I met a fellow Malmesbury cyclist after a ride last week and he asked me whether the deep rims on my bike were noticeable, and the honest were that they weren’t.
Last year, the Shimano R500 rear wheel on my Cannondale finally gave up after nearly 8 years, which isn’t too bad I guess – and, although some RS81 or Ultegra rims would have been nice, the half-price RS30’s (£130 from Merlin Cycles*) were the sensible choice just ahead of winter. While the RS30’s are still a ‘budget’ wheel in the Shimano range, they feature a fairly deep rim compared to the R500’s, but they have performed faultlessly.
As you would expect from a factory rim, they were true straight out of the box, and experience tells me that I’m unlikely to have any serious issues with them staying true. That’s a good thing, as Shimano wheels and hubs aren’t the easiest to adjust – it’s a little too fiddly in a home workshop.
Workshop note – Fitting the wheels was easy as well, but if you’re upgrading some old wheels, it’s probably worth checking that your drivetrain is compatible. I only say, as I was caught out recently when I was trying to fix the rear hub on my old Saracen and found that a new XT hub (to all intents and purposes identical to the 10+ year old unit on the bike) wasn’t quite compatible with the 7 or 8 speed cassette that was on the bike.
Despite the biblically wet weather that we’ve had since last October, I’ve got a good few rides on the wheels now and they’re properly run-in, with the bearings running smoothly. Being large white rims they tend to pick up the dirt, so that’s encouraging a better washing routine post-ride.
The one question my fellow cyclist did ask was what the wheels were like in cross-winds… it was a thought that hadn’t crossed my mind until then, as it’s not been an issue. I did set out on a run with Louis from Malmesbury out to Bristol, only to find ourselves battling a howling gale, and the crosswind as we crossed the A46 alongside the M4 (an exposed ridge of a road) caused us some real problems, but that would have affected any bike, so I can’t blame the RS30’s.
In summary, the Shimano RS30’s are a great value training/commuting , especially if you find them at reduced price.
* Note – my wheels are RS30’s, which have been superceded by Shimano RS30’s.
Update 30th Oct 2014 – I’ve been running these wheels for over 18 months now and they’re still smooth and straight. None of the spokes have worked loose and, although I’m quite happy to tackle wheel adjustment, I’ve not had to tighten anything. Louis (now 13) has recently adopted the Cannondale and the RS30s, and he’s riding well – he’s certainly not complaining that the set-up is heavy, as he’s regularly tanking past me on the likes of Horsley Hill (part of the Tour Of Brtain route).
If there was a niggle of any sort, it would be that you can’t shirk on the cleaning with these wheels – there’s a lot of white to scrub up after a countryside ride and those little oil spots you pick up smear readily on the glossy surface. But then I guess that this encourages you to be just a little more thorough with the post-ride cleaning, which can only be a good thing… so it’s actually another ‘plus-point’ in favour of these wheels.