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please opine: Shimano WH-R540 wheelset(11 posts)

please opine: Shimano WH-R540 wheelsetJS Haiku Shop
Jun 4, 2003 5:19 AM
i'll soon be building up another Merckx through GVH. ultegra 9.

he now offers the WH-R540 as an alternative to Open Pros--no price difference. i have three sets of OPs already--one SS/fixed, one Chorus 10, and one Shimano 9.

i'm an aggressive 200# rider. i'm thinking of a "fun" alternative to OPs at about the same cost. i've ridden cxp33s before and liked them, and plan to get another set eventually. a riding friend who outweighs me by 30-40 pounds (he's very tall, too) rides these wheels (the R540s), and likes them, and has no problems to report. he says they're a bit heavy, though.

of course if these low-spoke count wheels were my choice, i'd limit them to organized/supported centuries and local club rides--wouldn't want to be in the middle of nowhere without support and have 1 of only 16 spokes pop.

anyone ridden them? have opinions? suggestions?

any other wheelset suggestions? remember, same approximate price.


re: please opine: Shimano WH-R540 wheelsetc722061
Jun 4, 2003 6:37 AM
The front wheel is fine but the rear goes out of true often on mine. The wheels are nice though, the hubs are almost as smooth as Ultegra. I weight only 155 lbs.
My friend has a set...biknben
Jun 4, 2003 6:55 AM
He's weighing in at 180 or so and has issues with keeping the rear wheel true. Admittedly, he is know to be mean to his wheels but always seem to be out of wack.

I'm not sure what they cost so I won't offer alternatives.
Have the 535smleptuck
Jun 4, 2003 7:01 AM
The WH-R535s are, I believe an older version of the 540s.

I got them last July on a new bike, and was VERY wary of them before I bought. At the time I was pushing 240# and obviously had my concerns about 16 spoke wheels and my considerable girth.

The wrench at my LBS assured me large riders than I have crashed them fairly violently (including a broken hip on one rider) and he has seen firsthand the demolished bike, and very wimpy-looking wheels that if not still true, were certainly salvagable by a good wheel builder.

I've laid this bike down twice in the past year (gravel and wet leaves - ARGH!), albeit at low speed (<7mph each time) and have over 1700 miles total on the wheels and have experienced NO problems, other than needing to slightly tune (minor adjustments to 2-3 spokes per wheel, they were out of true to the tune of about 8-10/1000 of an inch or so) them up after about 1000 miles...

All in all, I'm quite happy with them.

I have 535'sScot_Gore
Jun 4, 2003 7:09 AM
WH-R535 are the older model of these wheels. On inspection at the LBS I can't tell the difference.

I have 4000 miles on mine. I bought the bike used, previous owner had @1000 miles on the bike when it came to me. So about 5000 miles on these wheels.

I'm at my lightest weight in years now at 228#s. Most of my miles on them I've been closer to 250#s. When purchased I said to myself, these low spoke counts will never hold up. I was wrong. They seem to handle my weight just fine.

I have broken one spoke. It was about 6 weeks ago just prior to a 200K brevet. I had the wheels throughly inspected by my trusted LBS. They got a good report. I'm no gingerly rider. The bikes job is to take me where I want to go, not dictate the where it will take me. If the roads rough, rocky, rutted, we go.

I have but one wheel set, the 535's. I ride them for everything, including unsupported rural Minnesota Brevets, I give them my endorsement, with that and $300.00 you can buy them with confidence. :-)

Another way to look at it... they are worth more on e-bay!shawndoggy
Jun 4, 2003 7:19 AM
I've been considering the same thing, and the one conclusion I've come to is that if I ride 'em for a bit and don't like them they are worth about $50 more on e-bay than a similarly (dime 'a dozen) priced set of shimano/OP wheels. Don't know why, but it's true, so they seem like the better investment.
re: please opine: Shimano WH-R540 wheelsetTWD
Jun 4, 2003 9:13 AM
I've got a set of the 535's on my cross bike. I weigh in about 205 (little bit more in the winter) and have bashed the snot out of those wheels. I've put about 2000 miles on them off-road trail riding and cross racing.

They went out of true in the first 100 miles or so, but I retrued them and they have stayed pretty good for the remainder. They have taken an incredible amound of abuse, since I'm convinced that my cross bike should go anywhere I take my MTB.

The one problem I have had is that the spokes on the rear wheel ping and creak on steep grades. I haven't noticed it on the road so much, but riding steeper stuff off road they make a lot of noise. One of the local fire-road climbs has a stretch of 24% grades. It sounded like my rear wheel was going to explode. Not very confidence inspiring.

All in all, I've been happy with them, but I usaully build my own wheels, so I by far prefer a traditional set of wheels that I can get rebuild or get spokes for at any LBS.

Oh, and one other thing, I've noticed that they are a little squirrely on the roads in cross winds due to the bladed spokes.
I have the 535's....scary slow
Jun 4, 2003 9:22 AM
My set has about 5500 miles on them and I have never trued them or repacked the bearings. I ride them hard too. I have raced on them numerous times without a hitch. My only complaint about the wheels are that they are definately on the heavy end of the wheel spectrum.
Yet another Clydesdale on 535s...The Walrus
Jun 4, 2003 11:32 AM
...on a 'cross bike. I haven't had a single problem (knock on wood) in the year I've had them, but their use has been about 75% road/20% fire road/5% singletrack, and I try to ride "lightly". I guess the issue that I have with them is that I can't see a single advantage over Ultegra/CXP33 or OP wheelsets; they are pretty heavy, and they don't accelerate well, but they
i do
look trick...
Some help....maybe.Dutchy
Jun 4, 2003 9:25 PM
I have the earlier version R535's. They are a good, solid wheel, cheap, and not susceptible to cross winds. They have never needed trueing. However they do make a some noise over bumps, and do flex when standing (rubbing the brake pads). As you guessed, not a good wheel for the middle of nowhere. I dropped a rear spoke and it was un-rideable, had to call for a taxi home, which took 1.5 hrs to get to me. The R540's are laced differently and slightly lighter, so they should be better.

I weigh 65kg/143lbs.


thanks, all!...JS Haiku Shop
Jun 5, 2003 5:43 AM
I think i'll go for the 540s and treat 'em with kid gloves. they're going for $150-$200 on ebay, so if they don't work out, i'll be able to get most of my $$ back out of 'em.

thanks again!