Gravel Grinder News: Campagnolo Levante Gravel Wheels – by Guitar Ted
Campagnolo, not necessarily known for its off-pavement efforts since the mid-90’s, had entered the burgeoning gravel cycling market in late 2020 with its groundbreaking Ekar 13 speed gruppo. However; it lacked a true ‘gravel’ wheel set to match. That has now been covered with the news of a new wheel set from the Italian manufacturer dubbed “Levante”, which is a term for the Easterly wind in the Mediterranean area.
Campagnolo has made the new Levante wheel set with carbon fiber rims, of course, but stuck with a bit more traditional based bearings using a cup and cone set up instead of the oft used cartridge bearing style set up most other wheel manufacturers use, with the notable exception of Shimano. Spokes are straight-pull but are not proprietary and could be sourced from most anywhere in case of a need for that. So, good news there.
Beyond that, however; Campagnolo has some innovative technology in the Levante wheel design. Foremost of these features is the H.U.L.C. carbon construction and C-LUX finish. H.U.L.C. stands for “Handmade, Ultra-Light Carbon” and is the result of years of in-house carbon fiber design at Campagnolo. Levante wheels are claimed to be “stiff for climbing, light for handling and compliant for descending” due to this technology. The result is an optimization of carbon and resin which results in a stiff, properly handling wheel set with a light overall weight of a claimed 1485 grams. The wheels pass ASTM 2 certification as well.
The Campagnolo Luxury Finish (C-Lux) featured on the Levante wheel set is a unique finish which uses no clear-coat. The ultra-smooth finish Campagnolo achieves also helps tubeless and tubed tire seating which Campagnolo claims as being the safest possible interface between rim and tire. This C-Lux finish also features lazer etched graphics for ultimate durability in a gravel cycling setting.
TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS• Gravel dedicated wheel set from Campagnolo – ASTM 2 validated • 1485g wheelset weight• 30mm profile , 25mm internal channel, 30.6mm external profile • Laser-etched graphics on rim & hub• Asymmetric carbon fiber rim with Mini-Hook • H.U.L.C. UD carbon fiber, 2-Way Fit rim, C-LUX finish • Aluminum hub, cup & cone adjustable bearings • 24 spokes, 12+12 double butted, aluminum external self lock nipples • Tire compatibility: from 38 to 76 mm
Campagnolo claims that with its wide range of suggested tire widths, Levante wheels are good for anything from fast gravel racing to bike-packing. The ASTM 2 rating would seem to also suggest this. The freehub body on the rear wheel also has 11, 12, or 13 speed compatibility with Campagnolo’s “N3W™” freehub but Levante wheels can also be had with Shimano HG or SRAM XDR freehub bodies as options.
Campagnolo also uses a “Mini-Hook” bead on the rim which they claim will work with clinchers yet be optimal for tubeless tire set-ups, making for the best of both worlds. Campagnolo says the new Mini-Hook is completely within ERTO standards for tubeless or clincher safety regulations.
Priced at £1349.99, $1899.95 USD, €1575 with N3W hub, Levante is available now. To learn more see www.campagnolo.com
NOTE: Images and information on the new Campagnolo Levante wheels was supplied to Riding Gravel by Campagnolo USA.