Shimano Road Sport WH-R500 Wheelset Review

WH R500 300x225 Shimano Road Sport WH R500 Wheelset Review

The Shimano WH-R500 wheelset sits at the bottom of Shimano’s entry-level Road Sport series. And that’s where it belongs. This is a no-frills wheelset, designed as a stock wheel on entry-level road bikes, just to get new riders out on the road.  If your bike came with the WH-R500 wheelset, that’s okay for now, but you will want to upgrade your wheelset before you change anything else on your bike.

The bare minimum

The Road Sport wheelset doesn’t have much of Shimano’s innovative technology.  Don’t look to this wheelset for aero spokes, counterbalanced rims, or top quality hubs. And at 1884 grams, these are some heavy wheels. Spend a few hundred dollars to put a wheelset like the Shimano WH-RS20-S on your bike and you will see a big difference – your bike won’t be much lighter, but it will roll better!

On the plus side, the Shimano WH-R500 is compatible with 8, 9, and 10 speed cassettes, so it will have a popular place as a stock wheel. And at $189, they are cheap, but this really isn’t a wheelset you’ll go out and buy – it’s one you’ll end up with when it comes with your bike.

Temporary wheels

If you find yourself with a Shimano WH-R500 wheelset, then go out and enjoy riding your bike, but plan to get a better wheelset soon. Despite their weight, the WH-R500 isn’t all that strong. They have a reputation for brokes spokes and hub bearings that don’t last. That said, they are sturdy enough to take 1,000 miles of so, but next spring splash out and get yourself a new wheelset.  If these are still safe, sound and true, then by all means put them in the garage as a winter training set and ride them until they fail. These are cheap wheels to repair, so new bearings and a few replacement spokes shouldn’t be a reason to throw them out.


If you bought a bike and it came with the Road Sport WH-R500 wheelset, don’t be disappointed. This wheelset will carry you safely for a season or two until you are ready to step up to a lighter, faster wheelset.  In the meantime, you’ve got a good enough, strong enough, pretty enough wheelset and you didn’t pay a lot of money for it either.  When you eventually get your fancy new light wheelset, keep these and bring them out for your wet winter training rides – it will be like going for a ride with an old friend.

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