Campagnolo Zonda

Zonda 300x300 Campagnolo Zonda

Campagnolo Zonda

There are a lot of reasons to buy a lower priced wheelset. You might be a serious rider who wants a set of ‘rain wheels’, a set to thrash on long training rides, or for the race wheel car, just in case. You might be a newbie who’s just bought a complete bike and just didn’t like the look of the junk wheels it came with. In any case, there will always be a market for the lower end wheelsets, and they don’t have to be rubbish. There’s a lot of competition for the spare set and first upgrade markets, and Camapagnolo has really thrown their hat in the ring with the Zonda.

Bargain basement price

The first thing about low end bikes is the price. This is the group where cost really matters. If you’re building your dream race bike, you want to put every penny into the high performance components you’ll use on race day, so you want a bargain for that workaday wheelset. That doesn’t mean you’ll expect to compromise on quality, any more than the newbie for whom a few hundred bucks just for wheels still seems crazy. Campy has it juts about perfect with the Zonda – you ought to be able to find a set for around $400, which with tires and tubes keeps your total purchase under $500. That’s fair for a spare set, and makes a reasonable upgrade for the more usual stock bikes.

You get more than you pay for

Now for the good part. What your 500 dollars gets you. The Zonda benefit from the very same technology and ‘out of the box’ thinking that has made Campagnolo world leaders in components. With a combined weight of only 1550 grams for the clincher version, these wheels are seriously light for the money. Newbies will notice that difference over their stock wheels on their very first climb. Campy achieves this by lightening up the wheel between the spokes, relying on their G3 technology in the slightly deeper rear wheel to maintain the stiffness and responsiveness. The result is an affordable, superlight wheelset that can still withstand long training rides and heavy effort – although if you are a larger rider, or an aggressive one, you may notice some flex in the front wheel on big power efforts.

Seasoned riders will appreciate the clever details like the variable rim depth – 24mm on the front and 28mm on the rear, giving you an extra tablespoon of aerodynamics for a low-profile wheelset. These are also the start of the ‘good’ wheels form Campy, in that they get the single-structure oversize aluminum hubs of higher prices models. It’s not the exciting part of the wheel, but it does mean a smoother ride, and more responsiveness. You don’t get jumps or sluggishness from these wheels when you hop into that sprint for the coffee shop. The fact that Campy is aiming these wheels at serious riders is reflected in the ‘two-way’ model – which is a little heavier (by only twenty grams), costs an extra $200, but gives the choice of clinchers of tubular tires. That makes the Zonda extremely competitive in the race for seasoned bikers’ dollars. For newbies looking for an upgrade, you really don’t need to look any further than the clincher option. It looks great, costs little, puts up with anything, and will make your ride a lot more fun. An extra bonus is they look fantastic – these wheels will take you to your first race in style too.


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