I’ve been a happy user of Shimano wheels in the past – I rode a Dura Ace C24 for several years, and was very happy with them. I got the set on sale at Wiggle, and was a happy customer.

Here’s the thing though – it gets very expensive, very quickly to keep a set of wheels like this on the go once it’s time to change rims. Rims wear out – and good hubs (like the Dura Aces, things of beauty) deserve a second (third, fourth…) chance. For many such “system” wheels, hubs, spokes and rim are pretty much proprietary, meaning you cannot simply interchange standard parts. You’d need the right hub, the right spoke, the right rim… And you thus have less choice and are at the mercy of supply lines. It’s not just Shimano of course – I can remember a friend off road for a couple of weeks waiting on a Mavic spoke replacement.

0.6-0.7mm, time to change

For not much more than the cost of one RS80 C50 replacement rim, I can build a complete new set of wheels using the superb value Bitex hubs, top quality Sapim CX Ray spokes, 44mm profile carbon rims from Gigantex with an aluminum braking surface. And this is a wheel which is easier to maintain and repair if needed – standard J-bend spokes, standard hubs which can take other rims. And of course – hand built to precise tolerances and consistent, even spoke tensions which mean the wheel will last longer.

Off the shelf expenses