Shimano Ultegra WH-R601 wheelset

Shimano WH R 601 wheelset Shimano Ultegra WH R601 wheelset

Shimano WH R-601 wheelset

Shimano’s components are well known by their respective quality levels, from Sora at the bottom end up through the super light, super fast and super pricey Dura-Ace.  All bike riders sooner or later learn the Shimano lexicon, at least for brakes and drive trains.  For some reason, Shimano hides the ranked names behind a very impersonal code, and the Shimano WH-R601 wheelset is one of those. The R601 falls into the Ultegra heading, which usually indicates Shimano’s second tier behind Dura-Ace.

Ultegra by name

Sadly, the Ultegra connection pretty much ends at the name. At 1690g, these aren’t terribly heavy, but they aren’t light enough to earn the Ultegra label. They look good, but it’s a pretty plain aluminum rim with a black anodized coating. Underneath, there’s not much innovation and no significant new technology.  That’s not all that surprising; Shimano has been heavily focused on big improvements to their Dura-Ace wheels, which have really raised their game for 2011.

Is the Shimano WH-R601 wheelset a disappointment? That depends on how you get them. If you are out to buy a better set of wheels for your bike, then even at 1690g, chances are you can find a better, faster wheel for less if you shop around manufacturers like Reynolds, Mavic, or Easton. But if you got these wheels as stock on a new bike, then you’ve done well.

A good stock choice

Stock wheels are usually the shortcut on a new bike. To allow for better quality in more complicated components, most manufacturers cut a few corners with the wheelset they fit to their complete bikes.  The premise makes sense; wheels are a lot easier to upgrade than drivetrains, and most riders – once they get the bug of riding –will upgrade their wheels before too long.  More seasoned riders and racers probably already have a favorite wheelset – or two – they plan to use anyway, so what’s on the bike doesn’t matter.

However, with the Shimano WH-R601 wheelset, bike buyers have some options.  New riders can ride them quite comfortably for a few seasons – although Shimano wheels do tend  to need regular truing.  Serious riders and racers can be pleased if they get the Shimano WH-R601 wheelset; even if they swap them out right away, the R601 makes an excellent winter training wheelset, or a super set of back up wheels for the wheel car on race day. These aren’t wheels that many people are going to go out and buy, but if you happen to find yourself with a pair, then there is plenty you can do with them.  They deserve to be ridden, so get out and use them!

More Wheelset Reviews

Shimano WH 5600 Wheelset

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... 


Shimano Ultegra is the workhorse brand of the Shimano line up.  As with most bicycle component manufacturers, anything beneath the top of the line groupset tends to benefit from the technological advances... 

Shimano 7900 C24 Wheelset

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...