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Campagnolo Shamal C21 DB 2WF XDR Carbon wheelset review

Gravel-specific wheels built for business

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
GBP £1,160.00 RRP | EUR €1,299.00
Campagnolo Shamal C21 DB wheelset for road bikes

Our review

Smooth, fast and versatile, these are one of the best new gravel wheelsets around
Pros: Class-leading comfort; easy tubeless fit; great value
Cons: No 650b option
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The original Shamal was introduced in 1992 as a professional-level, lightweight, aluminium, aerodynamic wheel. For 2021 it has been reimagined as Campagnolo’s first carbon gravel-specific model, brought out in conjunction with the 13-speed gravel groupset, Ekar.

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The 21mm internal rim width will work with road tyres or chunkier sizes up to 50mm and a sealed channel makes them tubeless compatible.

These 1,585g-a-pair wheels have an easily serviceable cup-and-cone bearing system and, interestingly, a differentiated 40mm rim depth on the rear wheel and 35mm on the front. In theory, this gives more responsiveness where you need it at the back combined with a more forgiving feel under the bar.

In short, it should be all power at the back and comfort at the front. What also stands out is the G3 spoke pattern that places double spokes on the left of the wheels. Campagnolo claims this makes for more balanced and safer braking.

Throughout the test I ran 40mm tyres and a SRAM 12-speed gearset. The tubeless setup was simple and with no liner, no joins and no potential for leakage, it was incredibly easy to fit the tyres.

I took a ride on both teeth-juddering hardpacked flinty tracks and the special suck of waterlogged clay, clocking up 1,000 miles on the C21s, and what really stood out – in all conditions – was the high quality of the bearings.

Incredibly smooth, they generate momentum fast and maintain rolling speed super-efficiently; it is an advantage that’s apparent not just over standard wheels but other carbon wheels too.

The spoke construction and the difference in rim depths underline the attention to detail that has been paid to ensuring a fast, balanced performance.

The front wheel is stiff enough that the steering is precise and immediately responsive, something that’s particularly noticeable at speed or cornering. It means you feel connected to what’s under the wheel but it’s comfortable enough that it knocks out road chatter through your hands.

The stiffer rear is obvious – there is no delay to any increase in power and when moving out of the saddle the bike instantly surges with no obvious deflection.

I have had the privilege of riding on many different types of expensive carbon wheels and these, at half the price of most, would give many of them a run for their money.

If you’re obsessive about weight you may want to pay significantly more to shave off 100 grams a wheel, but in the real world most of us can shed that by minimising our snacks.

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These wheels run smooth and fast. They are forgiving on extended rides and versatile across a range of tyres. If you’re looking to invest upwards in a set of gravel wheels, these should be your first stop.

Product Specifications


Price br_price, 5, 3, Price, EUR €1299.00GBP £1160.00
Weight br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 1,585g, Array, g
Brand br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Campagnolo


Brake type br_brakeTypeSimple, 11, 0, Brake type, Disc
Rim depth br_rimDepth, 11, 0, Rim depth, 35mm front / 40mm rear
Rim internal width br_rimInternalWidth, 11, 0, Rim internal width, 21mm
Rim material br_rimMaterial, 11, 0, Rim material, Carbon
Spoke count br_spokeCountFront, 11, 0, Spoke count, 24 front, 24 rear
Spokes br_spokes, 11, 0, Spokes, G3 spoke pattern
Tubeless compatibility br_tubelessCompatibility, 11, 0, Tubeless compatibility, Tubeless compatible
Wheel size br_wheelSize, 11, 0, Wheel size, 29in/700c