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Vento Wheel review

Hi everyone,

I just picked up my new set of Campagnolo Vento wheels from Dean Woods in Melbourne and thought some of you might be interested in a few of my initial thoughts and impressions!

Background story: I have wanted a new set of wheels for my Bianchi Via Nirone Alu Carbon job for a while. The stock wheels weren’t cutting it for me and despite the fact they are bomb-proof – one really bad accident where they survived while I didn’t – I felt my bike needed to be treated right with a lighter and stiffer set of wheels.

I had three options:

- Rebuild my Miche/Ambrosio stock wheels with CXP32 rims and DT db spokes from my LBS (Planet Cycles in Brisbane). (Around $400 AUD not inc Cassette)

- Get Planet to build me a completely new wheelset, inc hubs etc… (around $700 AUD no cassette)

- OR Buy a new factory wheelset.

The economics of wheelsets are quite different here in Australia compared to what I've heard from the US and Europe - the factory wheels are almost always cheaper than the custom wheels.

Because I’m cheap, I went with door number 3 and started looking around at the Mavic K’s and lower end campys. The K’s were way too exxy for my budget ($800+) and I’d heard of them having a few issues with broken spokes even on light riders (I’m light at 64kg, 5ft 11) and a ‘clicking’ problem associated with the rim joining process. K’s were out, Campys were in.

According to popular belief, the Vento’s were cheap, strong but a bit on the heavy side – 2kg’s for the set. My current and very flexy Ambrosio wheelset couldn’t be much worse really – 2.4kg’s inc cassette/lockring/ti skewers so I started looking around at prices. D Woods did me a fairly good deal inc a veloce cassette, installed, taped and shipped to Brisbane.

The shop I bought my Bianchi from – Peloton Cycles at Milton – wanted to charge me $650 for the same rig! No sale.

BIG hint to anyone buying the Ventos – make SURE that you get the 2006 model – they have dropped 250g to bring them to around 1750g and have a redesigned front and rear hub and they are still as strong as ever apparently! Hence, I asked DW explicitly for the 2006 model.

But despite the fact that I drummed it into the sales rep’s head that I needed the latest model, they sent me a set of the 2005 Ventos – not happy Jan. A few phone calls later and they sent me a set of the 2006’s and I ended up with BOTH wheelsets at home this weekend. I haven’t ridden the 2005’s because they have to go back in mint condition so a ride comparison is out of the question but I can give you heaps of photos to look at and my thoughts on the 2006’s of which I’ve done about 150k’s on them in the last two days.

So without further ado, onto the photos!

You Can really see the big spoke here – used to balance the wheel.

From left to right: Vento 05 / Vento 06 / Stock Ambrosio

Vento report

The 2006 Vento’s feel completely different to my Stock Ambrosios (FCS 28 rims, Miche hubs and cassette). The Via Nirone is a great bike but because of the low(er) cost compared to their other bikes I really think Bianchi skimped a bit on the wheels. Lesson learned – build your own bike next time! The Ventos are responsive, light and fast – we were practicing sprints and pace lines on my training ride on Sat and I won my sprint by miles and actually kept up with the pace line doing 45+km/h along the Brisbane corso. So the bottom line is that they are faster, but it isn’t hard to imagine why when compared to my old wheels. The Veloce cassette shifts are better and faster than the Miche on my stock wheels and when pedaling, the drivetrain is quieter with less skipping. No matter how close the derailer is to the correct cog position on the Miche cassette, I can’t stop the chain from picking up the offset tooth or the next cog. As always, the 06 Vento hubs stay true to their Campagnolo heritage and are REALLY noisy. This isn’t really a problem in bunches which are quite noisy anyway and peds can now hear me coming a mile away!

I’ve only ridden them on a few rough roads and only had to bunnyhop them once to avoid a ditch but like their 2005 contemporaries, they remained true.

Bike report

The Bianchi Via Nirone is one of their budget models and to keep costs down Bianchi has skimped on some of the parts. Let me qualify that statement – by skimping I am referring to Campy Veloce 10sp and in-house Bianchi branded parts. Not really a big deal if you aren’t a bike coinsure or a racer. The groupset works well and functions as it should with no major complaints. I’m not terribly particular about my bikes but it’s still a Bianchi and it’s still made in Italy.

One complaint I do have however is the poor quality of the break pads. They are SHOCKERS and will pick up bits of your rim no matter how much your resurface the rim or sand down the pads. This has lead to several deep gouges in my stock rims and the pads are now replaced with a BBB set – still trying to get some koolstops. Did I also mention that I’m commuting on my Bianchi?? I chose the Via Nirone because I’ve always wanted a Bianchi and I wanted something that wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Taiwanese made Treks etc… (this is despite the fact that I KNOW the Taiwanese bikes are actually pretty good – I have a Kona Kula for bushbashing). I could have gone for the 1885 or 928 but they were out of my budget and if I was spending that sort of cash, I would want to build my own bike.

The ride is stiff and the bike is responsive. Steering is stable and corning is predicable and controlled. The bike isn’t weight weenier light – 8.2kg’s with my old wheels, under 8 with my Ventos but for the price you can’t go wrong! The ass end fit felt good but the stock stem was way too long as is the case with most European short TT bikes where they make up for it with a longer stem (which can help with steering control). I swapped the 120mm stem for a 100 and it felt a lot more comfortable. However, having said that, now that I’m getting used to the aero position and my core strength is increasing, I feel that the bars could go forward just a tad.

While I’m not bowled over by the bike and won’t rave on about it for ages, it’s still a fantastic bike to ride and does exactly what you want it to do with no complaints. With the vento wheels, it’s worlds better.



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