Product Overview


Shimano XTR £499

Supplied with skewers and wheel bags / Weight without skewers 1562g

Shimano XTR is the only wheelset on test, other than the Mavic Crossmax SLR Discs, to have dedicated tubeless rims — where oversized alloy nipples screw directly into 24 elevated sections on the Scandium rim to avoid drilling the rim bed. The rim doesn’t carry a UST logo but it’s fully compatible with UST tyres.
Each straight-pull spoke on the XTR wheel has a flat surface on it, near the nipple, so you can hold it with the tool supplied to stop the spoke spinning when you adjust spoke tension. If you’ve ever had straight-pull spokes you’ll appreciate this feature but so far we’ve not had to touch the wheels.
The XTR hubs spin on a traditional cup and cone setup. This is to give an angular contact between the bearing surfaces and makes a lot of sense as hubs are subject to both radial and lateral loads. Obviously set up is more crucial, but seeing as the wheels come with a three-year warranty, if the cups wear-out as rapidly as the original XTR hubs you should be covered. Shimano also claims that the cup and cone has less resistance, but we found that the hubs don’t run quite as freely as the Mavic or Ritchey wheels. This is due to the additional sealing, not the actual bearings.
Shimano has doubled the pick-up speed of its freehub for XTR and it’s the fastest on test. It’s also the quietest, with very low seal friction so the chain doesn’t sag when you back pedal slightly to set up for a tight corner.
The Centre Lock disc mount (Mavic has a Centre Lock option on SLR) is easy to use and accounts for some of the weight saving on the Shimano wheels. But seeing as Shimano Centre Lock rotors tend to be heaver than the IS rotors, the weight savings aren’t as dramatic as they first appear.
Shimano has not reinvented the wheel with XTR. It has just combined all of the best aspects of current technology to produce a stiff, lightweight tubeless-ready wheelset with rapid freehub-body engagement and low inertia. It’s the sum of the parts that make the XTR wheels so good.