Campagnolo has released its new Bora Ultra WTO wheelset which the Italian component manufacturer claims is not just another evolution of the Bora line, but a massive step forward in the platform.
The new wheelsets, which are the result of three years of in-house development, will be offered in 33mm, 45mm and 60mm depths and feature significant developments in design. Most notably, Campagnolo will not be offering a tubular or rim brake option for its new best road bike wheels.
Campagnolo released its first Bora wheelset in 1994 and in the 27 years since, there have been 10 iterations of the Bora format each building on the development of the previous models. The new Bora Ultra WTO wheelset is seen as a significant milestone for Campagnolo, who has redesigned the wheelset from the ground up to take into consideration the demands of modern disc brake and tubeless road technologies. Built as a complete system, each component of the wheel shows the results of Campagnolo’s R&D investments.
The Bora Ultra WTO wheels have already seen action too, most notably under Caleb Ewan who used them on his Stage 7 win at the UAE Tour. The wheels have also been used by Tadej Pogačar during his UAE Tour overall win and for Greg Van Avermaet’s Spring Classics campaign.
The wheels use the same basic rim dimensions as the previous models, offering three depth options and with an internal rim diameter of 19mm - with the exclusion of the 33mm rim which has a 21mm inner rim diameter. This is where the similarities with the previous rims end. Campagnolo has revised the rim shape to give better aerodynamic performance and are constructed from Campagnolo’s handmade ultra-light carbon (HULC). The HULC process is Campagnolo’s new method of carbon fibre moulding which it says produces fewer micro defects to improve strength and reduce the weight of the rim.
Campagnolo has invested in road tubeless being the future and has ditched the tubular version. According to its testing, the Bora Ultra WTO wheels are faster than both clincher and tubular versions of Campagnolo’s Bora One wheels. How much faster? Well taking only weight and rolling resistance into account, Campagnolo’s testing indicates that on a hilly 150km stage the new tubeless wheels could be three minutes and nine seconds faster than the Bora One 50 DB clincher and seven minutes and 18 seconds faster than the tubular version, which are significant margins.
The rims are finished - or should we say unfinished - in Campagnolo’s C-LUX which is said to be so smooth that the wheels don’t require a finishing lacquer, thus reducing weight further. The C-LUX hasn’t just been applied to the outer rim surfaces but also the rim bed, the idea being that a smooth surface, along with the fully sealed rim bed, should help a tubeless tyre seat easier when setting up. The aesthetic result of the C-LUX is a shiny finish that compliments the brands Super Record and Record cranksets if you choose to go complete Campagnolo. Gone are the loud Bora logos, too. Instead subtle branding and detailing in copper shade are presented on the rim and hub bodies for a clean finish.
Like the Super Record crankset, the hubs now spin on Campagnolo’s CULT ceramic bearings too which have a claimed 40 per cent increase in efficiency over steel bearings while also offering better durability. Campagnolo says that if you spin the wheels up to 78km/h that they will keep spinning for two hours and 20 minutes, we haven’t put this to the test but they do seem to spin for a very long time.
The front hub features a full carbon construction while the rear has an aluminium construction for better power transfer. The freehub, which uses a 36-tooth pawl ratchet, is compatible with Campagnolo’s 12 and 13 speed N3W freehub body as well as XDR for SRAM or HG for Shimano. The disc-only hubs use the 100/142mm spacing and use a splined AFS (Centerlock compatible) rotor interface.
Campagnolo’s wheels have always stood out among other wheelsets due to the unconventional looks of its G3 spoke pattern which has now been optimised to offer better stiffness when under disc brake braking loads. Particular attention has been paid to the nipple system which is housed in a moulded recess within the rim. The new Aero Mo-Mag internal nipples are completely recessed within the rim for better aerodynamics. The nipple and spoke assembly are electrically insulated to stop corrosion and tension adjustments can be made with the proprietary included tool. The 24 slim Aero Elliptical straight pull spokes are wheel specific though so if you need spares you will have to order them specially.
Weight and pricing
The wheels weigh in at 1,385g (33mm), 1425g (45mm), 1,530g (60mm) which in the 45mm size is around 50g lighter than the Bora One 50mm disc wheelset. The wheels come supplied with the Aero Mo-Mag nipple maintenance kit, tubeless valves, tyre levers, AFS lockrings, Campagnolo wheel and accessories bag. If you purchase the N3W freehub wheelset, the Campagnolo N3W Z11 adapter is also included. All this research and development comes at a cost and pricing is unsurprisingly at the high end. Although with that said, the RRP is only a touch more expensive than the older Bora Ultra 50s. Suggested retail for the Bora Ultra WTO N3W versions is €3,150 / $3,585 USD / £2,810 and initially will only be sold as complete wheelsets.
There is a lot of depth into Campagnolo’s development of the new Bora Ultra WTO wheelset. While most brands are just refining rim profile and widening inner rim diameter, Campagnolo has really considered every part of the wheelset to optimise the system as a whole. While many brands are opting to go wider, it is interesting that Campagnolo has stuck with the 19mm inner diameter for the 45mm and 60mm wheelsets suggesting that Campagnolo has found a 19mm inner rim diameter to be the most aerodynamic width when paired with a 25mm tyre.
From the first spin around the carpark there is something different about the way the Bora Ultra WTO wheelset seems to roll. Less friction is a far easier performance metric to tangibly feel unlike theoretic aero watts saved at a certain speed and yaw. When out on the road, even at slow speeds, the wheels seem to hold onto momentum, extending freewheeling segments beyond what might be otherwise expected. Unsurprisingly, they feel quite effortless to accelerate as well, with a quick hub engagement quickly driving pedal-torque straight into spinning up the wheels.
While our initial experience has unfortunately been limited to only a few short rides so far, we will of course be putting a lot more miles in and bring a full review in the coming months.
Tech Specs: Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheelset
- Rim depth: 33mm, 45mm and 60mm
- Rim width: 21mm (33mm), 19mm (45mm, 60mm)
- Weight (pair, N3W, exc. lockring/valve): 1385g (33mm), 1425g (45mm), 1530g (60mm)
- Freehub compatibility: Campagnolo N3W, XDR and HG freehubs
- N3W Specification: €3150 / $3585 USD / £2810 per pair
- HG Specification: €3155 / $3590 USD / £2815 per pair
- XDR Specification: €3160 / $3595 USD / £2820 per pair
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