Dura-Ace 9170 C40-TL-R12 Disc Wheelset Review
  • Overall score
4.5

Summary

The Shimano R9170 C40 TL Wheelset is a fantastic piece of kit, and we highly recommend it!

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Pros

  • Perform amazingly
  • Look incredible
  • Comes with Valves and Key
  • Proper Tubeless ready
  • Shimano reliability and quality

Cons

  • Regular servicing on the Cup and Cone Bearings
  • Not the cheapest wheelset
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Shimano is the biggest company in cycling, and they make incredible products that you will see everywhere, from the Pro Peloton to the bike rack outside your local grocery store. They have been in business for over 100 years, and they make some of the best equipment money can buy for cycling.

Shimano has different levels of equipment which come in at different price points. When it comes to groupsets, you have the low-end Shimano Tourney, the mid-range 105, and the top-end Dura-Ace. When a company like Shimano makes a high end set of wheels, you have to question whether they will be as good as a company that focuses on wheels alone.

The Dura-Ace r9170 c40 TL is their top end wheelset, and today we’re going to be telling you all about it. Let’s start with the code and break it down.

R9170-C40-TL-R12

  • Dura-Ace R9170 is the range it is a part of
  • C40 means Clincher 40mm, the material and height of the rim
  • TL means Tubeless ready
  • R12 means it’s for 12mm Thru axles

The Straight Facts

  • Weight: 1566g (Front 705g, Rear 861g)
  • Rims: 40mm Deep 24mm Wide Carbon
  • Cup and Cone Hubs
  • Straight Pull Spokes, Alloy Nipples

This is known as one of Shimano’s most versatile wheelsets on the market, and you will commonly see this used in the Pro Peloton. The wheels look amazing, and they have gone from quite heavy branding on previous wheelsets to a stealthy look that we think is a great update. The wheelset is a fantastic mix of lightweight materials and aerodynamics. To understand these wheels, the best thing to do is break them down into parts.

Rims

The rims are full carbon laminated ultralight rims. To be precise, they are 37mm deep and 24mm in width to seat the tyre. The 40mm deep is commonly seen on the market and is the choice of many cyclists who want to climb quickly but also get an aerodynamic advantage on the flats. They also make this wheelset in a 60mm version if you were looking for something deeper.

The 24mm width is to suit tyres up to 32c. Any larger, and you will find the tyre to be very rounded. These wheels are ultimately designed for road racing, and 24mm width is perfect for modern tyres as many cyclists now typically ride larger tyres. They are Tubeless ready and come with valves included. Unlike manufacturers who just put some Tubeless tape in for you to fit to tick the Tubeless box, these Shimano wheels work as proper Tubeless, so literally, you need to throw a valve in and chuck a tyre on, and it will seal.

Spokes

The wheelset has an interesting spoke design, and both the wheels have 24 spokes each. It would be best if you didn’t let that put you off after some intense testing and some very bullied wheels we are yet to even need to true them. The spokes are straight pull spokes with external alloy nipples, and Shimano provides a spoke key if you ever need to do any work to them.

Hubs

The hubs are another interesting part of these wheels. They have a titanium freehub body with centre lock disc mounts which is pretty standard. Shimano is still sticking with their cup and cone technology. You will find most wheels on the market now are cartridge bearings, and Shimano still refuses to go down this route. This does give an extremely smooth, frictionless ride, but you need to stay on top of the servicing for these wheels to remain at maximum performance.

When we rode it

When I got these wheels on the bike and gave them a spin, the first thing I noticed was I couldn’t believe how smooth they felt. They have the ability just to be turned and never seem to want to stop. I quickly popped on some 30c Schwable Pro Evo Tubeless tyres that were seated instantly and then got the bike ready to go out for a spin

The first time riding them was even more of a pleasure. They felt solid, and the wheelset seemed to carry you forward effortlessly. When coming up to some big climbs, the bike felt light, nimble, and agile, and I didn’t feel held back because of the depth. On the flats, I also thought they were effective and just seemed to glide along smoothly.

When it came to making some sprints, the wheels make an incredible carbon hum when they get up to speed on the right terrain and sound incredible. The freehub is relatively quiet, which I like personally, and when stopping, the wheelset has a solid feel as it brings you to a halt.

Overall

It’s a beautiful wheelset that performs. When it comes to Shimano, you know you’ll be getting a great product that works every time, and here they have shown that. You can see why Pro Tour riders are winning races on these wheels.

It does come with some drawbacks in the fact you will need to be getting those wheels serviced every 5000-10000 miles depending on where you ride them, but the cup and cone system, I feel gives these wheels such an advantage. They are not the cheapest wheelset on the market, but you know they will last, and they will carry on performing well for years.

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