How does an Aero-Allrounder perform in the typical environment of a spring classic race in the north of France? This was the main question, which will be answered in the review of the Belgian Grinta! magazine. Here you can read the complete review. 

100% Tested: ZEAL CAMERIG44 wheel set

The ZEAL CAMERIG44 wheels look different and for €1.399,- you will get the whole package: wheel set, quick releases, tires and all of that in a nice double, padded wheelbag. Time to do some testing! “As is there aren’t enough wheel manufacturers yet”, is normally my reaction when I receive an email in my inbox again stating that there is a new wheel builder with -of course- a revolutionary product. Because in many cases it turns out to be one of a dozen Chinese rims on which a marketeer has put his brand name, while his uncle laces wheels from them in his garage. This doesn’t need to result in a bad product, but you can’t call it reinventing the wheel either. We DID test the ZEAL CAMERIG44 wheel set. First of all because of the fact that the two men behind ZEAL already have a lot of experience in the bicycle industry and know the difference between a good and bad product. Besides that, the ZEAL wheels look truly different…

The fact that ZEAL sells his wheels consumer-direct is not a big innovation, because these days there are more bike products which are sold directly from the manufacturer to the consumer. It is remarkable to that ZEAL delivers his wheels complete. For example including quick releases, brake pads and with the tires already mounted, all packed in a luxurious double wheel bag. ZEAL’s product portfolio consists of six wheel sets at the moment. The HOUFFA25 wheel set for mountain bikers has a 25mm deep carbon rim and is delivered with Center Lock or IS-6 bolt disc brake hubs. The ZEAL CAMERIG44 wheel sets are for road use and you can select from clincher or tubular versions for both rim brake and disc brake. Grinta! tested the CAMERIG44 for clincher tires and rim brakes. DT Swiss hubs and Sapim aerospokes, with those you will no longer make the difference as wheel builder, the rim is where it’s all about. The 450gr full carbon rim from ZEAL was designed to work best with a 25mm wide tire and stands out with its Kamm Tail design. Back in the days, the aerorims all had a sharp profile which performs well with frontal airstreams, but lacks performance in cross-wind situations. With the slightly rounder profiles, the aero wheel brands try to limit the cross wind sensitivity these days. ZEAL however, takes it a lot further with the Kamm Tail profile. The Kamm Tail profile has a straight side wall and a round edge and is already used by many bike brands for mainly the down tubes of the frames. With the black, laser engraved, DT Swiss 240s hubs, black spokes and the deep bulky carbon rims with discrete/classy ZEAL logo’s, the CAMERIG44’s definitely look amazing and fast.

Also the weights are more than OK: 685gr for the front wheel, 880gr for the rear wheel and 58gr for the sleek quick released. The wheels were weighted including DT Swiss tubeless rim tape, because they come standard like this and they are fully tubeless compatible. In future, ZEAL plans to also include tubeless valves in the package. The front wheel has 20 radial laced Sapim CX Ray spokes, the 24 spokes in the rear wheel (CX ray at the non-drive side and CX on the drive side) are laced in a two cross pattern. The ‘Ready to Ride’ package includes a pair of Continental Grand Prix 4000S II 25mm tires and two pairs of the SwissStop Black Prince brake pads. ZEAL’s choice for the Conti’s is based on the huge popularity of the German tires, but on request the wheels can also be delivered with different tires. The first test is right away a ride of 175km, straight through hilly and especially windy Northern-France, where the quality of the road surface is far below the European average. The ideal place to test the wheels. For aerowheels, the weight of 1.565 grams is absolutely OK (ZEAL even claims a weight below 1.500gr without rim tape) and due to that low weight the ZEAL CAMERIG44 accelerate very well. De lateral stiffness of the wheels is raceworthy, in combination with the Continental tires the wheel set feels a bit uncomfortable for recreational use. Intrigued by the unique shape of the rims, I’m expecting a lot of the wheels when it comes to cross wind sensitivity and after my first ride, im not yet overwhelmed by the result. With constant pressure from the wind through open fields, it’s easy to lean against the wind and keep control, but with constantly changing winds (near houses or trees), the wheels still react a bit sensitive.

After around 500km, I have changed the Continental tires for the new Hutchinson Fusion5 Performance tires which are a bit more flexible and therefore increase the comfort of the wheels. After a couple of races on the ZEAL CAMERIG44’s, I conclude that the cross wind sensitivety at high speeds (constantly above 40km/h) is a lot better. And the stiffness and performance of the wheels to race on them is certainly very good. In dry conditions, the SwissStop brake pads perform well on the rims, in wet conditions it remains the case that the brake performance is less and the Swiss brake pads can’t really change that. With older group sets (10 speed and before) it can be the case that the 25,1mm wide rims just fit or won’t fit. The brakes of older group sets are all designed for less wide rims and if you use a wide rims with those brakes, you might lose absolute maximum brake power.

Conclusion? €1.399,- is for such a complete wheel set with all that’s included in the package in interesting price, especially if you count the 6 years warranty, which is not only for the first owner, by the way. Also a crash replacement program is available. To make the wheels for recreational riders an absolute must-have, I would like to see that the front wheel is a bit less deep. With that, the bike will be more stable and calms. The 44mm rims certainly don’t perform less than other wheels on the market when it comes to cross wind performance, the positive difference is also not huge and is mainly noticeable during competition races. That’s why I feel that the ZEAL CAMERIG44 wheel set is a perfect upgrade for a true competitive racer. So not only ‘Ready to Ride’, but certainly ‘Ready to Race’.

Here you can find the review on the Grinta! website.