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With the foray into the world of 11-speed, Shimano suddenly needed a new team of wheelsets  to cater to its new super-gruppo.  Thus, the WH-9000 series wheelsets came to be. 

While most of these hoops are updates to previous WH-7900 offerings, Mr. Shimano and Co. have incorporated some innovations into their current lineup to bring them up to speed with current cycling trends.   Shimano has set two philosophical design goals with their latest wheels. These are the 'Blade Concept' and the 'Accelerating Speed Concept'. The Blade Concept, as the name implies, prioritizes slicing the wind. The Accelerating Speed Concept, on the other hand, deprioritizes aerodynamics in favor of being all-rounders. Aero considerations are still there, but acceleration and climbing come first. 

Today, we take a look at the WH-9000 C24 TL wheelset, a product of the Accelerated Speed Concept.  An evolution of the WH-7900 C24 TL, the 9000 series C24 natively supports the Dura Ace CS-9000 cassettes. Since Shimano chose to maintain their current spline pattern, the C24's can also be used with 10-speed cassettes. You do have to use the supplied 1.85mm spacer though since there's a difference in cassette length between 10 and 11 speed. 

Shimano reprised the carbon laminate approach to the C24. They bonded a layer of carbon fiber over thin aluminum to provide additional stiffness and strength to the rim while shaving weight.

Shimano lists rim width at 20.8mm wide. As can be seen in the image below, the sidewalls are almost flush with the brake surface. Rim depths are listed as 21mm for the front and 23mm for the rear. 

TL indicates that this is the RoadTubeless variant. 90g heavier per pair than the plain clincher (CL) version, the weight disadvantage is partially offset by discarding wheel tape altogether (~30g). Manufacturer claimed weight is 1,454 grams. While not exactly flyweight, the hoops are light enough for some extended climbing action.

The hubs got a major level up as they are now full Titanium whereas the 7900 was only part-Titanium.  These come in a sexy satin black painted finish. Unchanged is Shimano's traditional cup and cone bearing design. Shimano is known for its durability (hence DURA(bility)-ACE) and per their dictum, cup and cone is the way to go. Indeed this is a reliable and robust arrangement. As a bonus, the hubs can be serviced by any reasonably competent mechanic with basic shop tools. 

Also carried over are the 16 and 20 spoke count and thin bladed spokes which both contribute to aerodynamics and weight reduction. These also promise not to give nasty surprises in sudden heavy crosswinds.

We're not too hot on this year's graphics though. The labels are smaller, subdued, monochromatic and tame compared to the 7850/7900's, which flaunt the brand for all the world to see. Adding to our eyesore are the funky wavy/tribal silver-gray colored swoops which adorn the rims.  The look comes out as neither stealthy nor sporty.  While not downright ugly, these take some getting used to.... and when you do, you still know at the back of your head that they will never be as sexy as the graphics on the old C24. 

Mr. Shimano, can we have these graphics back? Pretty Please???

We initially mounted RoadTubeless Hutchinson Fusion 3's to these fine wheels. However, we gave up due to some major issues with the tires. Most locally available Fusion 3 stocks have developed cracks where they were folded, necessitating the use of sealant to hold air. To add to our frustration, even the sidewalls of the Fusion 3 began to leak air near the logo. This is very disappointing considering our positive past experience with their Fusion 2's. 

Keeping in mind previous issues with Dura Ace wheels and some sealants, we decided to forego RoadTubeless altogether and mount our erstwhile favorite tires, the Continental GP4000s. In went matching Race 28 Light inner tubes to complete the combo. As previously mentioned, rim tape is not required as the inside surface is perfectly smooth.  

On the road, the new generation C24's deliver what C24's of old always have: stiffness and comfort. While these two properties are often at odds with each other, the C24 somehow manages to deliver both in spades! Rough asphalt vibrations are muted enough to give road feedback without being uncomfortable... and take note, we tested at 120psi. There is no doubt in our minds that lowering this to between 90-115 PSI would result in an even better ride.  

When the time came to amp up the watts, the rear springs into life, and rapidly propels the bike forward... almost taunting us if we're giving it all we've got!   

Freewheeling is silky smooth. If you're after the tunog mayaman (loud ratchety metallicsound, then these hoops aren't for you.  The sound the C24s make is suave and muted. Easily drowned out by traffic.  

Braking is very good, although we have to give half the credit to the excellent BR-9000 stoppers  we have in our Foil. 

Looks aside, The 9000 series C24-TL's are hard to fault. Neither a purist climber nor full on aero, these wheelsets do everything else perfectly and then some. It takes what's great about the C24's of old, adds incremental - but much appreciated improvements and gives us a new standout all rounder.  Add to that Shimano's bulletproof reliability and you have yourself a winner. 


Solid all rounder. Bulletproof and tubeless-ready. Graphics are a somewhat off but only by a little bit.

Click here for my review of the Dura Ace 9000 C50!


  1. HAHAHAHA, you bought it days after we first saw it in Cristy's! Good one! :D

  2. haha i think you're confusing these with another set of wheels i was looking at. :)

  3. Will these wheels work with a campy gruppo equiped bike?

  4. Campagnolos have different freehub spline patterns. Won't work.

  5. I just bought these wheels and tested them today on a fast 20 miler. Mounted Maxxis Padrone tires on them with Stans sealant. An amazingly comfortable, FAST and stiff ride. I'm really blown away by these wheels, albeit I have one major complaint. Being somewhat weird about having useless (non decorative) stickers on my bike, I peeled off the yellow "braking surfaces wear" warning sticker. Result: the finish of the wheel peeled right off with the sticker. Unacceptable. Not sure if to bring it up with LBS where I bought them or call Shimano.... Besides this issue. I agree with the author..

  6. Hey, Hawaii50.

    I'd just like to caution you on using Stan's with dura ace rims as i encountered some nasty experiences with rim pitting/corrosion in the past. I suggest you switch to CaffeLatex until we can be sure that Stan's won't do damage.

    Wow, taking off the sticker really did that? I guess you can check with the LBS on that. Fingers crossed on that though.

  7. Armand,

    Thanks for the heads up on the Stan's. Yesterday, I got a rather large puncture in the Maxxis and the sealant worked enough to finish my ride and add air when I returned home. Today, I topped the tire off, but at about 30mi the hole opened up again and started spraying sealant. It sealed, but now I can't manage to get anything over 80 psi into the tire without it leaking. Are you familiar with how to patch a tubeless tire? or is there something more permanent I can inject into the hole without removing the tire? How effective is the CaffeLatex compared to the Stan's?

    Yeah, I covered the bare spot on my rim with a thin top coat of clear nail polish. Looks perfect. Beware of pulling stickers off laminate carbon surfaces I guess.



  8. Frank,

    I've had incredible luck and totally avoided punctures with my Hutchinson's when I was on tubeless.

    My recent encounter with Fusion 3's leaking via the sidewall put me off enough to ditch tubeless altogether in favor of the traditional inner tube.

    I would suggest automotive tire patches to repair the puncture from the inside. This should prove tough enough, Although I have yet to see this in practice, the patch is cheap and easy enough to try.


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