Ultegra SL Wheelset Review by Gary Lee
Shimano Ultegra SL WH-6600G
- 24mm 6061 Aluminum rims
- Offset rear rim increases rear wheel rigidity
- Bladed & butted spokes, 16 front/20 rear
- Oversized hub and axle
- Ice Grey in color
- 10-speed compatible only
- Weight - 1,680g (pair)
- MSRP - $530
The Ultegra gruppo is more than adequate for the weekend warrior or even a serious racer. The price range is attractive and you don't lost that much to the higher end Dura-Ace gruppo. Ultegra users over the years have benefited greatly from the trickle down technology of the Dura-Ace DNA, with its smooth, short throws, and light weight characteristics.
This is very true of the new Ultegra SL wheelset in the stealthy Ice Grey color option. The wheelset is decently light, affordable, and due to the new rim profile and spoke nipple design is stronger and stiffer than the previous Ultegra models.
One concern voiced to me during a group ride was the lack of lateral stiffness with the older Ultegra wheelsets. According to him during hard cornering the spokes on the earlier generation models would flex to the point that his wheel magnet would make contact with the sensor and he'd hear the clicking it made when it rotated. Obviously a bit un-nerving when you're at speed on a tight turn bunched in a group!
However, with the new design moving the spoke nipples to the hub, coupled with the offset rear rim design, Shimano has created a much stronger and stiffer wheel. In my testing I took some [oft hairy] s-turn descents and had no flex issues as was affirmed in previous incarnations. I felt very confident throwing the bike through the turns.
The only issue I had was with my rear wheel magnet. I had to adjust my Garmin sensor out a bit on the chainstay due to the new offset rear wheel design on the non-drive side. The offset design moved the spokes out just enough to require this small adjustment. Garmin's cadence sensor is a bit bulky compared to some other computer sensors so you may not have this issue with other brands.
After a few more rides I really began to appreciate the wheels more and more. This is a very good all-around wheelset that doubles as a solid training wheel or entry-level race wheel. The light weight and stiffness of the wheels helped with both climbing and acceleration. The wheel is durable and stayed true even after a couple potholes I neglected to steer out of the way of.
They were also deceptively fast. Other wheels I regularly use seem to spin much smoother. But out on the road these accelerated nicely and kept me going smooth and fast on the straights and steep descents. The Ice Grey color of SL wheelset is also a nice compliment to the SL Gruppo that I currently have on my bike. I received many compliments on the wheels while on my rides.
There are other wheelsets in the price and weight range of the Ultegra SL's that you may also consider. But Shimano is constantly developing and improving their products. And this wheelset if proof of that evolution with improvements such as the new offset rim design and spoke nipple design to create a stiffer and confidence inspiring wheelset that's great for those countless training miles as well as race day. So when you're shopping for a good set of wheels, don't overlook the Shimano Ultegra SL WH-6600G.