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The Campagnolo Shamal Carbon Disc Brake wheels are beautiful looking, fast, and stable. They spin up quickly, corner confidently, and are a cinch to set up tubeless. Compared with the best road bike and gravel bike wheels at the same price, they're carrying a bit of extra weight, but the tyre levers they come with are probably the best I've ever used.
The first thing that struck me was that they are absolutely stunning to look at. Rather than standard matt carbon rims with decals, these are glossy, shiny, and have minimal branding; they just look superb whether you're running them on the road or gravel.
I remember seeing my first set of Shamals many years ago, their deep aluminium rims being incredibly eye-catching – if incredibly heavy compared with today's carbon versions. In this new guise they move away from being aero animals, instead becoming all-rounders that can be used in several different situations.
With a 21mm internal width, they work just as well on gravel as they do on the road. I did the majority of testing on 28mm rubber, but also did a few rides on a set of knobbly 40s. The Shamals performed equally well on both, which isn't something I was really expecting after my initial road rides, given how stiff and responsive they were on tarmac.
The wheels have different rim depths front and rear: 35mm on the front and 40mm on the back, depths that give you a decent balance between aeroness and weight. You will be happy to hear that you still get enough of that aero swoosh to let you know you are cutting through the air, though it isn't as pronounced as something a little deeper.
With these rim depths, combined with their 28mm external width, you also don't get any kind of noticeable jitters in crosswinds, but they're not just stable in crosswinds, they're responsive when cornering too, and offer an assured feeling when taking bends at speed. This is a benefit you tend to find in wider rims, and it is definitely the case here.
They also pack a punch when accelerating, offering quick pickup when you put the power down. This is testament to the stiffness of the wheels, which comes partly from the distinctive Campagnolo G3 spoke pattern which places double the number of spokes on the drive side on the rear and on the left up front to improve braking performance. Whether this actually makes a huge difference I couldn't say, but these are without a doubt a pair of stiff and responsive wheels.
Normally, this wouldn't translate well to gravel, where, although performance is important, comfort is generally the main criteria. However, these are so smooth that despite the stiffness they also tend to suck up divots and rough roads with ease, whether I was riding on 28s or 40s. Having the ability to be both this stiff and this forgiving is something I wasn't expecting but was very well received.
Helping the responsiveness is the rear hub, which spins up well and engages quickly when you put the power down. It also has a fairly understated freewheel noise – not so quiet that you aren't aware you're riding a quality set of wheels, but quiet enough that you aren't terrified of overtaking horses without pedalling.
Throughout the review I ran these as tubeless, on both sets of tyres, but they can be set up with an inner tube if that's what you prefer.
Tubeless setup is very simple thanks to Campag's Momag mounting system, which essentially removes the need for rim tape and enables spokes to be mounted with magnets rather than threading them through the rims as normal.
Mounting both sets of tyres was a cinch. In both cases I could roll the tyres onto the rims by hand and could get them to seat very easily nearly every time with just a regular track pump, just occasionally needing a blast from my tubeless pump.
I wouldn't normally say much about the extra stuff that comes with a set of wheels, and these come with the standard tubeless valves, bushing, and 11/12-speed adapters, and a pair of wheel bags. However, they also come with a set of tyre levers, and these are, without doubt, the best I have ever used – to the extent that I have actually bought two sets for my other bikes. The way they combine strength and flex is brilliant; it makes them so easy to use.
The wheels weighed 1,670g on the road.cc Scales of Truth, which isn't the lightest at this price, but they didn't feel sluggish when the road went upwards. The weight comes from a combination of things, predominantly the steel spokes and the Momag system; but as both have significant advantages, I can forgive them somewhat.
They're more expensive than the Roval Rapide C38s that Jamie reviewed and liked so much last year, which have gone down in price since, to £999; they're also a little lighter at 1,620g, and have the same multi-discipline qualities.
Vel's 38 RSLs, which Iwein tested last year, are similarly deep, lighter at 1,490g, and cheaper at £1,099 (up £100 since our review), but do have an intrusive freewheel noise compared to the understated Campags.
Despite the Shamals costing a little more than their rivals, and weighing a little more, I've been very impressed by their performance. They offer great stability in the corners, stiffness, and the ability to soak up all the rough roads and gravel I could find. They also look amazing.
Beautiful looking set of wheels that deliver an impressive performance combining stiffness and comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Campagnolo Shamal Carbon Disc Brake wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 35mm & 40mm deep
Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
For Campagnolo, the SHAMAL family has always represented an evolutionary impulse beyond its own limitations, a challenge and a triumph. Since 1992, this wheel has been an icon for enthusiasts, who with SHAMAL saw the birth of the high-profile concept, a forerunner of what is currently available on the market. SHAMAL still has the same meaning for Campagnolo: breaking the mould to face the future.
The first Campagnolo wheel dedicated to endurance was born in keeping with this mantra, with a 21 mm internal channel that can accommodate larger tyres and ensure the cyclist maximum comfort on races and long rides. This new product was intended for a broader customer base, with a new, more accessible price point, but with every feature necessary to guarantee the maximum performance and style that characterise Campagnolo wheels. Carbon rim with unidirectional finish and a differentiated front/rear profile, modern rounded profile, new aluminium hubs, cup-and-cone bearing system. Every design decision is determined by the sole goal of improving cyclists' performance over long hours on the saddle, providing comfort and rideability in all conditions.
The profile of the rim, which has an internal diameter of 21 mm, makes for perfect pairing with 25, 28 and 30 mm tyres. The wide channel, however, makes this wheel a complete all-rounder, also suitable for larger tyres that are perfect for gravel biking. Thanks to 2-Way Fit technology, Campagnolo guarantees complete compatibility with both clincher and tubeless tyres. The hole-free upper bridge, achieved through the patented MoMag system, allows a weight saving, increased rigidity and now also an aid to using tubeless tyres: no tape is required for the seal. Maintaining and cleaning the wheel on tyre changes has never been easier. These wheels are designed to ensure extreme performance, comfort and versatility for cyclists.
Campagnolo has always been a byword for reliability: the G3 spoking system with double spokes on the left of the front wheel ensures balanced and safe braking in all conditions. The construction of the whole wheel, engineered by considering every single component as part of a system, makes each Campagnolo product a godsend on longer rides, cyclosportives and the most demanding adventures.
SHAMAL CARBON DB: a renewed icon that maintains its blazing, indefatigable soul, like the wind from which it takes its name.
Available versions: dark label, Campagnolo N3W™, Shimano HG, Sram XDR™ FW hub
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
24 slim steel circular-section spokes at the front, grouped according to the G3 system
24 slim steel circular-section spokes at the rear, grouped according to the G3 system
VERSIONS AND WEIGHTS
Campagnolo N3W™ body
Only available for 2-Way Fit: 1.585 g
Campagnolo sprocket set 10/11/12/13
Shimano sprocket set / SRAM 10/11
SRAM 12 sprocket set
Black aluminium monolithic hub
Hub edge: 100 mm in the front, 142 mm in the rear
Pivot material: aluminium
Cup-and-cone bearing system
Profile height: 35 mm front / 40 mm rear
Rim material: carbon
Rim cross section (H x W): 35-40/28.1 mm
Internal diameter of rim: 21 mm
Adhesive Stickers graphics
Very well made, by hand.
Impressive: stiff, responsive, and soak up the worst that the roads could throw at them.
No reason to think they won't last.
Heavier than others in this category.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
They stayed true throughout the review.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Very simple, I could roll tyres onto the rims without any issues. I set these up exclusively as tubeless, and changed the tyres from road to gravel a couple of times.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The tyre levers are hands down the best I have ever used.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, they excelled on the road and off, and offered stability and stiffness while still delivering that aero whoosh we all love.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
The stiffness is truly impressive. They were incredibly responsive; you could feel them take off as soon as you pushed the pedals.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
They're heavier than rivals.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
They're slightly more expensive than some: the Roval Rapide C38s that Jamie liked so much last year have come down in price to £999, while the Vel 38 RSLs have gone up to £1,099 – but they do have an intrusive freewheel noise compared to the understated Campags. Both sets are lighter, though.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Despite being a little pricier and heavier than their close rivals, the performance here is very impressive. Whether you're using them on the road or off, they're responsive, stable, and have the ability to soak up everything you can throw at them. They look the business too.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.