Dura-Ace C35 CL Wheels
Dura-Ace C35 CL Wheels
Words by Simon Whiten
Shimano Dura-Ace C35 clincher wheels
Shimano produce some very good wheels. We loved the carbon wrapped, aluminium rimmed RS80 wheelset we tested a while back – especially considering the price – and a lot of the team here have been using the very similar Dura-Ace C24 wheels for a while now with only positive comments. The new Shimano Dura-Ace 9000 C35 is basically an evolution of those 7900 C24s, albeit updated for 11-speed cassettes with new wider, stiffer hubs and of course, packing an 11mm deeper rim to earn that all important ‘C35’ designation…
Deeper it may be but the rim is still aluminium, very obviously wrapped in black carbon overlay. Shimano’s clever rim technology makes for a strong rim which combines the strength and weight advantages of carbon but retains the superior braking of aluminium. Best of both worlds.
The rim section is boxy and totally mimics that of the C24, arguably in keeping with the relatively shallow depth. However, Shimano attribute very positive aero performance to these wheels even though they may not look all that aero. We are assured that they are and we’ll have to accept this as we have no reliable way to test it… yet.
Aerodynamic qualities aside the rims look solid and durable, which promises that they will create super stiff wheels.
The C35’s stiffness is further enhanced by Shimano’s new wider, large flange Dura-Ace hubs. Traditionalists will be pleased to hear that the bearing set-up is still Shimano ball bearings acting on an oversized aluminium axle; why change something that is so fantastically effective?
The rear wheel has the off-set rim to increase ‘driving stiffness’. You get a sense of that off-set with Shimano’s OptBal spoke technology designed to create even more stiffness. Whilst up-front there’s a relatively normal 16, 272mm spokes, there’s an odd-number of 21 in the rear and they’re a mix of 14, 294mm spokes on the drive side, laced in a 3-cross pattern, and just 7, 272mm radially laced spokes on the non-drive side. Its very similar to Fulcrum’s 2:1 lacing and is very stiff.
Weight of our set is 691g front and 863g rear without skewers, which equates to 1554g, so they are not super lightweights, but then these are not designed to be. You buy these wheels as do-it-all race wheels. Hilly course, wet day, crit, whatever you race, these wheels won’t let you down.
And initial riding impressions are favourable, after their first outing gaining a 3rd place. The immense stiffness makes them accelerate like nothing else and in a sprint they just don’t budge. Its difficult to comment on how well they carry speed but the hub and bearing quality shines through certainly making them feel super fast… but you’ll have to wait for a full review to get the full low-down.
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Shimano UK (Madison)