Campagnolo is the oldest manufacturer of bicycle components in the world, known for their high-quality and aesthetically-beautiful bike parts.
“Campy” wheels are no different.
Campagnolo – also known as “Campag” or “Campy” – produces a wide variety of road wheelsets, from flagship professional-standard wheels to budget-friendly entry-level models.
But, presented with such a range of options, it can be difficult to know which Campagnolo wheels are the right choice to suit your needs.
So, what is the hierarchy of Campagnolo’s wheelsets? And what should you be looking for in your next set of wheels?
Don’t worry! In this article, we’ll give you a complete rundown of the whole Campagnolo wheelset range, from entry-level to professional standard. To get you up to speed, we’ll be covering:
- What Should You Look For In A Wheelset To Suit Your Riding Style?
- Campagnolo Road Bike Wheelset Hierarchy
Let’s dive in!
What Should You Look For In A Wheelset To Suit Your Riding Style?
There are lots of factors to consider when buying a wheelset, such as aerodynamics, weight, strength, and so on.
But which factors are the most important?
Well, that depends on your riding style, and it’s likely that different riders will have differing opinions on what to look for when buying a new wheelset.
However, there are definitely some factors that are absolutely essential to any wheelset for any rider.
The most important thing to consider before you splash your cash on a new set of wheels is if they’re actually compatible with your set-up.
The first to consider is which braking system your frame has. Whether you’re upgrading your wheels or building a bike from scratch, you probably already have the frame you’re going to fit them to.
If your frame does not have the fittings for disc brakes (two bolts adjacent to each dropout), then you cannot safely fit them to your bike. If you have these fittings then there won’t be the fittings for rim brakes.
Wheels are either compatible with disc brakes or rim brakes. Make sure you get the right ones!
For Speed Demons
If you’re a roadie who loves to test your personal best on your favorite time-trial routes, or just try to sustain blistering average speeds over flat-ish terrain, then your biggest consideration should be aerodynamics.
An aerodynamic wheel usually has a high-profile rim (wider in the radial axis) that decreases the drag on the wheel as it moves with the bike. Generally, these use more weight and are therefore a little heavier than low-profile rims.
Unless you’re climbing Alpe D’Huez or the Tourmalet, the aerodynamics of a wheel will provide a larger power saving than weight, allowing you to go faster whilst outputting the exact same wattage.
So if speed is your primary consideration, aerodynamics should be the priority.
So, you fancy yourself as a regular Marco Pantani?
For riders who pride themselves on their ability to get up brutal slopes at an alarming pace, the primary consideration, as it always is for climbers, should be the weight of your wheel.
A lightweight wheel will usually be low-profile, with high-quality carbon rims and spokes. Also, if you’re really counting the grams, rim brakes will save you some precious watts when climbing due to their slightly lower weight.
If you’re going to be entering hill climbing races or you’re going on holiday to the Alps, then you should try and shave off as much excess weight as possible. The wheels are a great place to do this, as you can save a fair amount.
(And you don’t need to drill holes in your handlebars…)
For those who love cycle touring, or traveling and seeing a region by bike, your number one priority should be the strength of your wheel, and weight coming in at a close-second.
Let’s be realistic here: if you’ve got panniers, you’re not going to care as much about the aerodynamics of your wheel. However, the wheels of your bike are the determining factor for how much weight you can support on your bike.
Usually, if you’re bikepacking, you’re going to have a fair amount of weight on your bike. Panniers jammed full of tents, sleeping bags, pots and pans, and copious peanut butter are generally pretty heavy.
You’re going to want a strong wheel to support this.
Expensive carbon wheels are usually pretty strong, but the more budget-friendly option here is steel.
Campagnolo Road Bike Wheelset Hierarchy
Campagnolo produces a wide range of wheels to suit any riding style, budget, or compatibility.
Here is the Campagnolo wheelset hierarchy, from entry-level to flagship:
Campagnolo Calima (Entry-Level)
- Weight: 1826 g
- Rim Depth: 24 mm
- Brake Type: Rim Brake Only
Campy’s most budget-friendly wheelset – Calima – is a low-profile, aluminum wheelset, aimed at those looking to upgrade their wheelset on a budget.
Given they can be found new for under $300, the Calimas are undoubtedly great value. It’s a tried and tested wheelset that will hold up to a lot of use.
With a rim-profile of 24 mm, it’s not exactly an aero wheelset. An internal rim width of 17 mm means they’re well capable of handling 28 mm tires, although they’re certainly not as wide as some of the high-end wheelsets coming to market recently.
Additionally, the wheelset is only available as a clincher and for rim brake set-ups.
Coming in at 1826 g, they’re not especially lightweight either. However, what you do get is a reliable, nice-looking set of wheels that isn’t excessively heavy, coming in at a very reasonable price point.
Campagnolo Scirocco (Mid-Range)
- Weight: 1722 g
- Rim Depth: 35 mm
- Brake Type: Rim or Disc Brake
The Scirocco is a mid-range, budget-friendly “aero” wheelset, with medium-profile rims and an aluminum build.
Retailing at around $500, they’re a fairly cheap option if you’re looking for an aero wheelset. They have a 35 mm rim profile, meaning that they will be both stronger and significantly more aerodynamic than the Calima wheelset.
They’re not particularly lightweight, however, at 1722 g, though not super heavy either. They’re available for either disc or rim brake systems, but exclusively as a clincher.
Campagnolo Zonda (Mid-Range)
- Weight: 1520 g
- Rim Depth: 24/27 mm
- Brake Type: Rim or Disc Brake
The next step up, the Zonda wheelset, is another mid-range model in the Campag lineup. Another aluminum, low-profile wheel, but with higher quality, considerably lighter materials, and some aero features, the retail price of around $600 is justified.
The first major benefit of the Zonda wheels is that they weigh in at just 1520 g. Additionally, a variable rim profile of 24-27 mm, and aerodynamic-profile spokes provide superior aerodynamic properties, saving some valuable watts compared to the Calima or Scirocco wheelsets.
They’re available with disc brake compatibility, but you can also get them in the rim brake model. They’re exclusively available as clinchers.
Campagnolo Bora WTO (Pro-Standard)
- Weight: 1395-1510 g
- Rim Depth: 33/45/60/77 mm
- Brake Type: Rim or Disc Brake
The Bora WTO wheelsets are a premium model, available in a variety of rim-profiles, and crafted from high-quality carbon fiber, making them lightweight and aerodynamic.
All models are available for either rim brakes or disc brakes, and the rim profiles available range from medium-profile at 33, or 45 mm, and high-profile at 60, or 77 mm.
Their weight varies significantly, from an extremely lightweight 1395 g for the 33 mm rims to a reasonable 1510 g for the 77 mm profile.
These wheels are some of the best available on the market, with extremely high-quality materials, low weight, and extreme aerodynamic capability with a 77 mm rim. They’re all “tubeless ready”, meaning you can run a tubeless or clincher set-up.
The 33, 45, and 60 mm models are all around $2500 per pair, so this is a huge step up in price from mid-range. However, to get the ultra-deep 77 mm model, you’re looking at €2100 per wheel.
Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO (Pro-Standard)
- Weight: 1385-1590 g
- Rim Depth: 33/45/60/80 mm (Disc Wheel Variant Available)
- Brake Type:
Campag’s flagship wheelset range, the Bora Ultra WTO are the best-of-the-best when it comes to wheels.
Often found in the pro-peloton, they make no compromises when it comes to build quality, materials, or weight.
Available in various carbon-fiber rim profiles again: 33, 45, 60, or 80 mm rims, or if you’re building yourself a TT bike, then they also have a TT disc wheel model available. They’re also all exclusively available for disc brakes, sorry old-school rim brakers!
Once again, they’re all tubeless ready, and vary significantly in their weight, from 1385 g for the 33 mm rims, to 1590 g for the 80 mm rims.
However, once again, you pay a heavy premium for this wheelset, with the 33 mm rims coming in at €3100, and the 80 mm at €4100.
Although these really are the best wheels you can find, you could likely buy a very good full bike for this price, so it’s worth considering whether you actually need wheels of this quality, especially since there are considerable diminishing returns at play here.
But, if money is no object, and you are looking for the ultimate wheels for your set-up, you can’t go wrong with the Bora Ultras – as many of the pro-peloton will tell you.