Straight from the production line at Shimano’s RS81 C35 wheelset, is an 11-speed compatible replacement for the RS80, and is equipped with a rim some 35mm deep.
These are a close relative of Shimano’s WH-9000 series Dura Ace laminate wheels (the rim profile is based on the top-tier offering), and as such share many of their sibling’s features.
Shimano have laced cold forged hubs with 21 stainless steel butted and aero profiled spokes at the rear and 16 at the front. The hubs are a cup and cone affair, which comes as no surprise as Shimano have long held the belief that this arrangement offer greater reliability and ease of service. The hubs run with alloy axles to shave weight. The freehub body is steel, which should prevent it from being easily marked; a problem with many of the alloy freehub bodies. The skewers have chromoly axles with alloy fittings and while they weigh 120g, they look well built, with the weight coming in at 1631 grams per pair.
Follow the spokes to the rim, and things become interesting, Shimano have laminated a carbon top section to an aluminium extrusion to make a composite rim that should offer good aero performance and reliability. Shimano claim rigidity, too, and say the wheel is suitable for sprinters and TT specialists. The hoop has been welded for strength and machined for braking consistency. The rim is 35mm deep and 20.8mm wide. The wheels are pitched as good all-round performers, indeed we can see them taking in some cyclocross action. Heavier riders should also give them a look.
We believe Shimano intend the RS-81 as a superior workhorse wheel: one that can be commuted upon all week and raced at the weekend. Shimano are known for their reliability and we suspect that these wheels might be found intact after a nuclear winter.
Size: 700c; rim 35mm x 20.8mm