Shimano Dura-Ace WH-7900-C24 Review

Shimano 7900 C24 Wheelset 300x225 Shimano Dura Ace WH 7900 C24 Review

Shimano 7900 C24 Wheelset

Shimano’s 7000 series wheels – better known as the Dura-Ace line – have always found respect among serious riders and racers, but they just can’t seem to push their way into the market like other wheels from the likes of Mavic or even Zipp. There’s no doubt that the Dura-Ace wheels live up to their Dura-Ace nametag, but they just haven’t quite been light enough, fast enough, pretty enough , or –most importantly – cheap enough.

New carbon stable

For 2011 though, Shimano claims to have given the Dura-Ace wheelset stable a new lift in the 7900 series.  They won’t be out in the shops in the US until around February of 2011, so although I’ve had a glimpse of them at the big cycle expos I haven’t had the privilege to test them on a bike. However, the specification does look pretty impressive.

First of all, with the WH-7900-C24 you get a super light carbon laminate rim. Why laminate? Well it shaves off a little weight without losing stability, and it looks the part. Sure enough, the WH-7900-C24 looks very fast, and it should ride stiff and strong, especially with Dura-Ace alloy axles and hubs. The downside is the carbon laminate could mean a slicker braking surface.

Shimano convenience

As with most Shimano wheels, the WH-7900-C24 wheelset works with 8, 9, and 10 speed cassettes (admittedly with a spacer for the 10 speed); handy if you change out wheels a lot. The C24 is a clincher-only model, but that works for riders who like to be able to fix a flat quickly. Most bike shops carry Shimano spare parts and are trained to service the wheels, but to be honest these wheels look pretty tough so trips to the truing stand should be rare.

With robustness usually comes extra weight, and that’s the case here.  For a carbon (at least in part) shallow rim wheel like the WH-7900-C24, with a 24mm rim depth, you’d expect it to tip the scales at well less than 1380g, especially with the $2000 price tag. To be honest – and I haven’t ridden these wheels so there may be a secret hiding in there –I can’t see these wheels competing on the ultralight wheel market.  Manufacturers like Mavic are turning out comparably light wheels with a lot of fancy technology for that price, or even less. Sure, these are good wheels, but probably not good enough, or at least not cheap enough.

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