2015 Campagnolo Zonda Wheelset
Upgrading a pair of wheels is a great way of getting the best out of your bike. Bike manufacturers tend to skimp on putting decent wheels to save money, while these are sufficient many riders benefit from a fresh set of wheels.
A couple years ago, I bought some Prolite Luciano wheels for about £120, they looked fantastic, and rolled well. I used them all year round and the proved a good all round entry-level wheelset. After frame upgrade, the obligatory buying fever took hold and I starting looking for some better wheels. I also found the Prolites would occasionally flex under heavy acceleration so I wanted a more stiffer wheel.
My budget was £300, so not a huge amount but I wanted the lightest/stiffest for the money and The wheels I looked at were Fulcrum Racing Quattros (made by Campagnolo), Mavic Ksyriums and the Campag Zondas. They are all good wheels but I choose the Zondas as at a shade under £250 (from Wiggle), they were good value for money and at just over 1500g, are pretty light.
Campy Zondas do the business
First off, they look awesome. The rims are fairly shallow (30mm front, 35mm rear) the satin black contrasting the silver of the braking surface. The hubs are shaped possibly to aid aerodynamics and coupled to the bladed spokes look great. The quality is also spot on too, the materials used should last for a while — although, these will be used on my summer bike. Campag’s signature star-shaped spoke pattern in the rear wheel looks a looks better in the flesh and serves as a strong structure.
On the road, the Zondas roll extremely well and you immediately notice the sound — there’s a degree of ‘whooshing’ which sounds like you going faster than you are — always good for the ego. They are noticeably more rigid with the surface of the road getting transmitting more through the wheels. This hasn’t bothered me as I’ve since fitted 25mm tyres which have reduced this. Anyway, these wheels aren’t built for comfort. They roll really well and with some good quality tyres (Continental GP4000 for instance), they could provide a distinct advantage. In fact, having looked at my times on Strava, there is an improvement in my usual training and commuting runs — however, I must stress that this may be also due to increased fitness.
The Zondas are holding up well on my commute to work, there’s a mixture of varying road surfaces, kerbs and cycle lanes which are hard on any bike. After a few hundred miles, they have remained straight — more so than can be said for my Shimano R500 wheels as on my winter bike which went out of shape after only 40km, although these were only £70.
The Zondas a stonking good wheelset. It’s still early days but I’m expecting some big mileage with them.
There’s a excellent video on the benefits of the upgrading your wheels done by the guys at GCN — GCN Upgrading wheels