I put this wheel set on a new bike build and it is just right for the job. It's not the lightest or fastest wheelset out there, but it will provide a more than adequate wheels for training and competing at a price that is hard to beat.
I use these on my commuter bike, which is a 30 year old steel frame road bike - I am not particularly concerned with speed but more with reasonable cost and reliability.
I have just purchased and received a set of the R501 wheels and they seem fine - other than some slight differences in the branding stickers, they look the same as the R500 wheels I had on the bike for four years. The R500s need replacing because the rims wore thin from too much braking with gritty brake pads (apparently).
My main concern with these not-very-expensive wheels was that the low spoke count combined with the low cost and my weight, including a messenger bag of stuff for work, would not be a winning combination for spoke wear, but I never had a spoke on the R500s break and I am hoping for the same from the R501s. (I realize I could address this concern by buying wheels with 32 spokes, but I like the way these look and so far so good.)
Both the R500s and the R501s came trued and ready to go out of the box. Since these are more than a $100, the shipping is free, which is somewhat amazing for such a large-ish box.
My one quibble is that I am not very fond of the plastic rim tape that comes with these (and I guess most) wheels. It is easy enough to replace that with fabric rim tape.
On the other hand, you get a set of skewers and I guess Shimano never supplies so-called exposed cam skewers but anyway, it is nice to get good Shimano enclosed cam skewers. Even if I already have enough to last the rest of my life.
The business of assigning stars is subjective. These wheels are well worth $150, but obviously they are heavier and must have some other performance issues I'm not concerned with compared to wheels that cost several times more.
I just mounted my new Shimano wheelset WH-R501, with Michelin Airstop tubes and Michelin Pro4 Endurance tires 700 x 23C's. Also installed a permanent Shimano 10 speed cassette on my wheelset. Now I can swap wheelsets whenever I need to for either short runs, cleaning, or maintenance. I mounted the new wheelset on my bike, and all I can say is Oh My. I just came back from a test ride and they are so comfortable, and beautiful-looking; very responsive and just a really feel good ride. What a difference from the stock wheels that came with my bike. This wheelset will definitely become my long ride wheelset, and my original wheelset for short runs. I love them. Thank you.
Bought to replace a 20 year old wheel set to make older Klien roadworthy again. And to make older rider roadworthy again. Not the lightest but smooth and fast. Great Shimano quality for the price.
These wheels will dent easy if you hit a pot hole, etc. I'm only 170 lbs & have had 2 of them that eventually ended up with a dent in the rim using them for normal road riding. But they are cheap so can't really complain.
I needed some inexpensive wheels for gravel grinding and training for CX. It is amazing that wheels of ANY level of quality can be put together for only $150, so it's a hard to expect much.
However these are indeed decent wheels and seem to be strong so far. No tuning needed yet after a few hundred miles...I fully expected to be tightening spokes and brought a spoke wrench on early rides. No need.
The only thing I can find that would identify these as cheap wheels are the bearings, which are a little rough-feeling. Not that you would notice while riding, however that is where I'd expect to have problems first. Should be easily serviced though.
By the time that happens, I could just buy another set....,:-)
Bought as a replacement wheelset for my commuter, based on a friend's recommendation. They're a light, solid wheelset at a really good price. The only cons, so far, were the decals on the rims (they're not bad, they just clashed a bit with my frame and tires), but they were easy to remove. I've only had them on my bike for a few months, but so far, so good!
I put these rims on a 20 year old Trek 2120,whose frame and three chain rings I really like and it is quite an improvement. Much better braking and overall ride. I changed some other components as well so I and the bike are good for another 20 years!
I bought these wheels to replace the ones on my commuter bike that weren't holding up against the terrain here in Chicago. I'm 6 foot, 218lbs. Besides commuting, my rec. rides are 25-45 miles that avg. 16-17mph. I've put over 800 miles on these wheels so far and they are great! Bike handling and power response improved. They remain true despite some poorly executed curb hops and steep descents into various potholes. They are well made and nicely finished and definitely improved my bike's look. I paid $***** for this wheelset, well packaged and timely shipped. Five stars... A well built inexpensive wheel is a beautiful thing.