Zonda DB version signals first Campagnolo branded Disc Brake Product.
The recent launch of the Disc Brake Project in the Spring of 2016 has given the public a first look into the inner workings in and around the Campagnolo company’s development of the professional grade performance products. The development process, while carried out in collaboration with the Campy Tech Lab and the professional athletes that Campagnolo sponsors in the World Tour, serves to bring forth not only products destined for grand tour competition but also components and wheels destined for a more variable audience. While Campagnolo engineers work diligently to bring forth the most sophisticated, performance oriented and reliable solutions to give its athletes an added advantage while competing against the world’s best cyclists, many solutions are applied to products not destined for the professional peloton, at least not on race day. The Zonda DB is the first disc brake specific product that is borne from the Disc Brake Project’s development team to be released to the public. The very first Campagnolo branded wheelset developed specifically for disc brake equipped road bikes comes at a time where the market has plenty of solutions for road disc wheelsets but lacks many solutions that offer a level of performance, reliability, safety and integrity that has been associated with Campagnolo wheels for traditional rim brakes. In the rim-brake wheel market the Zonda wheel has been an extremely well respected wheel preforming above and beyond the competition in its segment. The Disc Brake Project engineers worked closely together with the aluminum wheel R&D department in order to guarantee that same level of quality in this completely new disc brake specific Zonda as many have come to expect from its rim brake predecessor. The development of a disc brake wheel is not as simple as taking an existing wheelset, changing the hub and compensating the spoke length to deal with asymmetry on the front wheel as many have done. To produce a quality wheel, the entire product must be designed from the ground up. Campagnolo, the company who with its Shamal wheel, was the first to bring you the complete wheelset with each component designed specifically for use in unison with other specifically designed parts, would do it no other way. The asymmetric nature of the disc brake hub forces the design of such as wheelset to be not only asymmetric on the rear wheel, as was the case even with rim brakes, but also to design around an asymmetric unit on the front wheel. To take an asymmetric wheelset and bring forth symmetric performance and efficiency many technologies come into play such as the innovative asymmetric rim profiles incorporated into the design of the Zonda DB. The new rims are milled to eliminate excess material where not necessary, keeping weight down and reactivity and efficiency high. RDB or Rim Dynamic Balance technology keeps the wheel as efficient and safe as possible as it eliminates any wobble or inconsistency in the smooth rolling of a wheel by counter balancing for valve and gasket weight. MoMag technology eliminates all spoke holes on the tire side of the rim, thus creating a stiffer, more solid and lighter stricter than would be possible with traditional designs.
Asymmetry in the rear wheel in the era of rim brakes led the Campagnolo engineers to develop the G3 spoke pattern to increase efficiency and performance and it has since become a visible calling card for Campagnolo quality wheelworks from top to bottom. As asymmetry is now an issue for both front and rear wheels the Mega G3 spoke and hub design have been optimized for disc brake usage. The Zonda DB front wheel comes with 21 stainless steel spokes in a Mega G3 pattern with an innovative new flange design. The rear wheel also comes in a 21 spoke Mega G3 design albeit slightly different in order to compensate for space necessary for the cassette. Both front and rear hubs are produced in aluminum and have been specifically designed not only to compensate for asymmetry in the shape of the wheel but also to deal with asymmetric loads under braking forces, now applied only to one side of the wheel.
The Zonda DB’s hubs use cup and cone bearings with a new adjustment lockring with a microsetting feature which for accurate adjustment of the hub and its bearings that greatly reduces the possibility of any play in the wheel. To ensure full compatibility with all existing rotors currently available both a 6-Bolt and AFS version will be produced. The Zonda DB’s front hub is compatible with both Thru Axle (HH12) and Quick Release skewers (100mm). On the other hand, the rear hub is made for use with either Thru Axle (HH12 – 142mm width) or a Quick Release axle (135mm). For the latter, a special new quick release skewer will be made available. This highly versatile wheelset, compatible with all standards and full of an amazing amount of technology for a wheel in its segment is without a doubt worthy of the Campagnolo name. The difficult task put before the Campagnolo engineers to create a wheelset that lived up to its extremely successful rim brake predecessor’s good name represented a challenge but it has been one that was more than met by the R&D department in Vicenza. The Zonda disc brake is not only more reactive when compared to the rim brake version but it is also 25 grams lighter than its closest competitor. Adding more tech and more componentry to a wheel while increasing its performance, lowering its weight and ensuring that same Campagnolo reliability cyclists have come to expect make a wheelset that should be at the top of any disc brake riding athlete in the market for a serious upgrade.