Campagnolo Shamal Ultra Two-Way Fit Wheelset

Campagnolo Shamal Wheelset Campagnolo Shamal Ultra Two Way Fit Wheelset

Campagnolo Shamal Wheelset

Many, many wheel manufacturers claim to have produced the perfect do-it-all wheel. The first problem with calling any wheel ‘do it all’ in that the wheel makers don’t ever define what a wheel has to do to do it all. Sure, it should be aero, and it should be light enough to climb, but is that enough? I don’t think so. A ‘do it all’ wheel should also be tough enough to train with, stiff enough to accelerate and corner, be able to carry heaver riders, and if it can spend the winter on your cyclocross bike, so much the better. That means a ‘do it all’ wheel is light, strong, aerodynamic, a clincher, and cheap. Okay, Campy, still call the Shamal Ultra wheelset a ‘do it all’ wheelset?

Does it tick all the boxes?

Campagnolo markets the Shamal Ultra wheelset as their jack of all trades, but we wanted to see if that was really true. Is the Shamal Ultra really the last wheelset you’ll ever need? Or is it just a pretty wheelset that’s mediocre at everything?

Well, out of the box we loved the ‘two way fit’. The Shamal Ultra is a clincher – essential if you want to get yourself home after a flat on a training ride and not have to call your spouse to come and get you. The ‘two way’ part comes in when you fit a tubeless clincher on race days. That’s pretty neat, because now you can roll on a faster psi and corner with confidence on race day. So far, the Shamal Ultra wheelset is looking very versatile indeed.

A race capable wheel

Most multi-purpose wheels come a cropper when they get on the scales. Not so the Shamal Ultra wheelset. At only 1430g, this is a really light wheelset, perfectly suited for racing at all but the very highest levels. I’m not sure how they managed to keep the Shamal strong and stiff and still keep the weight off, but whatever they did, it worked.  One nifty innovation is to take away rim material between the spoke nipples – that means the rims are toughest and thickest at the spokes, where the strain is toughest, but some critical extra grams are shaved away where they are least needed.

The Shamal Ultra wheelset is aero too. It’s not what you’d want for a time trial, so maybe that’s where the ‘do it all’ label starts to fail. That said, the bladed spokes and the clever balancing that puts more of the wheel mass toward the hub and away from the rims means these wheels accelerate pretty sharply, and once rolling, they seem to want to stay there. Campy has been pretty smart about the rim depth too; part of the weight savings for the wheelset as a whole is the slightly shallower front wheel rim. This makes for a more stable ride in cross winds, but gives you a little extra depth at the back where you need it most. Who said a wheelset had to have the same rim depth front and back? Not Campy, and the Shamal Ultra wheelset makes good use of that.

What can’t it do?

So far the Shamal Ultra wheelset s light enough for climbing, just aero enough to carry that tag (although triathletes and time trialists will certainly look elsewhere), rolls well on carbon and alu hubs, and certainly seems pretty robust. Under a powerful, 200 pound rider, we didn’t get any significant flex, and the Shamal Ultra certainly was quick to accelerate, suggesting that stiffness and power transfer were not overlooked when Campy was cutting down the weight. We gave the Shamal a quick test off the road too, and there was nothing to suggest they wouldn’t enjoy getting dirty on the ‘cross course.

I have to say, if you really can afford only one really decent set of wheels, at $1575 the Shamal Ultra wheelset is going to be tough to beat.  Is there anything that brings them down? You bet, I ride Shimano drivetrains, and while I really like the Shamals, I’m not going to switch camps just for them. Make then Shimano compatible for no extra charge, and I’m sold.

More Wheelset Reviews

The Campagnola Hyperon Ultra wheel, is a no-compromises race wheel with a no-compromises price tag. At around $3700 for the tubular wheelset, it promises a great deal, and it needs to deliver. At first... 

Campy Neutron Ultra

Campagnolo Neutron Ultra Wheelset Most bike riders who are thinking about upgrades are thinking about racing. Sooner or later, if cycling gets into your soul, you’ll want to race. Ask any of your fellow riders... 

The Campagnola Bora is one of the most familiar wheelsets in the pro peloton.  It has been a mainstay in the major stage races for many years, and with good reason.  The rims are made from carbon, employing...