A review of Shimano’s 50mm laminated clinchers.
Shimano Dura Ace R9100 C60 Review
I wasn’t quite sure how to review a wheelset and I’m certainly not going to make a habit out of it. There is only so much you can say about their roundness.
Conversely, there’s probably lots we could say about the aeroness at various angles of yaw and at different speeds but then getting that information in the real-world ain’t so easy unless you have a wind tunnel lying around. Which I haven’t.
I could probably say a bit about weight too by copying the information from the spec sheet. Yep. I ‘ll do that later.
‘Ride quality’ and ‘cornering ability’ are probably fruitful areas. But I guess I should have started out by cleaning it.
At least you know I’ve used it for more than a photoshoot. This is about 50 miles worth of Surrey mud and after a good hosing down.
These are the exact products I have and which I will be talking about: WH-R9100-C60-CL-F (front) and WH-R9100-C60-CL-R (rear) which were released in 2016 pre-TdF.
Background to Dura Ace (Wheels)
Shimano is probably best known for smaller mechanical components of all types for all kinds of bikes. Perhaps, in recent years, you will have come across their forays into electronics with Di2.
Dura Ace is the premium sub-brand of Shimano (Road). With Ultegra being the mid-range and Shimano 105 being the effective entry-level for readers of this post. I won’t discuss the other road systems; Tiagra, Sora, Claris, Tourney, etc..
There are two braking systems on Dura Ace wheels: R9100 (rim) and R9170 (disc).
There are options for tubular rim brakes (-TU), clinchers (-CL) or tubeless disk (-TL). These include full carbon rims and disk brake models.
C24, C40 and C60, sort of, refers to the rim depth in mm. You’d be forgiven for thinking that the C60 was 60mm. It’s 50mm for the CL version and 60mm for the others. Anyway, the larger the C number the bigger the rim.
The subtle differences and numerous parts to the specification get complicated; there is an abbreviated specification table at the end of this post as well as a link to the full specifications at Shimano if you want to the minutae of bearing cups and butted spokes.
As to the future? This range should be current until 2020/2021.
The R9100 Premium
The R9100 C60 wheels at first seem similar in specification to the R9000 C50 (from 2012).
Shimano’s press release , at launch in 2016, claims the following
Two new 28mm wide C60 and C40 rim platforms bring a stiffer wheel to enhance forward and side-to-side (lateral) power transfer and, with ultra-light carbon rim heights of 60mm and 40mm, are also designed to reduce air resistance. This allows Dura Ace R9100 C60 wheels, in a real world scenario*, to save 16W over Shimano’s current DURA-ACE 9000 C50 wheelset
According to Shimano, the following energy saving were found in the conditions of a cross wind at 7.5° on a 25c tyre when sprinting on a flat road: WH-9100 C60TU 1400g/set (16W saving) < New; WH-9100 C40TU 1331g/set (2W saving) < New; and WH-9000 C50 TU 1442g/set < Released in 2012.
Thus, if you are using tubulars, then 16w is a notable upgrade.
Or you could stick on an old tyre like this and probably lose 16w !!
The Dura Ace R9100 C60 reviewed here are sweet-looking hoops. Of that there is no doubt. I probably made a slight aesthetic mistake putting them onto an effectively all-black Cervelo frame. The metallic rim stands out too much (when clean 😉 ) and the all-black carbon rimmed ones would have looked better. My bad.
Although if you look at the DURA ACE writing on the rim you will see it is ‘stealth black’ or ‘shadow black. I think this gives the rim the look of near-complete blackness and hence the metallic rim stands out more. Compare that to other wheels, like my Mavic Cosmic Carbone, and they have bold white branded lettering and hence that somewhat detracts from the metallic rim.
Like you I have other frames and the Dura Ace wheelset probably looks better on those other frames. If I get some of my red Schwalbe tyres out of their boxes and onto the bike then, no doubt, those tyres will throw the overall bike aesthetics into the long grass. Never to be discussed again.
I’ve read a few comments about the aesthetics of the hub and spoke detail elsewhere. The hubs look pretty solid to me, the freehub is titanium folks; that should suit you nicely when your watts hit the 4 figures;-) The hub is not the sort of thing I look at.
I quite like the straight bladed spokes. I have seen calls for the return of the J-spokes…I mean, that really doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the ride.
The rear takes 10/11 speed Shimano rear cassettes.
They take ‘normal’ tyres. Normal sized clinchers. They need an inner tube.
You’ll need an inner tube with a longer than normal valve. I tend to use 80mm. Although I think the picture further below shows a 60mm one.
The Dura Ace R9100 C60 reviewed here are essentially a replacement for my cracked up Cosmic Carbone SL wheels from somewhere around 2012. The Cosmics seemed to be one of the Age Group triathletes’ wheels of choice back in the day. The R9100 fits the same cycling niche as the Cosmics, I don’t see them as an upgrade as such.
The R9100s probably are a bit stiffer, maybe a bit more aero and certainly a lot quieter than the Cosmics that have the rim coming loose somewhere ! Sure I can lift the bike up and spin the R9100 front wheel and it spins for longer than the Cosmic…maybe I give it a bigger push or maybe the bearings are just newer 😉
I’m a reasonable cyclist and I do parks and hills (Surrey) rather than mountains. So for the sort of speeds I go and the sort of terrain I go on, I see this Dura Ace wheelset as a ‘performance all-rounder‘ ie I’ll use them 70-80% of the time when outdoors. 90spi? Yep that should do nicely most of the time too.
- I’m not going to use them on a TT.
- I might use them on a windier race day in preference to a rear disk and 60mm front rims.
- In France later this year I’m going to be doing several 2000m vertical days, so it’s 50:50 whether I take these or scrounge some serious mountain kit from friends
- You will probably find that at most people’s cycling level, that the aero effect of the wheel will save you more than a lighter, minimally rimmed wheel. Just sayin’.
I like the traditional aluminium rims. More specifically, I like the predictability of the braking.
I’ve had a few comments over recent months with these wheels and over the years with the Cosmics and about the 50mm rims in general. “Isn’t it too windy for them?“. I generally never worry about winds up to 15mph and above that I’m often to wimpy to go out anyway 😉 The only issues, I find, are in gustier conditions where the higher winds can unexpectedly take the front wheel away slightly. Hey! Just go faster. Force vectors and all that.
I have no problems recommending this Dura Ace wheelset for the type of usage I’ve described. Are there cheaper and better options from brands you have not really heard of? Maybe. Do Waitrose beans taste better than Heinz beans? Errr. With Dura Ace you have a certain expectation of high-end performance. Well, at least I do.
I find it pretty hard to have niggles with wheels. My only issue was as follows.
Each wheel comes with a tiny circular, rubbery sticker that has a hole it goes around the valve from the inner tube, adhering to the outer rim. I think this sticker both stops the valve banging on to the rim (?) and helps keeps dust/water out of the rim innards. Bottom line: I couldn’t get it to stick down. And I was never sure either what would happen when it came to changing the inner tube in anger…surely it would come off then too?
Wheel size is 622x17C with recommended tyres sizes of 23-622 to 32-622
The C60 clinchers are 50mm deep. The rim width is 22.4mm front and rear. There are 16 spokes on the front and 21 spokes on the rear.
Specified weight is 832g (front) and 1019g (rear) giving an overall weight of 1,851g.
Price, Availability and Discounts
They are available now…and have been for a while! You will probably save money buying a complete set. You may well be able to get these cheaper at your LBS, especially if they have some sort of loyalty scheme like Sigma Sport (my LBS). Wiggle and Chain Reaction are also obvious places to look.
If you want to help this blog then use the links below to buy the wheels…or anything else for that matter. Thank you.
Detailed, Abbreviated Specification Table
|Brake Type||Rim brake||Rim brake||Rim brake||Rim brake||CENTER LOCK disc brake||CENTER LOCK disc brake||CENTER LOCK disc brake||CENTER LOCK disc brake|
|Average weight (w/o QR, rim tape, tubeless tape, valve stem, lock ring)||832 g||1,019 g||666 g||830 g||745 g||902 g||678 g||829 g|
|O.L.D. (mm) (Front / Rear)||100||130||100||130||100||142||100||142|
|Rim||Height (mm) (Front / Rear)||50 / 50||50 / 50||60 / 60||60 / 60||60||60||60||60|
|Width (mm) (Front / Rear)||22.4 / 22.4||22.4 / 22.4||28 / 28||28 / 28||24||24||28||28|
|Spokes||Number (Front / Rear)||16||21||16||21||24||24||24||24|
|Axle fixing method||QR||QR||QR||QR||12mm E-THRU||12mm E-THRU||12mm E-THRU||12mm E-THRU|
|100 x 12 mm||–||–||–||–||X||–||X||–|
|142 x 12 mm||–||–||–||–||–||X||–||X|
|Cup||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish|
|Cone||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish||CBN finish|
|Disc mount||CENTER LOCK||–||–||–||–||X||X||X||X|
|140mm Disc rotor compatible||–||–||–||–||X||X||X||X|
|Digital adjustment system||X||X||X||X||–||–||–||–|
|Grease holding function||X||X||X||X||–||X||X||–|
|Requires rim tape||X||X||–||–||X||X||–||–|
|Recommended size||23-622 – 32-622||23-622 – 32-622||23-28″ – 28-28”||23-28″ – 28-28”||23-622||23-622||23-28″||23-28″|
|Spoke||Material||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Carbon||Carbon||Carbon||Carbon|
|Nipple||Material||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|FREEHUB body||Material||–||Titanium (Rear)||–||Titanium (Rear)||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum||Aluminum|
|Color||Series color||Series color||Series color||Series color||–||–||–||–|
|Compatible Spoke protector||CP-W124||–||CP-W124||–||CP-W1460||–||CP-W1460|
|Note||–||* The adapter is needed to use 10-speed CS||–||* The adapter is needed to use 10-speed CS||* The adapter is needed to use 10-speed CS||* The adapter is needed to use 10-speed CS|