We had been testing a wheelset built up with the new ’08 hubset and Mavic rims for a few months prior to receiving the XT factory wheelset and while we were initially impressed with the XT hub/Mavic combination, this set blew us away. The factory wheelset was significantly lighter than the built set and actually rolled better. We wondered was this because we had an early hubset? Either way these factory wheels are great.
The spokes are straight pull with black double butted spokes. The machined rim is mated to the spokes with red anodised spokes. Whilst these carry the tag factory built it is a bit of a misnomer as these are actually handbuilt in the Shimano wheel factory in Malaysia with all final truing done by hand.
Tubeless ready they come with valves, spoke keys and skewers. The rims were easy to fit with tubeless tyres and once seated correctly they haven’t leaked at all. The wheels use Shimano’s Centrelock system, one which we like very much.
The big complaint about these wheels in the past has been that they are prone to damage. Whilst our test rider is not exactly heavy at twelve and a half stone, no problems with either dents or truing were noticed during the testing period and despite the best efforts of the tester during recreational rides and races they stayed beautifully true. For heavier riders who are worried about this Shimano produce a 20mm thru axle ‘all mountain’ version which is a lot beefier with only a slight weight penalty. However in our opinion, for general XC/recreational riders it shouldn’t be a problem. It should be noted that this is a true race performance wheelset as well. Mant of the features (and weight!) of this set are found on much more expensive wheelsets.
The performance from these wheels is far and away above their price tag. They perform like wheels twice there price and are very cheap at around €350 for the set. Top marks Shimano.
Rating – 4.5 out of 5
Pros - ease of setup for tyres, dependable, aesthetics, value for money, lightweight.
Cons - Heavier riders should consider the thru axle (is this a negative?).
Price – RRP €350-375