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We would never think of riding a mountain or gravel bike that wasn't shod with tubeless tires. The ability to run lower pressures and the increased flat prevention can't go unnoticed. While it's been a little bit slower to catch on with the road set, more road tubeless tires are currently available, and the technology, materials, and reliability have vastly improved. Shimano has been on the forefront of road tubeless know-how from the get-go and the Japanese bicycle component manufacture has been delivering tubeless road wheel options for over a decade. The durable Ultegra-level WH-RS500 wheelset adds to Shimano's current lineup and brings road tubeless to the masses is weighing in at just 1649 grams and built for rim brake use.
First, a note on naming conventions. Though it's now got a serial model number, RS500, this wheelset is an updated version of the Ultegra hoops that Shimano partisans have been training on for years. They're lightweight, reliable, and tubeless-ready, making them an obvious choice for those spring base miles in questionable conditions.
And speaking of questionable conditions, the machined brake tracks promise superior braking to carbon race hoops in all weather conditions. The 24mm deep rim profile ensures quick acceleration through low inertial mass and a comfortable, more compliant ride. At 20.8mm external and 15mm internal width, the rims aren't quite on par with the behemoths we're seeing on gravel grinders, but the tubeless compatibility goes a long way to taking the sting out of chipseal when mounted with tubeless tires in the 25mm range.
The front wheel is built to a high-tension on 16 stainless steel straight-pull spokes to deliver a responsive ride and increase aerodynamics. A 14mm oversize alloy axle increases stiffness, and we're big fans of Shimano's cup and cone bearing system, as it has proven to be easy to adjust and maintain. The rear wheel is laced with 20 spokes in a 2-cross pattern on both the drive and non-drive side and can handle high-torque big ring efforts without flinching. The freehub is made of steel which is quite durable and prevents individual cogs from digging into the body.
The rim bed is designed for road tubeless tires but is fully compatible with standard clincher tires and tubes as well. Tire widths between 23-32mm are fully supported, though we find 25-28mm to be the sweetspot. Regardless of tire size, the max recommended weight limit on the wheelset is 220lb. The freehub is 11-speed compatible, but with the included 1.8mm spacer, it can be used for 9- or 10-speed drivetrains, too. The rim and hub are anodized grey to tie them in with the rest of the Ultegra line, and the stainless steel spokes and alloy nipples are black. Shimano's excellent internal-cam quick release skewers and rim tape are included.
- One of the best all-around wheelsets for racers on a budget
- Aluminum rims offer great braking performance
- Tubeless-ready design alloys for more plush traction
- Steel freehub is durable and prevents cogs from digging in
- Cup-and-cone bearings are user friendly to maintain
- Compatible with 11-speed drivetrains, or 9- and 10-speed with included spacer
- Item #SHI00FT
What do you think about this product?
July 31, 2019
Docking a Star Because Of The Valve Stem
Seriously Shimano. Removable cores. Like, yesterday. Other than that, a good product at a decent price like most Shimano components.
January 3, 2019
These are a great pair of wheels as they are not super light race wheels but they are durable. This means you can go out and train and know your ride won't be interrupted by a mechanical, then when you switch to race wheels, you feel like you are zooming. The tubeless set up is awesome for training as you can get the best protection from flatting. I haven't used these much outside and can't wait to get more data when the weather turns.
October 1, 2018
Awesome wheelset for the money!
I bought these wheels to replace a set of Mavics that cost twice as much. I like these better for several reasons, mainly price. They feel smooth, fast, and they're tubeless so you can't go wrong. They're probably lighter than your stock wheels too! I also paired them with the Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tires and no issues. Shimano quality at a great price! My only complaint is the valve core is not removable on the stems.
August 20, 2018
I used these wheels on a BMC Grandfondo gf02. They ride smooth and are fairly light weight for how much they cost. They come tubeless ready and are easy to setup.
May 31, 2018
Tubeless on the Road!
I got a new bike and on my first ride I got a pinch flat. So the first thing I did was get this wheelset. I was already interested in tubeless because I like to do some dirt road riding occasionally. After putting these wheels on I immediately saw a 1-2 mph increase in speed, due to the less rolling resistance compared to the stock wheelset that came on my synapse. Also the fact these wheels came completely set up for tubeless was super nice. I got a pair of Zipp tubeless-ready tires and they mounted fairly well but I had to use an air compressor to mount the tires, but it was fairly easy. The only complaint that I have about these wheels is that the interior part of the presta valve is not removable, which makes putting sealant in the tires a bit harder.
April 30, 2018
Hot hot hot
I took these wheels out on their maiden voyage yesterday, and overall they performed well. This was a tough loop with cattle guards, dirt roads, poorly maintained pavement, and 4800 feet of climbing over 40 miles. These handled everything unflinchingly with one major exception. Coming down the major descent, these overheated the nearly the moment I'd touch my brakes. It didn't matter how fast or slow I was going, if I tried to come to a stop these got hot and refused to continue slowing. I have run this exact same setup with a different wheelset and never had this issue this bad. I don't know if I can keep these unless there is some setup modification which will help alleviate this. Ended up having to stop and wait for then to cool several times during the descent. Update: One thing i noticed out of the box was that the front hub (yes i mean front hub) seem to be surprisingly loud. a bit of a "shhh" sound came from the hub when I spun it. I made sure nothing was rubbing (e.g. brakes), figured it was nothing and have been riding them since without issue. However, after i put a drop of lube on each side i noticed that the hubs are not round. There is a visible wobble in the hub body itself. That seems sub-optimal.
October 21, 2017
Affordable Shimano Quality
Purchased the RS500 wheelset on sale at Backcounty in early September and admit to being a bit leary that Shimano was offering it's newest iteration of the Ultegra alloy wheel at this price point. A unique an interesting design eliminates spoke holes in the rim bed so no tape or strips required. The hubs I was sure would be the weak link...not hardly. Smooth as silk and surprisingly quiet Shimano incorporates traditional ball bearing and cup design so servicing compared to removing a press fit sealed bearing is simple and straightforward. Like the other reviewer I chose the Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tires in 25mm and yes mounting takes a little effort but soaping the rims before hand made quick work of it. I like to inflate a new tire to 8-8.5 bar and let it sit on the rim for 24-36 hours before I take it out and was very surprised that both front and rear held full pressure without sealant though doing so would negate one of the main advantages of running tubeless..so don't. I have two road bikes I ride regularly and the RS500 at 90 psi mounted on my 2012 Trek Gary Fisher is the go too for training in the large, hilly urban park close to where I live. I've banged these around now for about 500 miles and they remain true as the day they came out of the box. I'm a muscular 200 lb performance cyclist and very impressed how quickly these wheels accelerate, climb and hold a line in fast descents and corners. Overall at this price I don't know that you could make a better choice. Highly recommended.
August 29, 2017
Tried and True Ultegra Wheelset
For MY18, Shimano has updated their Ultegra wheelset and renamed it RS-500, not to be confused with a previous lower level R500 wheelset which wasnt super nice. For an every day reliable, reasonably light wheelset at an excellent value, these are it. They are also tubeless ready, which I'd highly recommend trying. I am able to run a Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tire at pressures as low as 80 psi for a buttery smooth ride, and with sealant inside I have had no issues with flats. If you cant swing the money to go to carbon, I'd highly recommend these wheels as one of the better alloy options out there.
April 8, 2018
I own a pair of these mated to the same Schwalbe Pro One tubeless tires. I've been riding the RS500's for eight months and they have wildly exceeded my expectations to the extent I'll ride these instead of my pricey DT Swiss 45mil deep CF wheels on days where I climb and descent more. Fast and sure braking, Incredibly smooth, low rolling resistance, and no rear hub chatter. Shimano quality and engineering make this one of the best sub $500 wheelsets on the market. At the sale price they're unbeatable. Buy them, you won't regret it.
September 16, 2017
Do they come with a spacer for 9 speed?
March 21, 2018
Compatible with 11-speed drivetrains, or 9- and 10-speed with included spacer