ZEAL CAMERIG44 –THE KAMM-TAIL REVOLUTION
As recently announced here, Bikebug is the exclusive partner of ZEAL Cycling for the Australian market. But what is the idea behind ZEAL, the Kamm-Tail Technology and finally behind the CAMERIG44 wheels.
Vision, mission, corporate identity, brand attitude, a wide playing field: these are all terms that can be described in very great detail. ZEAL is keeping it short and simple. The brand name itself describes an individual attitude therefore it is a part of the founders’ identity and consequently corporate identity and brand attitude are compressed into one single word.
“Whenever we ride our bikes, we do it with great zeal to be faster, when we develop a product, we do it zealously to enhance the performance and whenever we get in touch with our customers, we work with special zeal to exceed their expectations.”
Driven by this mission, ZEAL aimed for a groundbreaking approach to develop a unique wheel for a wide field of applications – a so called “Aero-Allrounder”
Very often the word “all-round” will be understood as “nothing special” but in the context of cycling the all-rounder is a very strong rider. Often these “Puncheurs” are icons of the professional peloton. And one of the favorite races for every all-rounder is the Amstel Gold Race. Since 1966 the Amstel is often considered the opening race of the Ardennes Week although the race location in Limburg is not part of the Ardennes.
With more than 30 short hills, which challenge the riders in an increasing frequency the climbing distance adds up to 46,7 km and 2.318 meters in altitude. Erik Zabel shared the following memories about the tough race with ZEAL: “For me the Amstel Gold race was always a very special Challenge. Even though I have sought my chances in a sprint final, the Amstel Gold Race is a race for All-Rounder. This is true for the rider but also for the material. Therefore, I was even happier that I could win the race in the year 2000. The huge number of short climbs, such as
the Camerig make the race very difficult and you are wondering, if you are really in the “flat” Netherlands, while heaving up the steep ramps.”
The Camerig is not the steepest (3,8%), not the longest (4.300m) and not the highest (118m -> 281m = 163m) thus the all-rounder climb after all and therefore the perfect “patron” for an “Aero-Allrounder” wheel set.
When observing the current developmental progression of aerodynamic road bike frames, it is striking that the classical tear drop shape, well known due to its similarity in appearance to the wing of an airplane, is outdated. The explanation for this is simple and caused by the relatively low speed of a bicycle. The typical airfoil design plays to its full strengths at speeds of above 100km/h.
Today many leading road bike manufacturers pursue the Kamm-Tail principle, which was invented in the 1930’s by Wunibald Kamm, a German engineer. In contrast to a typical aero shape, the Kamm profile is flattened at the back.
Using the Kamm principle in the context of the relatively low speeds of a bicycle, one can make use of the theoretical aerodynamic advantage of a high profile even if the real height is lower. Some frame manufacturers call this “virtual airfoil”.
Besides improved aerodynamics this design principle offers further advantages:
• Higher lateral stiffness
• Lower weight
• Higher riding stability in crosswind conditions
• Better vertical compliance (comfort)
Within the development process of the CAMERIG44 rim, ZEAL transferred this approach into the design of an aerodynamic rim in a hitherto unseen and unique manner.
But an outstanding wheel is more than just a rim it is a complete and well attuned system. A lightweight and durable Swiss Made hub set with a star ratchet freewheel at the rear guarantees long term trouble-free use. The simple but very precise press-fit assembly allows quick and easy integration into almost any axle configuration
without special tools. Straight pull bladed Sapim aero spokes, fixed in nipples with a special locking mechanism further improve the stiffness and aerodynamics of the entire wheel.
Like a well attuned symphony, which will not create an exceptional sound experience without a conductor and great acoustics, a wheel set will not provide excellent product performance without the skills of an experienced wheel builder and an outstanding product design. The CAMERIG44 is hand assembled in Europe and the laser
engraved hubs in combination with a very plain branding will adorn every road bike.
In 2017, the CAMERIG44 wheels were reviewed in many European bike magazines and got great recommendations
from the editors.
ZEAL CAMERIG44 HIGHLIGHTS
• Kam Tail inspired 44mm Aero-All-round rim shape
• Lightweight and stiff full carbon rim (only 370g (tubular), 450g (clincher))
• Tubeless prepared
• Rim bed optimized for 25mm tires
• Laser engraved Swiss Made hubs in cooperation with DT Swiss
• Non-contact sealing and high end bearing for perfect rolling performance
• Durable and precise star ratchet freewheel system
• Compatible with almost any axle configuration
• Straight pull bladed aero spokes (Made by Sapim)
• Nipples with a special locking mechanism (Made by Sapim)
• Hand laced and trued by experienced wheel builders