New(ish) Wheels

I bought a secondhand set of lightly used Campagnolo Zonda wheels from eBay for about £220: a little less than half of the best price I could find for a new set at the time and a very good deal as they came with tubes, tyres and a cassette. Unfortunately the freewheel was Campagnolo-splined and I ride SRAM on my current (and future, but that’s another post) bike so I had to spend another £60 on a Shimano-splined replacement.

Fitting the replacement freehub was almost trivial; the instructions are freely available from Campagnolo’s technical documentation pages and are extremely easy to follow as long as you have a 5mm hex wrench, a 17mm open-ended spanner and a grease gun. So far I would definitely buy Campagnolo wheels again in the future as they are well-documented and easy to work on.

The reason I have to add the qualifier “so far” to the preceding sentence is that I haven’t yet been for a proper ride on my Zondas; tomorrow afternoon I expect to need fewer reservations.

The Zondas are the third wheelset I have acquired. The second were a set of bespoke wheels bought a few years back from Parker International; they are Mavic Open Pro rims, Shimano Tiagra hubs, DT Swiss nipple nuts and spokes (32 front, 36 rear, 3-cross lacing on both wheels). I bought these to replace the Alexrims S500 wheels which came with my Allez: these are a crappy OEM-special; in particular the radially laced front wheel will not stay true for more than a few seconds at a time.

Right now, the S500 front wheel is hanging, naked, from my garage roof in case I ever get desperate. The rear is fitted with a turbo-trainer-specific tyre and the special skewer which lets the trainer clamp onto it securely.

I wrapped the P-I wheels in Continental GP 4 Seasons tyres and used them for everything: training, commuting, randonnées, etc. They have been exceptionally reliable, and since I got the spokes re-tensioned by my LBS they are back to being nice and stiff for climbing.

My intent with the Zondas is to use them for the randonnées as they’re noticeably lighter and, theoretically at least, considerably more aerodynamically efficient. I will continue to train on the P-I wheels and use the S500 rear on the turbo trainer where its lack of stiffness is not really a problem.

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