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 performance 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. Adding to their current lineup and bringing road tubeless to the masses is the durable Ultegra level WH-RS500 wheelset weighing in at just 1649 grams and built for rim brake use.
Shimano's aluminum rims with their machined brake tracks promise superior braking in all weather conditions. The 24mm deep rim profile ensure quick acceleration and a comfortable ride. The 20.8mm external width (15mm internal) provides great support for tires. 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 are big fans of Shimano's cup and cone bearing system as it has proven to be easy to adjust and maintain and it spins effortlessly. 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 and the wheels performed very well with our preferred road width of 25-28mm. The max recommend weight limit on the wheelset is 220 pounds. The freehub is 11-speed compatible and, with a 1.8mm spacer, can be used for 9 or 10 speed drivetrains too. The rim and hub are anodized grey and the stainless steel spokes and alloy nipples are black. Included are Shimano's excellent internal-cam quick release skewers and rim tape.
- Aluminum rims offer great braking performance
- Tubeless-ready design
- 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 spacer
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Reviews & Community
Do they come with a spacer for 9 speed?
Tried and True Ultegra Wheelset
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
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.