I got this wheel set after the back wheel on my newer Kestrel bike cracked. These wheels were so superior to the stock wheels, that I decided to buy a second set for my older Kestrel bike. The ride on both bikes has improved markedly. My local bike mechanic was even impressed with the quality. My wife and I ride daily, so these wheel sets were definitely a good investment. Also, delivery was prompt and all my questions as to the technical specifications were answered quickly and clearly.
I bought these wheels because they were on sale and I had good experiences with Shimano products.
When reading the reviews, I see mixed ratings. Some say they are great and then some say they had trouble with this wheelset. So what reviewers should I believe. I just got the wheelset so I have no miles in them yet.
All I can say is, they came in great condition, wheels run true and I hope the hubs live up to its name. When installing the tires, they were so hard to get on. I broke a tire lever. I'm running them with a tube so I'm not going tubeless. If I get a flat on the road, I'm worired on how much trouble I'll have getting the old tube out and the new tube back in. On my personal opinion, the front wheel has only 16 spokes. I'm worried how stable it is with just 16 spokes. With the rim shimano in using, it should have about 20 spokes.
I love Shimano groupsets, and I had a good experience with a pair of entry-level WH-R501s some years ago, so I was really excited to find an Ultegra-level Shimano wheelset for less than $300! Unfortunately, I found the RS-500s to be very flexy on the road, and didn't perform as well on descents as my $200 entry-level Fulcrum wheelset. Also, on a fast descent, I hit a small piece of road debris that I never did see, and ended up with a sizable gouge in the rim! I've hit much bigger pieces of debris with cheaper wheels and have never experienced such damage before. I don't think this wheelset lives up to the Ultegra name.
Fortunately, I was able to sell the Shimano wheelset, and the customer support staff at BikeTiresDirect helped me find a good deal on a pair of Easton EA70s, which vastly outperform the Shimano WH-RS500 set. Thanks, BikeTiresDirect!
I recommend either spending $150 for the bomproof (if a little heavy) WH-RS501 wheelset, or going upmarket and spending the the extra money for the Eastons, which weigh the same as the RS500s, but are much better wheels.
I bought this wheelset to replace my Mavic Ksyrium wheelset. After a year of riding with the Mavics, the back wheel became very 'sticky'-it just didn't spin well anymore. I had several technicians service it (clean out the hub, re-lube), but it remained 'sticky'. I also was not very impressed by the durability of the Mavics. I have been riding these Shimano wheels for a few months, and I love them. They may not be the lightest wheelset around, but they are certainly durable (durability is more important to me than weight where I ride, as the pavement has potholes and is uneven in many places). Overall, I am very pleased with my purchase!
I needed new wheels as my original wheels on my Trek died out and were causing shifting issues. I had the new wheels set up at my local shop and it's been smooth saiing since. I'm glad I asked BTD for their recommendation, as it was certainly the right choice. The price didn't break the bank, to boot! The wheels roll very nicely and they're trued to perfection.
These are pretty much the best deal out there if you want a slight upgrade from your stock 11 speed wheels. Surprisingly light, tubeless compatibility, smooth hubs, and unquestionable Shimano reliability.
We do road ride every day around 30 miles. Love the rim till it is time to fix a flat. We still use tubes so it is extremely hard to break the bead after it snaps in. You will hear it snap in when you inflate the tire. Need to find a fix for this problem.
Both hubs came egged shaped and both wheels out of true by a mile. Took these to a wheel builder to see if it was worth keeping them and he said hell no. The hoops could never be round with these below quality hubs. These have got to be factory seconds as Ive never seen this quality from Shimano.
Had a set of these before they rebranded them from Ultegra to the RS500. I ended up tacoing the front wheel in a sweet maneuver and had to replace the wheelset.
These are great quality. Excellent weight to price ratio, and as I mostly ride these on gravel, good durability too! So far at least.
I've had these now for a few months and probably have 500 or so miles on them consisting of several 25-ish mile rides and a few 50 miles rides. I've had no problems with them. They are smooth, fast, and attractive. I would have never believed that wheels, particularly at this price, would have an appreciable effect on my speed. But then there I was, looking down at the computer, ride after ride, until I became convinced that I had picked up 1-2mph. And the old wheels weren't particularly heavy!
There are lighter and faster wheels but get to a significantly better wheel, you would probably need to double the price and then some.
So, if you are a casual rider who needs to replace their wheels and wouldn't mind a modest increase in performance, get these instead of the bargain basement wheels. If you have an entry-midlevel bike with stock 2000 gram wheels, this would be a sensible upgrade (and weight saver) for those without unlimited budgets.
The hub is quiet-ish, not silent, but not annoying.