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Wheels Cyclocross / Gravel Wheels
Description

Developing a carbon wheel for gravel use has been a slow process, no doubt amplified by the delayed release of the 2022 12-speed road collection. Still, with a properly engineered design and execution, the first GRX wheelset is available and ready to ride for all kinds of drop bar off-pavement use. The WH-RX870 TL Disc Wheelset weighs in at 1461 grams bare and offers significant strength from a rim profile that is symmetrical and has a 32mm depth, with a 31.7mm external rim width. As the carbon rim features a tubeless channel with a 25mm internal rim width, the 700c RX870 is rated for tires from 32-50mm, making it just as adept for gravel racing and cyclocross, as it is for adventure, epic gravel events, and bikepacking.

Shimano won't release a single item without a rigorous engineering research and development project, and the RX870 is no different. The key concern was understanding that wider tires need wider rims to maintain lateral tire stability at low air pressures. That is well known across the industry, but the engineers at Shimano studied the complicated relationship between tire size, rim width, air pressure, and tire lateral rigidity to optimize the GRX rim width for the wide range of the 32-50c tires. In addition, the design team pursued the best balance of rim weight, strength, and profile in order to deliver an exceptional gravel-oriented wheel. It is not just a beefed up road wheel, although you could certainly use the RX870's on a road frame that accepted tires from 32-34mm if comfort and durability at a sub 1500 gram wheelset weight meets your criteria.

The RX870's are built around a GRX hubset that is built for more abuse than a road version, but in terms of quality, the RX800 series components are essentially equivalent to Ultegra road components. Shimano has been criticized by folks who believe that high quality cup and cone ball bearing systems are inferior to sealed cartridge bearings, but with Shimano's excellent Contact seal system and the pure serviceability of the hubs themselves, the traditional method is still the best in the eyes many riders and mechanics. The freehub body is an Ultegra-level steel version, which may add a little weight, but you don't need to worry about cassette cogs biting into the freehub splines, and the same Contact seals are used for excellent durability. A pawl-based, 18-point ratchet ring system delivers solid feel with 20° engagement.

The aluminum Center Lock disc hubset features straightpull flanges for 24 spokes, laced symmetrically. Black, bladed and double-butted stainless steel spokes carry high tension, but can move in the spoke-end socket of the hub flanges, which allows the rim a little more impact forgiveness, while also reducing risk of a vertical impact damaging the rim. This gives the wheel excellent strength and power transfer from the hub outward, while protecting you and the rim from impact forces. Shimano used the 2x/2x symmetrical lacing set-up to accentuate this balance. External alloy nipples allow for easy access for servicing.

This thru-axle centered RX870 wheelset truly demonstrates Shimano's vision for GRX: durable and resilient to the rigors of gravel and off-pavement use, with excellent performance and long-term value. Again, consider it the gravel-equivalent of Ultegra, which is Shimano's best selling performance component range. For everyday gravel riders who may event or race, or cyclocross riders on a budget, you'll be hard-pressed to find a better wheelset under $1400.

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Features

  • Durable gravel-oriented carbon disc wheelset with balanced width and profile for strength and tubeless performance
  • Can also be used for cyclocross, adventure and bikepacking
  • Recommended tire size: 700c x 32-50 mm
  • Optimized for balance of strength, tire size, rim width, air pressure, and tire lateral rigidity
  • Responsive acceleration and stability with impact forgiveness
  • Carbon rim spec: 32mm profile, 25mm IRW, 30.7mm ERW, Disc Brake only, Tubeless
  • Hubset: Shimano GRX, 24h Straightpull flange design, Center Lock disc, Polished cones, CBN / Polished steel bearings, anodized aluminum hubshell, Alloy axle, Contact seals; rear has steel freehub body, pawl design, 18-point ratchet ring / 20° engagement
  • Proven hubset system features excellent Contact seals and is fully serviceable; freehub body is replaceable
  • Spokes: 24h laced symmetrically 2x/2x F/R with stainless steel, bladed, DB (2.0-1.6-2.0) straightpull spokes, alloy nipples
  • Shimano's E-Thru axle system: 12/100mm Front, 12/142mm Rear
  • Freehub: Shimano HG11/12L Road (works w/ 9,10 road & 11s mountain) with proper spacer set-up)
  • Includes: tubeless rim tape, tubeless valves
  • Size: 700c
  • Finish: Carbon (Gray logo's)
  • Weight: 1461 grams; bare (639g Front, 822g Rear)
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