Just received my set as with some other cycling-purchases, I'm so compelled to share my thoughts with the world. Separated this lengthy post into sections so you can save yourself some trouble.
Prior to getting this wheelset, I had Performance Bicycle's Apollo, where I went into some depth about it in another thread. In short, that was a nice set, cost more, was lighter (by some 150-200 grams), but I just didn't totally have that peace of mind to see/use them as beater wheels. Take into account I've had to revisit the truing stand on multiple occasions, and ate brake tracks quickly, it just wasn't happening for me.
The rest of my wheel experience is only of entry level stuff: Shimano R500 (as a rear), Mavic Aksium (as a front; paired with that R500 when I got the bike), and Shimano RS-10s that I borrowed. If it wasn't obvious enough, I've always had a low-end budget. But another point is I'm not that heavy (140-ish), so in my experience all of those were reliable. In fact I used the Aksium as a front wheel as it felt more solid than the Apollos in descending. This lasted until the wheel took a kick at the spokes while in the garage. Could re-align it, given I had nipples in better condition, but I figured it's time to just get a new set.
My considerations aside from the Khamsins were new or take-off R500's, RS-10's, or Aksiums. Basically "that group" ill-advised for most riders. Logic would dictate that if I wanted a sound wheelset, all I needed was some decent 32h stuff. Eh, the aesthetics sucked me in...
Got my 2011 Khamsins from Wiggle - I think they're same as the 2012 ones sans the decals and some dollars. These years' versions have the notable difference of coming with cartridge bearings and regular radial lacing in the front wheel as opposed to the cup/cone bearings and alternating "G3" pattern (it was still radial) of the previous models. I guess we can assume that the Fulcrum Racing 7's have the same update with the bearings
Wiggle's given discount + a 20% voucher put it to $152.98 to the US. Got to CA in a week. Was a hair cheaper than what I could get the virtually identical Fulcrum 7's for. Actually, I'm pretty sure this was cheaper than any low-end set that wasn't a take-off. I'm a little lost to what justifies the purchase of Vento's at this point given the negligible difference in weight. G3-looking pattern in front?
I bought these wheels because I've heard them paired with words like "bombproof" and "200lbs". I'd only assume that'd easily be the case for myself, especially given my experience with other low-spoke count, low-price wheels. I don't race, but I ride on beat roads so you know where my priorities are. Add the fact I don't know what a real light wheelset feels like anyway.
Came to my door well-packaged; the set included skewers, rim tape was installed, also manuals and detailed readout of QC and warranty with a code to identify your exact set for future reference. As that readout noted, the wheels were trued and tensioned (hand-built), there were no aesthetic defects to be found.
> my previous skewers were the "classic" internal cam type that I'd tuck under the chainstay, not really the case here. The levers are nice although the opposite end is plastic. Text orientation aside, the profile of the skewers seem more fitting this way.
If you weren't aware of it already, there's J-bend spokes on the rear's drive side. All the spokes are your typical round kind, so this would appear more service-friendly than the likes of pricepoint comparable Shimano's R- and RS- models, Neuvations, and Mavic's Aksium.
Tires installed were a 25mm Michelin PR3 Optimum and 23mm Vittoria Rubino Pro Slick. Perhaps wearing them in a bit already should be taken into account, but both were effortless to install. On the note of this installation, the supplied rim tape seemed slippery so I didn't have to fiddle with the tube to make sure it wasn't pinched. I didn't even hear any self-corrections when I pumped the tires.
Did my typical hill repeat routine, although I was more focused on making sure the wheels were sound. I've heard that Campy/Fulcrum stuff is loud, but this year it doesn't seem like the case. Key thing I noticed is they're smooth. Again, this might just be due to the underwhelming references I have for comparison. Nonetheless it's a promising remark of quality. I bombed down the hill with a lot of confidence and I came home finding them still true.
Brake shuddering was non-existent, as was any sign of creaking or howling. You'd think with the lacing and such that the spokes would be in high-tension. They are, but nothing absurdly out there. I mean the Khamsin rear wheel has 27 spokes in total, where if I understand right the drive-side with the G3 setup kinda saves for the need of higher tension. So in a nutshell, I didn't have comfort issues. In fact, I found the Khamsins felt better than the other wheels I mentioned. (all running @ 90psi)
Regarding G3 lacing, for the curious who haven't tried it, meh. I understand the logic on paper and can believe it as an engineering major myself, but the climbing wasn't significantly easier nor was it faster in turn. I noticed I could get the bike to sway more when out of the saddle, but I take that it was just my rhythm with new bearings. In general flex was not perceived in either the front or rear.
The weight as I described just doesn't matter to me all that much - as long as I have a safe and confident ride going down. I was weaving at first a bit on the climbs, but I'm leaving it to the "break-in" of the wheels (and my legs) as it seemed less apparent over the course of the ride.
If I had to knock on these wheels about anything, it'd probably be just color selection. I don't mind the objective white/black/silver colorway, but I would've wanted plain silver models if given the option - especially for the spokes. Just gives a "fuller" look. Meh.
I honestly don't want to bother with the brand war, but this kinda left a good impression for what is my first Campagnolo purchase. I know the Khamsins were made in Taiwan so there's no "prestige" or heritage snob points, but I'm also left with the thought of how nice they were rolling. I perceived the other wheels I've used with a sense of crudeness - even when new. These are just entry wheels, but that idea just isn't as engraved in my head when I ride on them. Now I'm not going to deem the Khamsins as the outright superior choice; everything works in the end. I'm just very impressed by what came with their lower price tag.
I think that just all-in-all, I've got me a very sound wheelset for the money. Bit of a strange thing to say as said before: the obvious 32h solution was there. Bite me for succumbing for some regard to aesthetics. Also have to point out that my weight lets me play with such options. I can imagine I'm not the only one in such conditions. I'm looking forward to logging the training miles year-round with the Khamsins. Hope I covered everything atm for anyone curious about it.
>Zoinks, paired with Shimano? Whole bike's a mess of brand discrepancy, with a Cervelo fork, Speciailized S-Works chainring (crankset for that matter has 4 brands involved including the pedals); and mismatching tires, cockpit, and brake calipers.
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