Shimano Carbon 1380 wheelset £249.99 front, £299.99 rear
Richard Hallett and I have been giving the long term test treatment to Shimano’s Carbon 1380 wheel sets but, while Richard has analysed and dissected the engineering of the carbon laminate technology with surgical precision, noting every nuance in their ride characteristics, I on the other hand had a simple aim; to put them through everyday abuse and, having dusted them down after 6 months of riding, assess their quality, longevity and value for money.
I have mated them to carbon, flax/carbon and aluminium frames and shod them with 23mm tyres from 4 different manufacturers and they have delivered excellent performance in all situations.
They are notably ‘springy’ whilst still retaining quick responses to rider input, either in thrust or direction. Personally I like a lively, springy set of wheels and often find factory wheels very efficient but slightly lifeless, a trait not shared by the 1380’s.
Unlike Richard’s set I haven’t had to wield a spoke key on them or suffered from any noticeable freewheel jump but top marks must be reserved for the hubs, which run as freely and smoothly now as they did in April. No adjustment has been necessary and, unlike some other factory wheels I’ve used over the last couple of years, there has been no seal failure in even this most torrentially wet of summers.
One thing is clear however; despite these wheels being a bargain and a fantastic choice for an upgrade wheel, I wouldn’t want to expose their aluminium spoke nipples to the ravages of salt-strewn roads.