of brake calipers with greater clearance, assuming that there is sufficient frame and fork clearance.

Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Gearing?
But I don't see what gearing has to do with his issue?
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Old 11-22-22, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Unless anyone has a better suggestion I think I’m just going to get a set of Zonda’s from Wiggle or PBK. I’ll roll the dice on whether or not my current tires will still fit in the frame.
I had Ultegra (6800) tubeless-compatible wheels running tubes and Conti tires. I have fixed hundreds of flats over the years, but these was the first tire/rim combo where I was not able to get the tire off without damage, even with shop-grade irons and levers. I ended up deliberately cutting the kevlar beads. No more 'tubeless compatible' wheels for me. The wheels were great otherwise, relatively light, stiff and featured Shimano's superior cup 'n cone hub implementation.

I also have a couple of sets of Zondas, plus Sciroccos and Eurus wheels. Plus some mid-range Fulcrums. I would go with the Zonda's, or the Fulcrum 3's, which are basically the same wheel. Affordable, light, stiff and the yearly freehub servicing can be performed in minutes with no special tools. Make sure you get the right freehub body for your drivetrain.
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Old 11-22-22, 02:02 PM
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Is there something inherent in a tubeless ready wheel that makes installing a tubed clincher difficult? I ask because I have 3 different sets of wheels sitting in various carts waiting for me to choose one. They are Zonda, Racing 3, and DT Swiss PR1600. The DT Swiss got my interest due to the ability to go tubeless should I want to down the road. This is the first I’ve heard of tubeless rims not playing nice with tubed tires.

Last edited by crn3371; 11-22-22 at 02:13 PM.
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Old 11-23-22, 03:44 AM
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Yes, tubeless rims can be tricky to fit/remove tires. This can be true even with tubeless tires but it can be worse with tubed clincher tires due to risk of pinching the tube

With respect to your original post, I am in a similar boat: 28mm tires on a narrow rim, or 25mm tires on a wide rim, which one is better? Some of my frames have less clearance than your Roubaix, and most of them are set up with 25mm tires on 23mm outer width rims. They measure out to about 25-27mm true width. I might throw a 28mm tire onto a skinny rim just to see how it measures and feels. At the end of the day, I think what matters is the true width of the tire inflated on any particular rim, and setting the pressure accordingly. Obviously, need to make sure your frame can tolerate that configuration clearance-wise.
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Old 11-24-22, 02:20 PM
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Originally Posted by crn3371 View Post
Is there something inherent in a tubeless ready wheel that makes installing a tubed clincher difficult? I ask because I have 3 different sets of wheels sitting in various carts waiting for me to choose one. They are Zonda, Racing 3, and DT Swiss PR1600. The DT Swiss got my interest due to the ability to go tubeless should I want to down the road. This is the first I’ve heard of tubeless rims not playing nice with tubed tires.
Depends on the wheel. I have been using Campagnolo Shamal 2Way Fit wheel for almost 12 years. I have in that time had to once install an inner tube during a ride and one other time when a friend using the same wheels had a flat on a long ride. Both times I/we were back on the road as fast as if we were using conventional wheels and tires. However, after 12 years I have become pretty good at changing tubeless road tires. My last set(Hutchinson Fusion5) took me about 15 minutes to change. They pumped up and held air overnight without sealant which I injected through the valve stem the following day
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Old 11-27-22, 12:00 AM
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The Ultegra were panned in the reviews and are some the slowest name brand wheels. Yesterday after doing a ton of research I ordered Hunt Limitless Aerodiscs in 60s. Great reviews and comparable to wheels costing twice as much.
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Old 11-27-22, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rsbob View Post
The Ultegra were panned in the reviews and are some the slowest name brand wheels. Yesterday after doing a ton of research I ordered Hunt Limitless Aerodiscs in 60s. Great reviews and comparable to wheels costing twice as much.
What reviews were those? Define a "slow" wheel. Slower by how much? What criteria do they use to test how "slow" or "fast" a wheel is?

Also, the Ultegras vs. the Hunt Limitless Aerodisc 60's is like comparing apples to cheesesteaks. Different wheel, different purpose, different pricepoint.

Last edited by Lombard; 11-27-22 at 11:05 AM.
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Old 11-27-22, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Lombard View Post
What reviews were those? Define a "slow" wheel. Slower by how much? What criteria do they use to test how "slow" or "fast" a wheel is?

Also, the Ultegras vs. the Hunt Limitless Aerodisc 60's is like comparing apples to cheesesteaks. Different wheel, different purpose, different pricepoint.
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Old 11-27-22, 08:11 PM
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I bought these for my wife this summer. They definitely seemed to be at an Ultegra level, much better than 105. They came setup for tubeless with the valves installed, so I had to remove the valves for her to run tubed clinchers. They handle the 25s well. To me, they compare favorably to Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels.
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Old 11-27-22, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by gkamieneski View Post
I bought these for my wife this summer. They definitely seemed to be at an Ultegra level, much better than 105. They came setup for tubeless with the valves installed, so I had to remove the valves for her to run tubed clinchers. They handle the 25s well. To me, they compare favorably to Fulcrum Racing 5 wheels.
Are you talking about these wheels? Shimano Ultegra WH-R8170-C50-TL Wheels (Black (Shimano 12 Speed Road) (Wheelset) (12 x 100, 12 x 142mm) (700c / 622 ISO) - Performance Bicycle (performancebike.com)

OP is talking about these wheels: Shimano Ultegra WH-RS500 Road Wheelset - Tubeless - Components (competitivecyclist.com)
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Old 11-28-22, 10:43 AM
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If I recall, the RS500s were panned as being heavy and slow accelerating for the price, though I always found them to be pretty (always a fan of low spoke count looks).

I have a pair of Zondas on my Cannondale, and they seem perfectly fine. They accelerate faster than the OEM wheels on my other bike (Vision Team 30 disc), and maybe nearly as quick as the carbon wheels that replaced those Visions (Light Bicycle R45s with DT Swiss 240s). However, they don't seem to stay at speed as well as the carbon wheels - no surprise given their low profile.

My third bike has an ancient pair of Mavic Ksyrium Equipes that should probably be changed out next season - I'd have no qualms about replacing those wheels with another set of Zondas when the time comes.
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Old 11-28-22, 01:45 PM
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I don't know if the RS500 is any different, but I have a set of WH-6800's, which look identical except the 6800's are branded with "Ultegra" on the rims. The hubs are different than 105, they use straight pull spokes but still have the same cup/cone setup that most Shimano hubs have. The 6800 was machine built with proprietary Shimano bladed spokes.

I bought those wheels back in 2016 as a replacement set for an old rim-brake bike. They were reasonably light, and less than $400. My experience with them was solid - I never had to true them and had zero issues for 5-6 years and many thousands of miles. I used them for road, but also as a backup CX training wheelset, running 33mm CX clinchers on them. I had a LBS service the hubs once, but beyond that I rode them on two different bikes without issue.

Eventually the rear hub bearings got a little crunchy and I tried replacing them myself, but the bearing race/channel that the balls sit in looks like it was damaged and they won't spin smoothly. I think it can probably be fixed, but I've never bothered to figure that out. The wheels are still hanging in my basement - I don't really have a use for them anymore as my rim-brake bike just sits on a trainer now.

I never ran these as tubless, only using tubed clinchers in them. I don't recall tires being difficult to install on them, but again... I never tried to install tubeless tires which typically fit a lot tighter than clinchers.
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Old 11-28-22, 02:00 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
If I recall, the RS500s were panned as being heavy and slow accelerating for the price
It's an alloy rim brake wheelset that costs $400 and weighs around 1650g and is built around a narrow non-aero rim profile. They're basically the same weight as a Zonda or Ksyrium Equipe, but a few hundred dollars cheaper.
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Old 11-28-22, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
It's an alloy rim brake wheelset that costs $400 and weighs around 1650g and is built around a narrow non-aero rim profile. They're basically the same weight as a Zonda or Ksyrium Equipe, but a few hundred dollars cheaper.
The Zondas can be gotten for a bit less than $400 these days - I got my set for $380, and I've seen them drop to $326 today. The Zondas are also advertised at 1540g, though truth be told, mine came out to be measurably heavier than that, by about 100g.

I've never tried the RS500, just going by reviews I've read. I wonder if the reviews were dissatisfied given the Ultegra branding? After all, Ultegra drivetrains are upper-echelon, and in a world where carbon wheels are common, RS500s don't quite seem to fit.
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Old 11-28-22, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by aliasfox View Post
The Zondas can be gotten for a bit less than $400 these days - I got my set for $380, and I've seen them drop to $326 today. The Zondas are also advertised at 1540g, though truth be told, mine came out to be measurably heavier than that, by about 100g.

I've never tried the RS500, just going by reviews I've read. I wonder if the reviews were dissatisfied given the Ultegra branding? After all, Ultegra drivetrains are upper-echelon, and in a world where carbon wheels are common, RS500s don't quite seem to fit.
Probably. It always seemed a bit strange to me that Shimano sold $400 budget wheels branded as Ultegra. They changed that in 2019 when they rebranded the wheel as RS-500, and it doesn't actually say "Ultegra" on them.

In contrast, the new Shimano Ultegra R8100 wheels are all carbon/aero/disc and seem more on-par with what one would expect from an Ultegra part. They're also priced quite a bit higher.
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Old 11-28-22, 05:05 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la View Post
Probably. It always seemed a bit strange to me that Shimano sold $400 budget wheels branded as Ultegra. They changed that in 2019 when they rebranded the wheel as RS-500, and it doesn't actually say "Ultegra" on them.

In contrast, the new Shimano Ultegra R8100 wheels are all carbon/aero/disc and seem more on-par with what one would expect from an Ultegra part. They're also priced quite a bit higher.
If I hadn't already ordered my Light Bicycle wheels, I would likely have gotten a set of the R8100s - they seem to be quite competitive from a price/performance standpoint, only slightly more expensive and slightly heavier than my Chinese-branded rims, but hopefully with Shimano's QA and warranty behind them.
I actually recommended that a buddy of mine complete his bike with R8100s. Here's hoping those hubs are as quiet as Shimano's reputation would lead me to believe.
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