Gear News

Shimano Dura-Ace C24 R9100 carbon-laminated clincher wheelset – first look

Shimano’s lightweight carbon clinchers arrive for a thorough work over

Whenever Shimano launches a new group set, alongside it there’s usually a new set of wheels that complements the range. Back when the latest Dura-Ace R9100-series got released to the public, the same happened, with a range of Dura-Ace branded hoops also on the menu.

Naturally, it wasn’t just one wheelset, but a range to suit various uses. Three depths – 24, 40 and 60mm – and clincher and tubular formats were launched, all with rim braking to meet the needs of Dura-Ace R9100 and R9150 users. Disc brake-sporting R9120 and R9170 riders got tubular and tubeless-ready clincher C40s and C60s – but no C24s.

Let’s keep things focussed though: here we have the shallowest of the rim brake wheels on test, the C24s, in the clincher format that’s going to be relevant to most riders (and, to be honest, most pro riders when they’re out on their training rides).

Shimano’s Dura-Ace C24 wheels have a claimed weight of 1,453g

Interestingly, Shimano’s take on the carbon clincher design differs from most other wheel manufacturers – instead, it’s a ‘carbon-laminated clincher’. Rather than going fully carbon, the Japanese giant persist with the approach of including a thin alloy ‘lining’ within the laminated carbon exterior, which is then bonded using its own anodizing process using phosphoric acid. It’s only 0.7mm thick, but the idea is to improve strength and reliability while not adding much weight to the overall design.

That weight is claimed to be 618g for the front wheel and 835g for the rear, totaling 1,453g. Naturally, then, the C24s are pitched towards the lightweight climbing market or riders in search of a sub-£1,000 upgrade wheelset (these come in at £999.98). Significantly, Shimano also opts to use a traditional alloy brake track on the clincher wheels too, so on top of the reliability the alloy lining is supposed to provide, you’ve also got the proven benefits of a metal brake track too in poor weather.

Elsewhere the spec sheet looks impressive. The spoke eyelets are carbon reinforced, and the flanges are widely spaced so that rigidity under acceleration is promised to be high-level. The freehub body is made of titanium, while the freehub itself uses double-sealed cup and cone bearings that can be easily serviced.

The C24s fitted to our Canyon test rig, ready for action

You’ll find a 24mm rim depth (as the name suggests) on the rear wheel, while the front is shallower at 21mm. The external rim width is 20.8mm (15mm internal). Although you can use these wheels with 23, 25 or 28c size tyres, the design is a few millimetres narrower than we’ve come to expect these days, with manufacturers often opting to go wider to optimise the rim for use with plusher rubber. We’ll see how the C24s fare. A quick check of the spec sheet tells us that Shimano does plump for slightly wider 22.4mm rims in the equivalent C60s and C40s, , so we’ll look to get an explanation from the company as to why this is the case.

The C24s have been popular upgrade hoops with riders over the years, combining a lightweight design with the all-weather dependability of aluminium, so we’re intrigued to see whether they still hold their own. – and if the alloy-reinforced approach to building carbon rims still has merit in a time when full carbon clinchers are all the rage.

Website: Shimano

Something for the weekend showcases our pick of the latest tech to arrive at RoadCyclingUK. You can see more here.


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