Shimano XTR wheels review£539.98

Tight, light wheels, but rims need care

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Shimano’s flagship wheels are similar to the less-expensive Deore XT model, but with optimal materials that reduce weight to pro class levels.

For a start the buttressed rim is Scandium alloy with 24 equal-spaced, super tight, but super skinny double-butted spokes threading straight into the hubs. They’re impressively stiff in use and come UST tubeless compatible as standard - they work fine with regular tyres too.. They haven’t got the best reputation for surviving wallops unscathed though.

They're sensibly trim rather than the lightest around - 700g for the front model and 845g for the rear one. Angular contact bearings support heavy lateral loading and the quick-release skewers are as light, classy and efficient as Shimano skewers have always been. Double-bearing, grease-sleeved seals keep crud out of the hubs and hold grease in.

The hubs are gorgeous however, with the fast pick up from the almost silent running titanium freehub. The fully user serviceable Shimano bearings are superb. Aluminium axles keep weight down and XTR Centerlock rotors are 30g lighter than Deore XT.

Wheel bags are included.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster tfhan the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK

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