Here at BikeRadar we've talked a lot about Shimano's new road and mountain bike groupsets for 2013, in particular Saint M820, SLX and Dura-Ace 9000. So at Interbike 2012 we took an in-depth view at the shoes and appealing mid-range and entry-level wheels that will be hitting stores soon.
New aero shapes and tubeless options on the road
Shimano has revised its aero rim profiles for 2013, adding more width and slightly rounding out the nose across the board for lower drag figures and easier handling in crosswinds. According to Shimano, the new D2 rims' fatter shape also improves ride quality and rim stiffness, with the deeper tire bed providing more gluing surface on tubular options – a key feature for 'cross riders or roadies using the increasingly popular high-volume tire models now available.
Shimano has revamped many of its hubs, too. Thankfully, it's kept their key adjustable angular contact bearings (which are typically more finicky to set up initially than radial cartridge bearings, but more durable over the long haul) and forged aluminum bodies but switched to a two-to-one lacing pattern on rear wheels to help equalize spoke tension.
In addition, the non-driveside flange has been pushed outward for improved wheel stiffness. Naturally, all the new wheels will be built with wider freehub bodies to accommodate the company's new 11-speed drivetrains.
Topping Shimano's 2013 aero range is the new WH-9000-C75-TU carbon tubular wheelset, with 75mm deep, 24mm wide all-carbon rims plus hidden spoke nipples that are said to improve aerodynamics (albeit at the expense of serviceability). While aluminum freehub bodies would save weight, Shimano continues to use titanium for its better durability. Claimed weight is 1,545g (3.41lb) for the set, and retail price is US$3,499.
Spoke nipples are hidden in the rim on the new C75
Shimano will offer both clincher and tubular variants for the new 50mm deep, D2-enhanced WH-9000-C50, the former continuing with a conventional carbon fiber cap co-molded to an aluminum tire bed. Claimed weight for the clinchers is 1,672g (3.69lb) while the tubulars are expectedly lighter at 1,449g (3.19lb). Suggested retail price for the clinchers is US$2,399 and the tubulars will cost US$3,199.
Shimano's versatile, 35mm deep WH-9000-C35 tubular and clincher wheels will get the more widely spaced rear hub flanges and two-to-one rear lacing – but not the internally located spoke nipples or fatter rim profile. Interestingly, claimed weight for the tubular version (1,362g / 3lb) has gone up slightly, while the clinchers are now significantly lighter at 1,488g (3.28lb) – a loss of 144g. Retail price for the tubulars is US$2,899, and the clinchers will cost US$2,199.
We expect that the shallow-profile, 24mm deep clincher rims on the revamped WH-9000-C24 range might again offer the best ride quality of the bunch, with their thin-walled, supple aluminum-and-carbon fiber rim construction. These wheels carry on with last year's slightly narrower profiles and hub flange spacing but get new 11-speed compatible titanium freehub bodies.
Past experience suggests the C24s will provide a great ride quality
The standard clincher C24 will reportedly weigh 1,364g (3lb) while the tubeless version will be slightly heavier at 1,454g (3.21lb). Retail price for the clinchers will be US$1,399 – adding tubeless compatibility will tack on another US$100.
Two of the more exciting options for everyday use include the WH-RS61-TL (1,765g or 3.89lb) and WH-RS21-CL (1,850g or 4.08lb). The former features true tubeless compatibility, wide-flange hubs and all-aluminum rims for just US$499. The latter provides typical Shimano wheel build quality in a conventional tube-type, shallow-profile alloy clincher with 11-speed compatibility for US$379.
Cheaper 29er wheels for 2013
Shimano's MTB wheel range is mostly unchanged for the coming season, with the exception of a lower-cost pre-built option for 29er riders. The new WH-MT66-29 features a 24.6mm wide (external width) tubeless-ready aluminum rim that will require tape to be air tight.
Naturally, the aluminum hubs will be built for Center Lock rotors and will spin on adjustable angular contact bearings. Both front and rear wheels will be offered in quick-release and common thru-axle variants. Claimed weight for the pair is 2,025 to 2,065g (4.46 to 4.55lb) depending on axle fitment, and the suggested retail price is US$549.
The Deore XT M785 (left) and MT66
Clipless pedals and shoes for both ends of the spectrum
One of Shimano's biggest launches at Interbike was the new Click'R range. The PD-T700 and PD-T400 systems are aimed squarely at new riders thanks to their very low retention spring tensions.
According to Shimano, the two new semi-platform clipless pedal options are roughly 60 percent easier to clip in and out of, to help beginner roadies get over the fear of being attached to a bike.
Accompanying the new pedals are four new men's shoes and one women's-specific pair, all with casual styling and flexible, plus fully treaded soles for improved walkability.
Shimano's range of Click'r pedals and shoes is aimed at beginner road cyclists
Shimano has also replaced almost its entire road shoe range, with the SH-R241 being the lone carryover from 2012.
Heading up the new collection is the new US$380 SH-R320 road shoe flagship. It has a supple, heat moldable Rovenica upper and a new Dynalast full-carbon outsole with a flatter profile that Shimano claims generates less foot fatigue during long days in the saddle. It also boasts 11mm more rearward adjustability for the three-bolt cleat holes, plus a new heat-moldable insole with interchangeable arch supports and a trimmer fit relative to last year's model.
The US$200 SH-R170 looks to be the high-performance value leader for 2013, with a similar carbon sole and trimmer last but without the customizable fit. The US$150 SH-R107 offers even more bang for the buck with its hybrid carbon-and-nylon plate and more conventional mesh-and-synthetic leather upper construction.
Riders who prioritize price over stiffness can look to the SH-R088, which swaps out the R107's carbon fiber insert for a more economical nylon one.
Shimano's 2013 off-road shoe range gets two key changes, in the form of the SH-XC30 and the SH-M088. The US$95 SH-XC30 is more cross-country oriented, with a stiffer nylon plate and more sparsely treaded outsole, while the US$120 SH-M088 is aimed at general trail riding, with more aggressive lugs and additional armoring around the perimeter to protect your toes.