The Campagnolo Zonda wheels will not reinvigorate your ride and although they look fast, the truth is there are better wheelsets available.
Laterally not as stiff as rivals at this price point
By Symon Lewis
Campagnolo Zonda wheels have been in the Italians' range for a long time now and can be spotted on many Campagnolo fans' bikes at local criterium races or training rides.
The aluminium wheelset is said to be supremely stiff and has now been updated to fit better with the modern trend for a wider tread. Campagnolo claims that the C17 rim is optimised to suit either 25 or 28mm tyres to ensure a more efficient shape of tyre, thus helping reduce drag, increasing cornering grip and helping rolling resistance. The 22mm rim width isn't the widest out in the market but it does show signs of the Italian brand starting to move with the times.
Much of the stiffness will come from the Mega-G3 spoke pattern at the rear that allows for perfect balance of spoke tension on both sides of the wheel, according to Campagnolo. That combined with the Mega-G3 hub, which has an oversized flange to help deal with those torsional forces.
Out on the road I did experience some wheel rub when climbing out of the saddle, which was a surprise, but in general riding I didn't feel I was losing out anywhere.
The front and rear wheels not only feature different spoke patterns and hub sizes – the latter being smaller than the rear for aerodynamic purposes – but the rim depths are also different: 24-27mm front and 27-30mm rear. Subtle aero help here and means there is no worry about crosswinds catching the rims.
Compared to its own Vento wheels, which I tested along with the Condor Super Acciaio, the Campagnolo Zonda wheels are a stark improvement. I noticed an instant step up in performance from the get-go: they generally made my ride quicker in every regard. However, that stiffness is at the cost of comfort and the Zondas tend to clatter around a fair amount. Not even a steel bike could help iron that out.
However, the Ventos are around £200 cheaper and as such perform at a lower level. It's when you compare the Campagnolo Zonda wheels with the likes of Cero AR30s, Mavic Ksyrium Elite USTs or even Hunt's Aero Race wide wheels that you start to see where they could be improved.
Compared to the these three, the Campagnolo Zonda wheels are the heaviest and are the second most expensive. You don't get tubeless-ready rims, although you don't need to apply rim tape thanks to the MOMAG technology that allows the external rim to be free of holes to increase structural durability.
A decent wheelset but the Zondas have been surpassed by a few newer, more up-to-date wheelsets for less money.
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