Carbon fiber may be de rigueur for high-end wheels, but a lightweight, reliable set of alloy hoops is great for big days in the mountains, and that’s what Campagnolo’s Shamal Mille wheelset is all about.
The Mille wheels are quite light (although not category-crushing — Mavic’s 1,295-gram R-Sys has Campy beat) and they feel terrifically stiff while attacking steep climbs. In part, this could be due to the chunky aero spokes, 16 front, 21 rear. Although they were trouble-free after more than 2,000 miles, the spokes didn’t please everyone’s aesthetic sensibilities, and the huge nipples require a special tool. This could also be problematic if you’re on a vacation in a far-flung location without access to a well-equipped bike shop, should things go sideways.
On one end of the spokes, Campy’s carbon hubs with ceramic bearings performed marvelously, as did its quiet freehub. At the other, the rims are really the stars of the Mille show. The Italians call that gray finish a “ceramic Plasma Electrolytic oxidation.” We say it’s damn good for hard braking on long descents. Naturally, you need to use Campy’s specific blue brake pads, but when you do, the braking power comes close to some road discs. That said, as the pads wore, we experienced slight brake pulse in the front.
Few riders can afford a quiver of different wheels, and as such, the Mille is a great upgrade that offers all-around performance, especially in the mountains. Campy’s offering isn’t quite as light as a pair of R-Sys wheels, but it is $460 cheaper. If you don’t have a Campagnolo cassette, fear not, the Mille wheels are available with a Shimano/SRAM-compatible driver.
If you’re looking for another, more affordable alloy option from Campy, the Shamal Ultra race wheels were recently revealed a press event in the Canary Islands.
Star rating: 9/10
Weight (front and rear individually): 615g front, 815g rear
Rim depth: 23mm front, 27mm rear
Rim width: 20.5mm