Having received a suitable professional battering with top teams such as Rabobank over the last 12 months, Shimano's WH-7850-C24-CL wheelsset has finally reached the real world. Better still, RCUK has managed to get hold of a rare pre-production set and, unlike the professionals of this world, we won’t have a mechanic with us for a quick roadside change so ride quality and durability will be at a premium.

Rim construction is aluminium/carbon laminate, with the latter bonded to the former using a patent pending phosphoric acid anodizing process. Shimano claims that a thin aluminium rim wall contributes to a more comfortable ride while the carbon shell provides the stiffness desired in a top flight race wheel.

Weighing in at 1300grames for the pair on our scales, the 16 spoke front comes in at a svelte 550g. The rear, Shimano only option, weighs in at 750g. Flattened stainless steel aero spokes are laced up to rather smart red anodised alloy nipples, which sit at the rim unlike previous Shimano offerings. It will be interesting to see if these can withstand everyday wear, tear and corrosion.

Hubs are up to the usual excellent Shimano standard, with the front hub sporting new pattern angled faces. Spindles are in 7075 aluminium alloy. SRPs are £249.99 front and £299.99 rear.

Personally, I am not a great fan of the all carbon rim for non-professional cyclists and the good value Carbon 1380 format seems to offer a nicely thought out alternative to more traditional all-aluminium wheels and ultra-pricey and ultra-stiff all-carbon hoops.

A summer of riding awaits used on a variety of frame materials which should give as good an indication of the quality of Shimano’s new hybrid wheel technology.

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