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New 2011 Shimano Dura-Ace Carbon Tubular, Clincher Wheels

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2011 shimano dura ace carbon wheelset wh 7900 c35

Shimano’s gone carbon on several new Dura-Ace spec, perhaps teasing at the prospect of carbon cranks in the future (don’t hold your breath). Just unveiled are their new C35 full carbon tubular and carbon/alloy clincher wheelsets.

First seen as prototypes under Pro Tour riders over the past year, the new C35’s have finally passed Shimano’s quality control testing and are now available to the every man. Shimano claims they have most of the aero advantages of their deeper section C50 (50mm deep) rims, but weigh 75g less per rim, and 155g total weight savings per wheelset. Given that the weight savings are at the rim, the pros have said they feel a lot snappier and faster.

The rims are crafted with high modulus carbon through a proprietary manufacturing process and then assembled by hand in Shimano’s own wheel factory. In fact, each wheel has its own control number that can be traced back to the specific builder, so like most higher end wheels these days, they’re not just mass produced.

Hit more to see the clincher, get full tech specs, pricing and weights…


Per usual, the tubular wheelset comes in much lighter, in this case owing in part to its full carbon rim construction. The clincher, shown above, uses an alloy clincher/brake track section bonded to the carbon dish, providing very similar aero advantages but coming in 140g heavier for the set.

Shimano’s sticking to their tried and true angular contact bearing system, but they’ve upgraded the preload adjustment. Called “digital bearing preload adjustment”, it allows you to dial in the bearing preload much the same way you always have by tightening or loosening end caps. The potential problem with older systems is that once you’ve got the bearing preload just where you want it, you go and clamp the skewer down and add a compressive force to it, adding drag to the bearings. It can become a real game of balancing one versus the other to keep your wheels tight in the frame and spinning freely.

Shimano’s new system puts the skewer clamp force directly on the axle, which has no effect on the bearings, keeping the wheels spinning free and smooth even if you like to clamp hard.

With the focus on larger axles on mountain bikes, Shimano figured it couldn’t hurt to bump up front end tracking stiffness on the road, too. The axle on the new DA wheels grows to 12mm in diameter from 11mm on previous models. The rear axle stays the same.

Here’s the spec breakdown from Shimano:

35mm High Modulus Carbon Rim
– Improved acceleration performance by balancing aerodynamics & rigidity
– Shimano proprietary carbon rim construction
Digital Bearing Adjustment System
– Digital cone-bearing adjustment for better rotation performance
Angular Contact Bearings
– Cup & cone bearing for easy maintenance and longer durability
– Angular contact bearings are most efficient regardless of the angle of loading
Increased Axial Rigidity
– Oversized aluminum axles enhance rigidity by preventing compression and maintaining smooth rotation
– C35 Tubular : 1330 grams
– C35 Clincher : 1470 grams
– C35 Tubular: $2499.99
– C35 Clincher: $1999.99

Both wheelsets will be available in December 2010.

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13 years ago

The weight is pretty disappointing, as the Mavic Ksyrium SLs, with years and years of reliability to recommend them, are 1,485 grams, and half the price. As for their bearing technology, bearings are rated by the Annular Bearing Engineers Committee from 1-9. If they want to convince me they have better bearings, why the refusal to tout the grade of bearing?

I find it irritating that while bike mfgs are constantly touting frame and fork optimizations to reduce road vibration, and add vertical compliance, they continue to use radially spoked wheels which give a very harsh ride. For less money you can get custom built wheels with DT Hubs featuring ceramic bearings, DT Swiss Revolution 14/17 ga spokes and Mavic Open Pro rims (or whatever you like) for less weight, less cross-wind interaction, 3-5X the durability, maintenance at Bubba’s Bikes in nowhereville, and with 2-3X lacing, lose the harsh ride.

With a generally poor reputation in wheels, I’m afraid Shimano need to do more than up the ante. They need to come out with a game-changer visa-vie Mavic and Zipp. This isn’t it.

13 years ago

I don’t think the weight is disappointing at all… you’re trying to compare the Mavic with a 22mm rim to the Shimano with a 35mm rim. The shimano’s are right around the same weight yet have a much deeper rim. If you want an apples to apples comparison then look to Shimano’s C24 which weighs in about 100 grams less than the Mavic’s and at the same price point and is a very highly regarded wheelset. I think these wheels will prove to be popular although i am a bit disappointed the msrp on them is so much higher than the c24’s.

13 years ago

This wheelset had potential, but it looks like the only real plus of these wheels is updated graphics. First, its a complete shame that Shimano isn’t going to a carbon clincher. Only Mavic does okay with an aluminum braking surface, but every other serious wheel manufacturer is putting out strong and light carbon clinchers. Reynolds’ lower end carbon clincher “Assaults” are 46 mm deep and under the weight of these 35mm rims. Edge, Easton and even Zipp all make lighter “carbon” clinchers to this wheel. Using a aluminum strip causes integrity problems with the overall rim. Second, there is no indication that these rims are actually better performing wheels to previous versions, much less compared to competitors.

11 years ago

Your attempt at wright comparison is laughable at best weakpoint. You are comparing the wheelset weight of a totally non aero 22mm rim the Mavic with a 35 mm aero Shimano wheelset. Nothing worse on the internet han complte garbage info, no info on your part would have been a vast improvement

11 years ago

Using an aluminum brake surface means you actually have decent braking unlike a full carbon rim and no heat build up issues. Thats what it means, lol.

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