Words by Max Burgess
It’s always nice when a company such as Campagnolo proposes a product to test and review, so when I was asked to try their Bora One 35 wheels on behalf of Podia, I couldn’t say no.
The Bora wheels come in two flavours for both clincher and tubular with multiple depths. The Bora One and Bora Ultra (35 & 50) are much the same except for the upgraded CULT ceramic bearings in the higher priced Ultra. The Ultra also comes with a super-deep 80 and a super-shallow Hyperon.
I would never call myself a Campagnolo ‘fan-boy’. In fact, it was only recently that I made the switch to Campagnolo on my road bike after trying Record on a Passoni Test bike; the feel of the hoods, along with the fact that production is still carried out in Europe was enough to swing me.
I have never really given their wheels much thought. In all honesty their G3 spoke lacing and use of large decals have always put me off. Despite the fact that the heptagram spoke pattern reportedly enables better power transfer and balance of the wheels by allowing double the number of spokes on the drive side to the non-drive side, I still was not convinced.
The wheels ship with some rugged QR skewers and don’t require any rim tape due to there being no spoke holes in the moulded carbon. Without tires, tube, cassette or skewers the wheels came to 1370 grams (front 593 grams, rear 777 grams). Once built up with standard Continental race inner tubes, Challenge Strada 25mm tires (to match my existing wheelset) Campagnolo Record 11-27 cassette and Campagnolo QR skewers they weighed in at 2401 grams (front 973 grams, rear 1428 grams).
The first opportunity to test the wheels came with good company as Polish National Road Champion Tomasz Marczyński joined a local ride I attended. He will also be riding with Campy wheels next year after his recent move to Lotto Soudal. On the ride he had the aluminium Shamal Ultras on his Ridley team training bike.
The wheels were indeed stiff, with the transfer of power through the rear wheel feeling spritely and reactive. Although as a consequence the response from the road is more noticeable.
These new 2015 Bora rims have a new braking surface treatment that removes imperfections, helping to make the braking more consistent. On the ride, braking was surprisingly sharp in the dry(ish) conditions and it will be interesting to see how this changes as the rims and pads ‘bed-in’.
Also new in the 2015 model is a wider rim width that enables wider tires such as the 25mm Stradas that I have mounted to spread out, creating a more aerodynamic profile. On the road this helps to give the impression that they are fast to get up to speed and easier to keep them there.
I will be carrying out a long-term review of the wheels and reporting back. Admittedly the winter months aren’t the best time to be testing carbon wheels, but it should give me ample opportunity to check the braking in the rain as well as the quality of the rim and bearings. In follow up posts I will also write about experiments with different brake pads.
See the short film we made at the factory of Campagnolo…