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So far it’s a solo ride.

Campagnolo Bora 35

Anthony Little |

We’ve been fans of and have ridden the full range of Campagnolo wheels since the first Shamal was introduced a long, long time ago.

The Bora and Hyperon wheels have gone mostly unchanged as well since they were first introduced but credit really needs to be given to Campagnolo’s engineering department as they have remained some of our favorite wheels this whole time.  While they have never been the lightest (but light enough) or the stiffest (again, stiff enough) or the most aero (at least in the wind tunnel), whenever we rode them they felt the fastest.  Some say it’s the bearings, and I’m not talking specifically about the ceramic models, even Bora One’s or the Hyperon One’s feel super fast.  We can attest to that as Campagnolo has been known for making the smoothest bearings for a long time.

But we feel it just comes down to a solid, well thought out, well built complete wheelset.  How else can a wheel that has been around for so long, mostly unchanged, still demand the attention (so rightly deserved) that it has this long?

The only negative, and this is a small, nitpicking negative, was the breaking.  In the dry the braking was just fine, no surprises and consistent.  But on steep descents when the rim and pads heat up a bit it could get a bit noisy.  Not as bad as a lot of other wheels out there, but noisy none the less.  In the wet it still worked, but would be far down the list of wheels we used when the rains came.

Besides the obvious difference in rim depth, the new Bora Ultra 35′s seem to be addressing this issue.  One thing to remember here; these wheels are made for the top riders in the top events.  Most of the professional riders that we speak with comment that braking isn’t on the top of the list of priorities.  Of course they need to be able to stop well, but they’d rather have a stiff, light wheel and if it makes a little noise or pulses a bit under hard braking, no worries.  Plus, the pulsing and noise generally only happens when you are coming to a full stop, which does not happen too much during a long mountain descent, at least for them.

This was really driven home when I spoke to the head of Carbon Sports in Germany.  He told me that they never even thought of the noise or pulsing on the first generation of their wheels as none of their riders who bought the wheels ever complained of it.  It was only when the recreational riders started buying the wheels (not Lightweights originally intended customer) that they heard this.  Not to hurt anybody’s feelings here, but you (we) generally don’t brake the same way the professionals do.  Mainly we brake harder and longer.  The Pro’s just scrub a little speed off for the corners while so many I see around here almost come to a full stop!

Where was I going with this?  Right, so now that so many recreational riders are riding these wheels these seemingly non-issues have become more of an issue.  Campagnolo has addressed this by totally re-designing the brake surface on their newest carbon wheelset.  Just looking at it we feel it will work well in the dry and wet.  Which means they have begun to catch up to what Shimano has done with the Dura-Ace carbon wheels (awesome braking) and some of the others out there.  Weather it is the same, better or not as good will be found out later when we get some miles on them.  We hope it’s with this set but have a feeling they’ll be sold before we get a chance!  See the pictures below for a good look at the new wheels.

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In the past, the entire rim had a glossy finish.  You can tell where Campagnolo has now re-worked the braking surface.

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The front hub is still mostly carbon, but looks much different from the past Ultra level hubs.  Also noteworthy is that Campagnolo now uses anti-twist spokes as found on the Bora (50mm) One hub.

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So sick.  No one should blame you for just staring at them for a long time…

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These wheels, unlike the Boras and Hyperons before them use external nipples (and not pictured here, a solid rim bed, so the nipples are inserted the same way as the Shamal, Erus and Zonda wheels).

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Better shot of the brake surface.

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The front wheel came in at 525g and uses 18 spokes.

If you are riding on Campagnolo components now, or a thinking about it and want a great set of wheels for all around, dry and wet wheels, these could be it.  We’ll get some miles on them soon enough and give you a no BS assessment of how they work and if they would be right for you.  As with everything we sell we use it, a lot.
Thanks for reading!