Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Grab your checkbooks, fans of Italian cycling tech, Campagnolo’s new Bora Ultra WTO wheels, its most advanced ever, come with some sticker shock—along with a healthy heaping of performance upgrades to match.
The Bora series has served as Campagnolo’s highest performance wheelset for nearly three decades now. All those years of new models, from the iterations to the revolutionary overhauls, has led us to these three new bar-setting wheels: Bora Ultra WTO in 33mm, 45mm and 60mm depths. They’re beautiful, and expensive, costing $3,585.
Fans of the fabled Italian brand are likely on the whole un-phased by its prices by this point, so the $3,585 price tag for these gorgeous made-in-Italy hoops comes as more of ‘sticker surprise,’ not ‘shock.’ And to be fair, Campagnolo is nowhere near alone in this price point. It has been a big week all around for high-end wheels, with Zipp releasing the 353 NSW, price tag: $4,000.
Internal Nipples, with Easy Maintenance
Campagnolo has overhauled the Bora line across the board. One innovation in particular, Aero Mo-Mag, allows the wheels to improve on multiple fronts. Aero Mo-Mag allows the nipples to sit internally in the rim for an extra aero benefit, especially when coupled with Campagnolo’s aero elliptical spokes. And Aero Mo-Mag allows Campagnolo to mold the spoke holes, rather than drilling them, increasing strength and extending the wheel’s life by reducing stress. For additional longevity, a fiberglass-reinforced polymer plate sits between the rim and the nipple, reducing the likelihood of galvanized corrosion.
Aero Mo-Mag also means no holes in the rim bed, so no need for rim tape to run these clinchers tubeless. And don’t worry about the difficulty of truing wheels that often accompanies internal-nipple designs, these wheels come with a tool that lets you adjust spoke tension externally, without removing tires, just like an external-nipple design.
Campagnolo’s iconic G3 spoke pattern, where spokes are arranged in groups of three, remains, a design which Campagnolo says makes the wheels super stiff, while reducing stress to the wheels under braking and sprinting.
The rims are laid up with Campagnolo’s Hand Made Ultra-Light Carbon (H.U.L.C.), which is just the name it assigns to its choice of fiber type and resin to balance strength, stiffness and weight. And the outside and rim bed feature a mirror-like Campagnolo Luxury (C-LUX) finish, which, in addition to looking cool, is extremely smooth, removing the need for lacquer and saving some more grams. Campagnolo also claims the finish provides safety benefits when applied to the rim bed, because it so smooth that it reduces the risk of abrasions to the bead.
Total weight for the wheels are impressive, though not bar-setting. They come in at 1,385g (33mm), 1,425g (45mm) and 1,530g (60mm).
The internal widths remain somewhat restrained compared to modern wheel standards, at 21mm for the 33mm version, and 19mm for the 45mm and 60mm versions. But they’re still aerodynamically optimized for 25mm tires, which has emerged as a new standard width for much of the pro peloton.
Ceramic Bearings Standard
The Bora Ultra WTO models all come standard with Campagnolo’s Ceramic Ultimate Level Technology (CULT) bearings, both front and rear. Campagnolo says these bearings thoroughly outclass standard steel bearings, with 5.5 times less friction. By Campagnolo’s measure, the new wheels take a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes to come a standstill from Alpine-descent speeds of 78 kph (48 mph).
The hubs themselves get a redesign as well, with a narrower flange for enhanced aerodynamics. Both hubs are finished with copper logos, matching the rim logos.
Made in Italy
Campagnolo impresses with its seemingly old fashioned way of doing business: designing, prototyping and producing all parts of its wheels—rim, spoke and hub—in its Vicenza factory. So while many brands can say “designed in Italy (or whichever country),” most can not also say they do the manufacturing in the same country; Campagnolo can proudly say it keeps total control over all of its processes.
more info: campagnolo.com