Campagnolo has launched its new Shamal DB wheelset – a gravel-compatible, mid-depth, carbon wheelset with a bang-on-trend 21mm internal width.
It’s fair to say Campagnolo has been slow on the uptake with recent trends in cycling and the new Shamal wheelset is – by the brand’s own admission – its first-ever “endurance” wheelset, and also marks its first official foray into the world of gravel.
A new freehub standard introduced with the wheels also hints at more to come.
Campagnolo claims the new Shamal DB wheels will work with “clincher, tubeless and tubeless-ready” tyres from 23mm-wide all the way up to 65mm-wide gravel tyres, but will work best with 25, 28 and 30mm-wide tyres, making them best suited to ‘all-road’-style gravel riding rather than gnarlier mountain bike-style adventures.
The rims have a sealed rim bed, so no tape is required to fit tubeless tyres.
On that note, tubeless tyre compatibility is currently a hot topic and – as of the time of writing – Campagnolo has not published a list of tubeless tyres it has tested with the new wheels.
We have contacted the brand for confirmation of what testing has taken place and to find out if it plans on publishing a tyre compatibility chart in the future.
The rear rim is 40mm-deep and is matched with a shallower 35mm front rim. This will reduce the effect of crosswinds and, Campagnolo claims, “ensure the most confident control possible”.
The handsome asymmetric hubs roll on Campagnolo’s much-loved cup-and-cone bearings. Campagnolo USB or CULT ceramic bearings upgrade kits will also be available.
The wheels weigh a claimed 1,585g for the pair and have a maximum rider and bike weight limit of 120kg.
The wheels cost €1,299 / £1,111 / $1,475 and are available now, though Campagnolo cautions that availability may be delayed in certain territories due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The wheels ship with the brand’s all-new N3W freehub. This has the same profile as a regular Campagnolo freehub body but is 4.4mm shorter overall.
The brand claims this is to make it lighter and to “prepare [Campagnolo] for the future”.
With that in mind, it’s fairly obvious that the reduction in length is to allow a cog smaller than 11 teeth to be fitted on the outboard edge of the freehub. Could this mean a wide-range gravel groupset from Campagnolo is around the corner?
[Editors update, 24th September 2020 – our hunch was right and Campagnolo has launched Ekar, a wild 13-speed gravel groupset that uses the new freehub standard]
For now, an adaptor slots onto the end of the N3W freehub and allows it to be used with all existing 10-, 11- and 12-speed Campagnolo groupsets.
Shimano HG and SRAM XDR freehubs are also available for the wheels.
Finally, a note on the product page also states the wheels are compatible with Shimano Micro Spline freehubs. The Micro Spline standard is only currently used on Shimano’s mountain bike groupsets and these wheels are very much intended for bicycles with curly-wurly handlebars.
Peering into our Cycling Illuminati crystal ball, could this suggest our predictions about the next-generation Shimano Dura-Ace grouspet moving to Micro Spline is true?
We would never have guessed that a mere freehub could ever invite so much speculation, but something exciting could be hiding in plain sight.