Wheelset education, please! Minefield...

Hello fellow commuters,

I'm in the mood for cheapskate wheel shopping (not needed yet, but desiring...).

I watched a very educational video from Mapdec Cycle Works and I'm convinced with the guy's opinions on wheels under £500.

I have Triban RC500, still all stock. Recently changed with some frustration the bearings on the stock wheels (6063T6 Aluminium, 622 x 17C, 25mm deep, 28 spokes, 6000RS bearings, 10/11s Shimano HG freehub, 6 bolt DB, total 2,300g without QR). Wheel is true so it doesn't need replacing, but I'm having that "I want something better" spoilt feeling...

Bike is purely for commuting (nearly 2yrs old now), done just over 4,000miles in all weather. Commute is 18-20miles and elevation 1,000-1,200ft per leg. Considering going beyond 20miles per leg for some fun on tarmac & well maintained bridleway. Not planning on social or club rides.

I've got my eyes on DT Swiss P1800, but realistically, I don't think I'll ever pay up for just to commute (it's a desire than a necessity...). The video convinced me out of Mavic and Hunt wheels.

Why doesn't Shimano get any mention?

So this got me thinking - what realistic options are there for:

  • £150-200 budget
  • quick release (100mm front, 135mm rear)
  • disc brake
  • aluminium
  • ~2,000g a pair*
  • serviceable (i.e. bearings or cup&cone and freehub)
  • accessible spare parts

*I've got panniers, racks, 28mm Marathon + (will put on Durano+) so I expect that splashing on lighter wheels (500-700g less) will have no impact on the ride or feel.

Am I looking for a holy grail that doesn't exist here?


  • MidlandsGrimpeur2
    MidlandsGrimpeur2 Posts: 1,667

    I might be proved wrong, but in this day and age with the way bike and component prices have risen over the last 3-5 years, £200 will not get you a new set of DB wheels certainly not within your (entirely reasonable I might add) set of requirements.

    Even the cheapest sets from the likes of Mavic will be £300, and probably a touch more for handbuilts.

    If the desire turned into something a bit more concrete your best bet would probably be to speak to a few wheelbuilders, tell them what you are after and see what they may be able to offer.

  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 48
    edited July 2

    So here's the bit about being a minefield.

    Majority of DB wheels these days seem to come in 12mm thru-axle set-up. That's fine, there are TA-QR adaptors / end caps to use in some brands.

    But for some wheels (like all DB Shimano RX010, RS170, RS370...?) rear axle is fixed 142mm even with QR adaptors. RC500 is 135mm OLD (Sora 9 speed groupset).

    Well, that just adds the spanner into works. Minefield.

  • accountdeleted
    accountdeleted Posts: 48
    edited July 7

    Thanks @MidlandsGrimpeur2, I didn't notice your perfectly realistic reply. I agree with you 100%; thank you for confirming my thoughts.

    After some heavy few days of intensive research, I have come to conclusion that there is no point pending money on new wheelset for RC500. The absolute deal breaker with this bike is the combination of:

    • 135mm OLD
    • Quick release
    • 11 speed freehub (for 9 speed cassette)

    This feels an obsolete set-up now. Nearly every new road / gravel wheels seem to come in 12x100mm + 12x142mm trhu-axle and 12 speed freehub! Yes, some hubs have QR end cap adaptors (e.g. DT Swiss, Mavic, Bitex, etc. not Shimano!) but it also means buying these adaptors in addition to the wheelset (~£20-30 a pop x2 for front & rear...) so the price quickly racks up even if I find a good base deal. I've been looking at Merlin (really reasonably priced, but don't come with QR end caps) and eBay (battered second-hand or "as new, just come off my new bike" stock wheels from Roubaix or similar, again in 12x142mm). So I can't find any in my tight budget.

    Another option, as you rightly mentioned, is to go custom build. For a decent component and reputable craftsmanship, the price hovers above £400. I would have absolutely gone this route if cycling is my serious part of my life, but it isn't the case with me.

    I've come to conclusion that I'd have to settle with unexciting wheelset as long as I keep RC500. Options are Merlin's own brand wheelset, Shimano RX010, non-tubeless Aksiums, or some non-brand eBay heavy wheels.

    So... What is a good bike with thru axle for commuting...🤣