Shimano 105 WH-5600 Wheels Review

Shimano WH 5600 Wheelset Shimano 105 WH 5600 Wheels Review

Shimano WH 5600 Wheelset

Shimano’s components are usually known names that reflect a level of quality, from Sora at the bottom up to the light, fast and costly Dura-Ace.  All cyclists sooner or later learn the Shimano lexicon, at least for brakes and drive trains.  For some reason, with wheelsets Shimano hides the names behind a very impersonal code, and the Shimano WH-5600 wheelset is a sneaky and surprising version of the middle of the range 105 componentry.

105 fits neatly between Tiagra and Ultegra, and never threatens Dura –Ace at the top. However, in Shimano’s trademark chainsets, 105 has been getting pretty close to Ultegra for low weight and high quality.  The Shimano WH-5600 105 Wheelset is yet another example of the 105 range putting Ultegra to shame. It’s hard to believe that this is the first ever wheelset actually labeled in the 105 range.

Surprisingly good wheels

As with most of Shimano’s wheelsets – apart from the brand new souped-up 2011 Dura-Ace – these wheels will most often turn up as stock wheels on a new complete bike.  Usually these stock wheels are designed to just tide a rider over until they can decide on a wheelset upgrade.  For more seasoned riders, stock wheels end up as wet weather training wheelsets or spare wheelsets for the race car.

There’s nothing fancy about these wheels; no clever new technology, no flashy decals.  But if these wheels turn up on your new bike, you’re in luck. What you’ve got is a decent set of workhorse wheels with a surprising twist – they are oddly fast. They certainly aren’t the lightest wheelset around, but at 1763g, the Shimano WH-5600 is respectable for a stock wheelset. They are also surprisingly stiff, and that makes them quite possibly faster to ride than the supposedly better quality Ultegra wheels, the WH-R601.

Super tough

One of the benefits of all of the Shimano 105 range is that you get pretty lightweight components without sacrificing durability. The Shimano WH-5600 105 wheelset is no exception.  These wheels are a little heavier and consequently pretty robust, so if you do upgrade these as your stock wheels, hang on to them for winter training. They can roll over bumps and potholes without needing constant trips to the truing stand, and heavier riders will find them strong, stiff and stable.  With a retail price of around $249, they aren’t likely to be bought outright as a wheelset, but that price means a lot of lucky riders will end of with these as stock on their next new bike, and they shouldn’t be disappointed.

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