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Campagnolo launches Shamal Disc wheels with 21mm inner width and hints at a gravel gearing

The new freehub standard could be a sign of a new gravel groupset

Campagnolo has launched a redesigned Shamal Disc wheelset that features carbon rims that are 21mm wide internally, with differing depths of 35mm at the front and 40mm for the rear and Campagnolo’s new N3W freehub standard that Campagnolo says “prepares us for the future.” Could that mean a wide-range gravel groupset is imminent?

The first road wheelset that isn’t designed solely for on-road riding is a big step for Campagnolo. But if you’re going to take your time designing an endurance/gravel wheelset then getting it right first time is rather important. On paper at least, the new Shamal Disc looks to be right up-to-date with a tubeless-ready carbon rim that measures 28.1mm externally and 21mm internally for compatibility with 25mm tyres and up to 65mm gravel tyres.

2021 Campagnolo Shamal DB 2

The rims feature Campagnolo’s 2-Way Fit technology. That is to say that these are tubeless-ready without requiring rim tape. Campagnolo says that both tubeless and clincher tyres will fit, though there’s no list of compatible tubeless tyres just yet.

Campagnolo has used different rim depths for the front and rear wheels. Campagnolo claims that a 40mm rear rim has been used “to guarantee maximum responsiveness and complete power transfer” while a shallower 35mm front rim “ensures the best possible rideability, in all conditions.”

2021 Campagnolo Shamal DB 3

The rims are laced using Campagnolo’s G3 lacing patter to aluminium hub rolling on traditional cup and cone bearings which Campagnolo reckons “guarantees unique smoothness” along with easy maintenance. Should you wish to upgrade to Campagnolo’s ceramic bearings, upgrade kits will be available.

Most importantly though, the new Shamal Disc wheels are hiding some very neat tech down at the freehub body.

N3W Freehub

2021 Campagnolo Shamal DB 5

Oh good, another freehub standard I hear you cry. Well, this is and isn’t a new standard. The splines are still spaced like Campagnolo’s regular freehub body. The difference comes in the length of the body, which has been reduced by 4.4mm. Campagnolo says that this makes the freehub lighter, but it’s not a stretch to imagine the real reason being that 10, or even 9-tooth cassette cogs are on their way from Campagnolo.

The N3W freehub is backwards compatible with current 10, 11 and 12-speed cassettes using the N3W adapter. Campagnolo also offers the wheels with Shimano's HG and Micro Spline freehubs along with Sram's XDR driver.

2021 Campagnolo Shamal DB 4

Combine this with the way that Campagnolo markets the new Shamal disc wheels as being “gravel ready” and we could have a wide range gravel-specific groupset on the way from Campagnolo which is currently missing out on the growing gravel market.

The new wheels come with a system weight limit (bike, rider and equipment) of 120kg and a claimed weight of 1,585g. A set will cost you £1,111 and are available now.

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Nick T | 3 years ago

Also of note is these wheels use a standard J bend steel spoke, unlike the straight pull alloy of the old Shamal. The new groupset's leaked, it's a 1x13 system called EKAR

Miller | 3 years ago

A Campag 1x13 Gravel group called EKAR is incoming.

Glov Zaroff replied to Miller | 3 years ago

I'm sure already know this but have to keep the lid on it until the official release. 

Miller replied to Glov Zaroff | 3 years ago

I'm sure you're correct.

super_davo | 3 years ago

I am pretty sure the new free hub will not be to reduce the amount of cogs, especially from the brand that first gave us 10, 11 and 12 speed.
It will be so the smallest cogs go outboard of the main body allowing smaller ratios to be used.
Even XDR has a minimum of 10, if you're building something 1x then starting even lower may be beneficial.

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