Gear News

Campagnolo Shamal wheelset updated with wider rim

Campagnolo's first ever complete wheelset updated once again, this time with wider rim for use with 25mm tyres

Campagnolo’s Shamal wheelset has a long and storied history, first developed more than 20 years ago, and used by the likes of Miguel Indurain in the pro peloton – now the latest version of the aluminium wheelset has been given a wider rim profile to bring it up to date and improve its performance with 25mm and 28mm tyres.

There was a time when if you wanted a new set of wheels, you had two options: you either built them yourself, or you asked a local wheelbuilder to do the job. Either way, that wheelset came together by selecting the rim, spokes and hub individually, but Campagnolo changed that with the Shamal.

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The latest version of the Shamal, the first factory-built aero wheelset when it launched in the 1990s but now with a low-profile design, is dubbed the C17 and the most significant update over the existing C15 version is the internal rim width has grown to 17.3mm. Mavic, by way of comparison, also went for 17mm (ok, there’s 0.3mm difference), with their new Cosmic and Ksyrium carbon clinchers, claiming that provides the ideal interface with a 25mm tyre.

The Shamal wheels have been part of Campagnolo’s range since the early 1990s – this latest version has a wider rim optimised for use with 25mm and 28mm tyres

Why is that significant? Gone are the days of 23mm tyres being the road bike standard – that’s now been replaced by 25mm, with 28mm rubber also increasingly popular. As tyres have got wider, so have rims, and part of the reason for that is because a wider rim provides a better interface with the tyre. A 25mm tyre paired with a narrow rim will create a lightbulb shape, whereas a 25mm tyre, paired with a similarly wide rim, will provide a smoother transition between the tyre sidewall and rim.

Campagnolo say the benefits of the Shamal C17’s wider rim are two-fold: firstly, there’s a small aerodynamic gain to be had as airflow is smoother over the tyre when there’s not a void behind it, as is the case with a wide tyre on a narrow rim, and it also helps improve the handling, again because the tyre adopts a more consistent shape – helping to avert the ‘tippy’ feeling you can get when corning with a wide tyre on a narrow rim. As the wider rim helps to increase the stance of the tyre, and the amount of rubber in contact with the road, grip and comfort can also both be improved.

Away from the rim, the Shamal C17 uses carbon fibre hub bodies, which have front and rear-specific designs, adapted according to the role and demands put on either wheel. Campagnolo’s USB ceramic inside the hubs help to keep things rolling smoothly.

Other features include a new adjustable lockring, trickled down from the carbon-fibre Bora wheel range, that allows for easier adjustment and maintenance of the wheel without affecting bearing pre-load. Otherwise, the oversized aluminium hub flange is designed to improve the stiffness and reactivity of the wheel. The Shamals continue to have a differentiated rim height: 26mm at the front to improve handling and 30mm at the rear for power transfer.

The rear wheel uses Campagnolo’s G3 spoke pattern

Campagnolo have used 16 bladed spokes laced radially at the front and 21 at the rear, using the Italian firm’s distinctive G3 lacing pattern. Again, Campag say it improves rigidity of the rear wheel. The ‘Anti-Rotation System’ places the spokes in their most efficient, aerodynamic position, set to resist movement.

The Shamal C17 is available in two formats: a regular clincher version, with a claimed weight of 1,435g, and a tubeless-ready ‘2-Way Fit’ version, which increases the weight a little to 1,515g. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, but it’s expected to be similar to the current Shamal Ultra wheels, which retail for £824.99.

Finally, if you’re a fan of naming conventions then Campagnolo wheels all refer to types of wind. The Shamal is a hot, dry wind typically blown across the Persian Gulf, while the Bora is a northerly wind in the Adriatic, and the Kamsin is a dry wind blowing from the south in North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. There’s some cycling trivia for you.


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