A couple months back I reviewed the Shimano Dura Ace C50 carbon clinchers and loved the ride quality and their rock solid build. A great all-round wheel.

Shimano lent me some of their newly redesigned C35 wheels to try out that I reluctantly traded in the C50′s for. In previous generation of the Dura-ace 7000 series wheelsets, the C24′s were one rim design while the C’35, C50, and C75′s were essentially another. Now, the C35′s have been re-engineered to share similar design and carbon layup as the C24′s, only with a deeper rim depth. The C50′s and C70′s are now split into their own design categories.

If you’re familiar with my other wheel reviews, you’ll know that I prefer my carbon clinchers to have an aluminium braking surface. I’m still not 100% confident on full carbon clinchers and don’t feel they brake as well in the wet. I’ll admit, there is some bias.

Shimano Dura Ace 9000 series C35 wheelset.

Shimano Dura Ace 9000 series C35 wheelset.

FROM THE SPEC SHEET:

• D2 Rim design optimises aerodynamics and stability
• New hubs for 2013, optimised for 11-speed system, utilising OptBal Spoke System to provide balanced tension = more rigid & durable rear wheel overall
• Extra wide hub flange maximises lateral rigidity.
• High strength, lightweight titanium freehub body
• Shimano angular contact bearings and oversize A7075 Alloy Axles
• 16 spokes front, 21 spokes rear
• 10/11-speed compatible
• Weight (without QR & rim tape) F: 662g / R: 826g
• ERP: AUD $2299/pair

Extra wide hub flange, titanium freehub body, balanced spoke design, oversize A7075 Alloy Axles, 16 spokes front, 21 spokes rear, externam spoke nipples.

Extra wide hub flange, titanium freehub body, 2:1 balanced rear spoke design, oversize A7075 Alloy Axles, 16 spokes front, 21 spokes rear, externam spoke nipples.

WHAT’S NEW IN THE 9000 SERIES WHEELSET?

• Bladed spokes
• Improved aerodynamic rim shape and carbon layup similar to C24 rims
• 2:1 balanced spoke design on the rear wheel
• 10- and 11-speed compatible freehub
• Wider spoke flange on the hubs

The Ride

As I said, I was expecting a compromise with a mid-depth rim. Kinda aero, kinda not. I can handle myself in the crosswinds thank you very much…

Not so. From the moment these wheels began moving me I knew they were onto a good thing. Every time I ride these wheels, I notice them. I notice how well they brake. I notice how smoothly they roll. I notice how nicely they accelerate. They’re a true pleasure to ride.

For me, the outstanding ride characteristic of the C35′s are how comfortable they are while keeping performance qualities (braking, stiffness, handling).

I would have no reservations whatsoever about racing on these wheels and certainly wouldn’t be thinking, “if only I had my race wheels on…” I’d also be more than confident using these as a training wheel. But let’s face it, it’s always nice having a heavy set of wheels for training so you feel like you’re flying on race day.

Serviceability

For an everyday wheelset, I like that these C35′s have quick access to the spoke nipples in order to true the wheel without peeling off the tyre.

I’ve spoken with a couple bikeshop mechanics to get their views on any re-occurring problems and maintenance issues with these wheels, and everything has come out positive. The notable thing about Dura-Ace hubs is that they don’t use sealed bearings (apparently because they roll better this way). The hubs are easy to maintain, the cups never come loose from the cones, and mechanics will tell you that they’re a dream to work on. Dura-Ace hubs have always had an excellent reputation, and the only difference with these is that there’s a larger flange. It’s good to know they haven’t played with this formula.

What’s Included

The nice thing about these wheels is that they come with all the accessories you need to get up and running. Rim tape, valve extenders (with seals), valve stem stabiliser, truing keys, high quality skewers, cassette spacer (for 10 or 11spd) and wheel bags. The only thing you need is a cassette, tubes and tyres and you’re rolling.

Competitors

Other wheels in the approximate range as these Dura-Ace 9000 C35s include the Zipp 202 Firecrests (read our review here), Zipp 303 Firecrest clincher (or Zipp 30), the HED Jet 4 FR, Bontrager Aeolus D3 carbon clincher (read our review on the D3 tubulars here).

WRAP-UP

Serendipitous
Unexpectedly one of my favorite carbon clinchers wheelsets in its class that I've ridden, hands down. Comfort and performance all in one, without compromising anything. If you're light, you'll benefit from the stability of these 35mm rims in the crosswinds. No matter who you are, you'll enjoy their comfort. If you're looking at a wheel for road racing and training without the hassle and expense of owning two sets of wheels, I'd strongly consider the C35's. Weight (without QR & rim tape) F: 662g / R: 826g (CL). ERP: AUD $2299/pair
GOOD STUFF
  • Beautiful ride quality (stiffness, handling in the wind)
  • The build quality is superbe
  • A perfect balance between practicality and performance
  • Comes with all the accessories required to get you rolling (skewers, valve stems, bags, etc)
  • Good weight for a wheel in its category
  • 10 and 11 speed compatible
BAD STUFF
  • Not inexpensive, but in line with competitors.

CTECH RATING

9.5

Performance
10.0
Presentation
8.0
Value for money
8.0
Quality
9.0

Disclosure: Shimano advertises with CyclingTips and we would like to thank them for supplying these wheels for review.