Campagnolo’s Shamal Ultra is a far cry from the original 1990s Shamal, which had highly polished deep rims and was arguably the first factory aero wheelset.
Instead, the modern incarnation is a 2-Way Fit affair (ready to accept tubeless or clincher tyres) with an undrilled rim bed, and tubeless valves fitted. Ceramic Ultra Smooth Bearings (USB) ensure effortless spinning for a long time, and carbon hub bodies reduce weight.
Campagnolo’s own six-sided, oversized nipples are adjusted with their own supplied spoke key, and a magnetic tool is included to help with nipple replacement in the enclosed rims, should it be necessary. The powdercoated rims are heavily milled between the spoke holes, leaving thicker raised sections to support the screwed-in nipples, which in turn receive the chunky straight-pull, aero bladed spokes.
While the front wheel follows convention with radial spoking, the rear has Campagnolo’s MegaG3 spoke pattern, with seven groups of three parallel spokes. The rear wheel is heavily dished too, with non-driveside spokes meeting the rim at a pronounced angle.
Despite such thick spokes, the Shamal Ultras ride with great finesse, not jarring us over every ripple. They are also superbly efficient and incredibly sharp in terms of responsive, perhaps because of the G3 spoking pattern and differential rim heights stiffening the rear wheel and keeping the front super nimble.
Whatever the reason, they’re electric when even the slightest pressure is applied, and climb like a hungry goat looking for a meal, with no trace of lateral deflection or sag. Descending is confident and accurate – they have enough give to flow over the bumps, but are stiff enough for hard braking into corners, with an excellent brake track.
An abridged version of this article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.