I have a set of Shimano R500 wheels on my current road bike, but have just upgraded bikes; the new bike comes with the Alex ALX-295 wheelset (they come on a Specialized Roubaix). Lots of the roads have poor surfaces, so I need a set of wheels that is pretty strong. (I have read some stuff about the spokes on the Alex wheels breaking.) Due to the poor roads, I use Slime inner tubes - I got my first puncture after only about 60 miles!

The new bike has a different (better) cassette on, so if there isn't really any difference between the wheelsets, then I'd prefer to not have to swap it all over! In fact, I would only want to swap them over if there is a reasonable difference; I'm not a very experienced rider (yet!), so if the difference would only be noticeable to someone really good, then I'd prefer to not have to swap it all over! :)

Any advice as to which I should use would be most appreciated!

Thanks! =D

  • 1
    It's going to be difficult for anyone to say which set is better than the other, because one person's better may not be the same as someone else's. For sure they're not going to make a lot of difference as regards punctures (different tyres might, but not wheels). Criteria for differentiating the wheels could include weight, strength, and of course price. It sounds like you're already partway there if you can say that, for you, strength is critical. Which wheels have the higher rating?
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 15:16
  • Ah, I think you slightly misunderstood my question. :)
    – Sam OT
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:09
  • I'll have both available, so not really worried about price (2nd hand value looks about the same?). Basically, I'm interested in strength and performance (eg weight, aero, etc). Hopefully this helps to clarify! :) Thanks!
    – Sam OT
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:10
  • When I say price, I mean that a set of wheels that costs $2000 is probably better than one that costs $200. It's a crude measure, but it is a measure. But certainly some of the things you mention - strength and weight for instance - surely you can just look them up? Or in the case of weight, put them on a scale?
    – PeteH
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 20:19
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    More expensive wheels typically tend to be weaker and lighter unless tehy're built for strength (e.g. the touring wheels peter white sells).
    – Batman
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 7:43

1 Answer 1


Spokes on any wheels can break ... really comes down to how well they are built, the weight they have to carry, i.e., carrying more weight than they are designed for and the type of riding they are exposed to.

The Shimano WH-R500 wheels are lower specification wheels and I suspect the Alex ALX-295 are much the same. That said I believe the Shimano wheels are about 100 grams lighter than the Alex rims.

Personally if you are happy on the Shimano wheels you could swap them over, or if you prefer say have the Alex rims checked for trueness at a decent bike shop, but I suspect either way you are not going to change much if at all the bike's overall handling characteristics or "rideability" with changing these wheels around.

In the past I rode with Shimano WH RS 10 rims on a Giant CRX 1. These wheels would be similar to the WH-R500 and I did a good job of breaking spokes and cracking the rims until I got a wheel properly built.

Cracked Shimano WH RS 10 Rim

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    Thanks very much for that. :) I can't actually find a weight limit for either (apparently Shimano don't give one and I can't find much info at all about the Alex wheelset). I think I'll just stick with the Alex wheels (saves swapping them over) as they're supposed to be semi-aero (albeit 50g heavier in total - shouldn't make much difference?), but look to upgrade in the near future. :)
    – Sam OT
    Commented Jul 4, 2014 at 7:44
  • No worries. I don't think either manufacturer provides weight limits and Alex is probably the worst of the two for providing specifications. Just one of those things you need to see how it plays out. Wheels are a good upgrade down the track but once you start getting the urge :)
    – Aushiker
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 7:33
  • Yeah - I'm sticking with the Alex wheels as then I don't need to swap over! I'll probably upgrade though - maybe January sale... (if I wait that long! =P)
    – Sam OT
    Commented Jul 6, 2014 at 15:16

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