Shimano continues to work on refining and expanding their affordable road wheel options by introducing a new 30mm deep profile aluminum clincher wheelset that brings some of their tech and aero benefits from higher-end wheels into their everyman Road Sport training wheels. The RS330 replaces the RS31 wheelset, adding one more spoke in the rear with an optimized lacing pattern to build a stronger more durable wheel. Their goal was to complete their 11-speed offerings with a low-cost alternative balancing rigidity, durability, and lightweight for everyday riding.
Roll past the jump to see where it fits in their aluminum road line up, as well as for estimated pricing and weights….
The RS-330 wheels are Shimano’s deepest aluminum offerings, with a 30mm profile for some affordable aero advantage (no word on rim width however, but the previous RS 30mm rim was only recommended for a 20-25mm tire.) Currently Shimano sells several 11 speed compatible aluminum clinchers in their more traditional 24mm deep profile with the cheaper RS010 & RS11, similarly priced RS21, and more expensive RS610 and Ultegra 6800 options. The RS330 wheels set them selves apart from the cheaper wheels, offering the high-quality Shimano-made cup & cone bearings that their higher-end wheels are known for.
Spokes are double butted aero stainless steel, with oversized aluminum nipples. Lacing is 16 spokes in the front and 21 in the rear with Shimano’s OPTBAL 2:1 lacing. The rear wheel lacing puts 14 spokes on the driveside vs. 7 on the non-driveside to equalize spoke tension, resulting in a wheel that both improves stiffness of the rear wheel and results in a wheel that tends to stay true longer. While not a lot of spokes for an everyday wheelset, the more material in the deeper rim profile and 2:1 lacing should yield a durable, if not stiff wheelset. The wheels are of course compatible with 11 speed drivetrains, but also work with 10 speed and previous drivetrains with an includes freehub spacer.
Shimano told us that weight wasn’t really a high priority for a wheelset at this level, as they see customers looking more for the proven durability That’s probably good, as the Shimano press release listed weights of 845/1179g front and rear, for a 2024g/ 4.5lbs, but the aero spokes and deeper profiles should balance out for a reasonably priced all-around wheelset. The WH-RS330 wheels will retail for about £250/270€/$400, and include a set of Shimano’s excellent internal cam quick release skewers.