Shimano Dura Ace 9000 C35 Wheel Review

For us, we rarely ride in the rain but there are times when you just may get caught in a freak storm, especially during winter or fall riding. So for us, having an aluminum break track was definitely a good idea from a safety standpoint (plus if you’re bombing down a hill, you want to know you’ll be able to stop).

Now, after deciding on a clincher set, we still wanted a full carbon set because nothing beats that ‘all black’ look of a carbon setup. The deeper the carbon wheelset, the sexier it looks. However, in our case, we mainly ride flats but also have a bunch of rolling hills being on an island.

We wanted an ‘all rounder’ set instead of having two wheelsets, so going with a deep set might not have been prudent from a climbing standpoint. An all carbon deep dish wheelset surely would not be impossible to climb with, but at the same time you want to keep things light so you can have every advantage possible to break those personal records.

In our case, our Cervelo R2 came with stock Shimano RS010 alloy wheels, which weigh about 1848 grams. These wheels are okay for training, but they aren’t a spectacular set of wheels.

So what’s a person to do? Scour the web for countless reviews and personal experiences with a wide range of carbon wheelsets. We ended up choosing Shimano’s Dura Ace 9000 C35 carbon clinchers— check them out on our bike below:

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This 35mm aero rim is known as one of the best ‘all rounders’ out there. Weighing in at 1488 grams, it’s shaving nearly 400 grams off our old wheelset alone. While not being as deep as 50mm+ clinchers, they are able to handle cross winds, while being light enough to help you climb and aero enough to help you hold higher speeds on flats.

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While the 20.8mm wide rim is not as wide as the current trend of 25mm+, the Dura Ace 9000 C35 wheelset is still popular three years after its launch back in 2013. Shimano sponsors numerous teams in the pro peloton and Dura Ace 9000 wheelsets such as the C35 can be spotted easily all the time.

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While we don’t have any plans to race, we do crave the need for speed. Dura Ace 9000 hubs are the best in the business for smooth rolling and accelerating, with its “Cold forged, machined aluminum hub shell and oversized 7075 alloy axle combined with a titanium Freehub body,” according to the company.

The Dura Ace C35 is compatible with 8, 9, 10 and 11-speeds, while it has 16 stainless steel butted and bladed straight pull spokes up front, and 21 in the rear. The Dura Ace C35 graphics also look fantastic, while the skewers are some of the best looking out there.

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You won’t be able to find a bad review of the Dura Ace 9000 C35 wheels out there—everybody lauds them for their “bomb proof” capabilities, extremely well built standards, plus the ability to be aero yet helpful in climbs.

Wrapped in Continental Grand Prix 4000s II 25mm tires—which are top rated tires with the least amount of rolling resistance with added puncture protection—the Dura Ace C35 wheelset was amazing as immediately we noticed a huge difference in the way our Cervelo R2 felt.

Putting down power was instantaneous, with us able to feel the ‘torque’ of acceleration noticeably. Also, once up to speed past 30 km/hr, it was really easy to hold speeds. On flats, we found ourselves averaging 40 km/hr easily (with the C35s making a whirring noise when up to speed), whereas before with stock RS010 wheels, the moment we let up we’d see our speed drop immediately on our Garmin Edge 520.

We put the Dura Ace 9000 C35 wheelset to the test during a recent Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC) 2016 Spring Century ride, which involved flats, rolling hills and some hilly monsters. Armed with our new C35 wheels, climbing hills we were familiar with before was seriously a breeze, while on the flats we were able to maintain high speeds, even when freewheeling. Speaking of freewheeling, the rear hub’s ‘noise’ is not super loud, but you can hear its subtle buzz.

Other wheelsets we had considered included the Ultegra hub version from Shimano, the RS81 C35, slightly heaver but at more than half the cost. Other deeper carbon wheelsets we looked into were Reynolds Assault SLG and Dura Ace C50. But in the end, for having one do-it-all wheelset, the Dura Ace C35 really live up to the hype—and believe me, we’ve scoured pretty much every review on the net.

Coming in at an MSRP of $2400 CAD (we didn’t pay MSRP, we paid below $2K!), you can find the Dura Ace 9000 C35 for cheaper online and also at your local bike store, if you have established a good relationship with them. Thanks to Bill and his excellent crew at Trek Pro City Victoria for hooking us up.

Click here to buy the Shimano Dura Ace 9000 C35 Carbon Wheelset from Amazon.com.