Shimano Ultegra WH6800 wheels£329.00

Ultegra transmission capability, turned up to 11

BikeRadar score4/5

The switch to an 11-speed version of the tough steel freehub was obviously necessary to keep the Ultegra wheelset compatible with its partner Ultegra groupset. Shimano hasn’t made the mechanism any faster-reacting, though, so it’s still slightly slow on the uptake and isn’t available in a Campagnolo version.

    The mid-width asymmetric rim is tubeless-ready and light, with small raised anchor platforms for each straight-pull spoke. Oversized flanges on the front hub have kidney-shaped cutouts while the rear hub’s have distinct block spoke terminals. The thickset rear hub is also extended on the offside for a wide bearing stance, while Shimano quick release skewers are among the smoothest operating and most secure around.

    The combined result is a surprisingly stiff and accurate ride despite there only being 16 front and 20 rear spokes, and previous generation Ultegra wheels have proved utterly bombproof in long-term use.

    Shimano is a rare manufacturer still sticking with user-serviceable ‘cup and cone’ bearings rather than cartridge bearings. The preload adjustment of the precision ground bearing races is now tool-free, which makes adjustment easier too.

    Ultimately, whether these wheels fulfil their potential to stay silky smooth for years depends on how well you learn the art of adjusting them – or at least knowing when they need taking to your local shop for a tweak. That means they’re not a wise choice for fans of totally fit-and-forget equipment.

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Cycling Plus is the manual for the modern road cyclist. Whether you're cycling weekly, an occasional new rider or a Tour de France fan you’ll find everything you need.
    • Discipline: Road
    • Location: Bristol, UK

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