Campy Rims (from the official site)Campagnolo is the only component maker capable of supplying all of a bicycle's drivetrain components, from pedals to rims. In this edition of Tech Talk, Tim Laflin examines Campy's updated '98 rim lineup. (We also have Tim's exclusive review of Campagnolo's '98 wheelsets.)

Guide to the Rims
Atlanta | Barcelona | Montreal | Mexico/Moskva | Berlin | Sydney


What can I say about rims? Well this year Campy has cut the pork and addressed some key issues that I had with the old rims. The first big issue that really confused me was the shear number of different rims that seemed to overlap.

There are two major types of rims. There are tubulars and clinchers. Most of the world rides on clinchers due to the expense of tubular tires and the pain involved in acutally fixing a tubular. To this end Campy has taken a bit radical approach this year: It will offer one rim choice to the tubular tire buyer. An array of six different rims are available to the clincher buyer. In all reality this is probably the best for all concerned.

The rims for this year are of the same high quality you expect from Campy, but in the last two years two major improvments have been brought to market. Campy is now going to offer what it calls SWT or side wall treatment. Mavic has been doing this for quite some time and it drives up the rim price to the point that not many of the competitors have been willing to follow. The second improvment is the HPB or high performance braking control surface. All of the rims in the line receive one or the other.

There are a few ways to make rims that works well. The cheapest way was to take a single wall extrusion and weld the seam and grind it back flat. The drawbacks to this product were many. The first was that the spoke nipples had to be shielded from the innertube. The second was the rim lacked side to side stiffness. All this changed when the dual wall rim was invented. The second wall allowed for two improvments. The innertube could now ride higher, above the spoke nipples, so flats were much less common from the nipples sharp edges or long spokes poking through the tube. In the single wall design the only thing that protected the tube was a strip of sacraficial rubber over the heads of the nipples. The second benefit was a much stronger rim. The rim now had an enclosed box section to increase rigidity.

All Campy rims are at least dual wall construction. I want to make a short statement of the two types of construction for Campy rims. The HPW rims are joined rims with an insert that gets rivited into place to hold the rim together. This style of rim has historically had a very noticable seam during braking. I will give Campy credit that they are the best in the industry with this technique, but I have been spoiled with the SWT machined side wall that is without seams. The SWT rim is welded at the joint in the rim and then machined to the correct dimension without the need for the joining insert like the HPW. The HPW side wall treatment is better in durability and braking performance (especially in the wet). The call as to which to pick will be more of a choice of the conditions you ride in. If you live in England and you have a lot of rain the choice is easliy HPW. If you live in Phenoix, Arizona I would probably go with the smoother-braking SWT.


This is the top of the line wind cheater from Campy. The rim weight is a hefty 590 grams. The width if the rim is a thin 19mm and the aero depth is 34mm. This rim is targeted for the time trial or lone rider that is willing to run a skinny sub 23mm tire. You can run any tire you like, but a 20 or 19mm tire will not leave the rim peaking out to plow throught the wind like a wider rim. If you are riding as a single for timed events this may be your rim. The draw backs are the cross wind characteristics are not very good and the ride can be harsh with narrow tires. The benefits are lower wind drag. The rims comes in a single color which is a high polished aluminum with HPW side walls.


This is the lone tubular rim in the line. It is the lightest rim at 410 grams. Campy is offering this box cross section rim with a wide 22mm tire area and a very thin 11.6mm height. This is the perfect choice for the climber, sprinter or crit rider. If you are riding tubulars, then weight and ride quality are a big issue. This rim has no aero profile. What it does have is excelent crosswind stability (good for group rides so you don't sail across the road in a gust of wind), lateral rigidity (stiff for the sprints), and low mass for good acceleration. Like all Campy eyelet rims this one has stainless steel eyelets. Yeah, big deal! If you are a gram head and want to use alloy nipples the eyelets are they way to go. An eyelet rim will allow the nipples to spin easily without cutting into the nipple. The rims witout eyelets tend to cut into the nipple and break the nipples, plus they are harder to get up to proper tension without rounding the nipples. The side walls are SWT and the color is dark anodized aluminum.


This is the clincher version of the Barcelona in a way. The width of the Montreal is 19mm with a 16.6mm depth. It is a box section rim with stainless eyelets. At 415 grams it is the lighest clincher Campy makes. The things to not here are the SWT side walls and the narrow width. This is a rim that is designed for a lighter rider or somebody that is easy on the equipment. It makes a good all around front, but heavier riders will untrue in the back faster than some of the heavier rims. The narrow width of the rim will decrase the full effect of the dual pivot braking in geometry slightly. The finish for the Montreal is dark annodized only.

Mexico and Moskva

Both of these rims are very similar. It is the cross over rim for Campy. It is not aero and not box section. The Mexico is slightly deeper in aero profile by 1.6mm. Both rims are 20mm wide. The Mexico is 485 grams compared to the Moskva's 435 grams. I guess Campy could not decide which one to kill. The wall thickness on both rims is roughly equivalent, but the Mexico unbuilt is a little stiffer. If you are a heavier rider the Mexico may make sense. Last year the staple rim for most of my building was the Moskva and it received very few complaints. Either rim is good and the ligher Moskva was a better choice for the gram concious consumer. These rims have a better aero profile than the box section rims, but do not suffer from cross winds like thea Atlanta and Sydney. It is some of both worlds. Both rims are the HPW construction. The one caution I will make is that new brake pads have little contact area to these rims due to the curvature. It will take several miles to ware the pads to match. Mexico comes in a single finish of a satin aluminum. The Moskva comes in a titanium finish which looks cool on light colored bikes and Ti bikes.


This is the heavy duty rim in the Campy line up. At 535 grams in an almost box section it is designed for the hard roads and heavy loads. Not only does it use a dual wall construction, but it also gets reinforcement from added corner braces in the second wall. It carries stainless eyelets for easy turing and long life. It has SWT side walls with a satin finish. The rim is a more or less standard 20mm wide and 18 mm deep. This makes a decent wheel for tandem use and rear wheels for big riders.


This is the Atlanta with new SWT side walls. It is 19 mm wide with a 30mm deep aero section. It is not as aero as the Atlanta and it is 37 grams lighter at 553 grams. Take your pick based on the SWT versus HPW recommendations above. All of the comments for the Atlanta are valid for the Sydney. The Atlanta is a little more aero in shape and a little deeper, but the bottom line is both rims are targeted at the same purpose. The Sydney comes in a satin aluminum.

That is it for the Campy rims this year! The choice is simple now. Last year the all the rims came in 3 colors and there were more of them. This year picking a Campy rim has never been easier and the new SWT means you do not have to go to Mavic to get the smooth braking. You still have a choice of HPW for bad weather. Unless stainless steel eyelets are mention in the rim discription the rims do not have eyelets.

This page created on March 8, 1998

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