Shimano R500 and Mavic Aksium are two popular models of road bike wheelsets. For those who are starting out with road bikes, it is normal to compare these two models when considering an upgrade.
Shimano R500 Features
Shimano R500 wheelset is an entry-level, budget-friendly wheelset. It is targeted at bikers who require wheels for basic training and daily commutes.
The R500 features an oversized steel axle, durable rims, and a freehub body with a shell made of aluminum. Its aluminum rim is anodized, which adds to its corrosion resistance and durability.
This wheelset comes with 20 round stainless-steel spokes in the front, laced in a radial pattern. For the rear wheel, the 24 spokes are in a crossed pattern for added strength.
This wheelset also has a rim wear indicator that helps you to detect when rims are worn out. The 24mm rim profile gives it an elegant design, and it also provides good aerodynamics.
On the flip side, some users commented that the spokes were prone to breaking, and the wheelset had difficulty handling riders who weigh above average.
Mavic Aksium Features
The Mavic Aksium wheelset offers road and tri bikers a nice upgrade. It is a popular low-to-mid-range wheelset with a great amount of weight from the bike, and it supports lightweight tires. It is also a great wheelset choice for gravel bikes.
This wheel is designed for 25c tires, although it can accommodate anything up to 32c tires. The wheelset is not light and is not meant to explore perfectly-paved roads, but it is best for riding on pitted roads.
Mavic Aksium’s popularity is mainly due to its sturdiness. Its hubs are made of aluminum, and it has a quick-release skewer. They are designed with 20 straight pull steel spokes on each wheel. These spokes are radially laced on the front wheel, while for the back wheel, it has a cross pattern on the drive side and radial pattern on the non-drive side.
The wheelset is structurally sound as it was designed using a technique known as H2 reinforcement. Although it is not as aerodynamic as some other wheelsets, it is very durable. Users have generally found the Mavic Aksium to be of good value for training.
Here is a video showing a review of the Mavic Aksium Clincher wheelset (credit to CyclingExpress.com):
Shimano R500 vs. Mavic Aksium – Main Differences
- Shimano R500’s rear wheel is in a 24-cross pattern, while Mavic Aksium’s has 20 spokes in cross pattern on the drive side, and radial pattern on non-drive side
- Some bikers have found the Mavic Aksium to be more durable than Shimano R500, especially for those who weigh above average
- The Mavic Aksium comes with a reinforced hub
Shimano R501 Wheelset Features
The Shimano R501 wheelset is a subsequent model of Shimano R500 and is also aimed at riders with a budget.
Users commented that this model is fairly durable and able to handle poor road conditions, such as potholes. The deep rims also help reduce drag. However, the R501 weighs just slightly more than the R500. Its hubs are also upgraded, compared to those on the R500.
The R500 and R501 wheelset are decent wheelsets to use for training, or if you commute by bike to work. Their main strengths are in the simple build and affordable pricing. However, we find that the Mavic Aksium offers better value for those who ride regularly on roads, due to its durability and hub design.