Earlier in the year I was down at the LBS trying to figure out what steps I’d need to take to turn my Tour Aotearoa rig into a race bike for the 2016 Hüttcross season. So it was very timely when ChainSlap asked if I’d be keen to demo a set of Shimano’s RX830 road/cyclocross disc wheels. Of course I wasn’t going to say no, I’d happily give them a run on my cross bike for a full racing season to see how they stood up.
Running Avid BB7 disc brakes meant a little bit of fiddling to get them set up.We tried a few Shimano and other 160mm rotors without luck, and I ended up having to order a set of Shimano Centrelock to 6 bolt rotor adapters, so I could use the BB7 calipers which apparently just don’t mate well with Shimano rotors. The adapters worked well and have proven to be solid and reliable, but a 6 bolt hub option would be good too, as they are available as Centrelock only now.
I fitted up some 30mm Michelin cross tyres tubeless which was a breeze with a floor pump. With a bit of sealant I never had a flat or came close to rolling a tyre off the rims (even after putting a ding in one which I discovered later). Shimano recommends a minimum 25mm tyre width so there are plenty of options if you’re going to take them on the road.
I ran an 11-speed setup although the rear hub is compatible with 9/10 speed cassettes using the spacer provided. The Centrelock hubs are Ultegra level with increased sealing for greater protection from mud and grime, so I felt confident knowing this.
I quickly realised these wheels were great for racing and commuting alike. They were really stiff, reasonably lightweight and quick enough off the mark to get the holeshot across a wet grassy field. I mainly rode them off-road, opting not to wear out my race tyres on tarmac, but the few times I cycled out to the start of Hüttcross, I was giving the roadies a run for their money. The Hüttcross season well and truly put them through their paces, five out of the six rounds were wet and wild which made for the usual tough racing conditions and they saw plenty of water, mud, and muddy water, but the rear hub never looked like jamming once, and kept running smoothly despite my less-than-stringent maintenance routine.
The RX830s felt like they gave me a bit of extra speed as they were a fair bit lighter than the stock wheels I’d ridden the previous season. They responded well to accelerations and cornered confidently due to their stiffness from the carbon and alloy rims. The spoke tension has remained consistent all season and while they could probably do with the touch of a spoke key, they are still running pretty true.
These are a reliable, reasonably lightweight, versatile set of wheels for a cross bike, a disc endurance/gravel bike or even road disc bike. You can chuck them on your roadie one weekend, and then go for an off-road mission the next. They look pretty slick too! For all the tech details have a look over here…
I’ll be reluctantly giving them back now that the season has come to an end.