Campagnolo’s line of Bora wheels has been one of the Italian brand’s marquee product ranges for many years, and, at long last, it now includes some full-carbon clincher models. Two distinct Bora clincher models are on offer—the One and the Ultra—with the key difference between the two being their respective hubs. And within each of those One and Ultra subgroups are two wheel depths—35mm and 50mm—making for a complete line of four carbon clinchers. Campagnolo sent us a set of the Bora Ultra 35 carbon clinchers, and we wasted no time in testing them out.
The Bora Ultra rim measures 35mm deep by 24.2mm wide (at the brake track), with an internal rim width of 17.4mm, and it’s crafted from a very sharp-looking, tight-woven carbon ﬁber. With a relatively traditional design culminating in a sharp trailing edge that’s been rounded off a fair bit, the rim proﬁle itself isn’t anything overly dramatic. Campagnolo has employed its Dynamic Balance technology on the Bora, which entails utilizing pieces of carbon fabric being aligned in a way that complete balance is given maximum priority. The brake track features Campagnolo’s latest 3Diamant surface treatment, which utilizes diamond-tipped machinery tools to help eliminate minute imperfections in the brake surface, resulting in a cleaner, more effective surface for pads to engage.
What sets the Ultra line apart from the One series are its hubs. The lower-cost One clinchers ($2700) receive Campagnolo’s alloy hub shells and USB-model ceramic bearings, while the pricier Ultra clinchers ($3900) get the Italian marque’s top-of-the-line carbon hub shells and CULT ceramic bearings. The hubs are mated to the rims with simple stainless steel spokes with external nipples, making them easy to service. The front wheel features a standard radial pattern, while the rear wheel gets Campagnolo’s signature G3 spoke pattern, which groups the rear wheel’s 21 spokes together into seven groups of three each, which are spaced evenly apart along the rim surface. Campagnolo says that this unique pattern offers an ideal spoke-tension balance, thereby increasing lateral stiffness, while at the same time helping to mitigate road vibrations.
Like the Bora One clincher models, the Ultra line is available in two different graphics packages: Dark (dark gray) and Bright (white and red). For reference, our test set came with the Bright graphics. Both the Bora Ultra 35 and Bora One 35 are also available in tubular versions, which are a few dollars cheaper and a few grams lighter than their clincher counterparts. And if your bike has a Shimano or SRAM drivetrain, don’t fret—Campagnolo will sell you a Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehub body to switch out on your set of Boras.
The Bora clincher’s 35mm depth is a “happy medium” among wheel sizes, and what we mean is that a rim of such depth is typically neither too harsh nor too soft. And, the Bora Ultra clinchers are just right in that regard, offering plenty of stiffness, yet they won’t beat you up even after several hours in the saddle.
With a total weight of less than 1400 grams (or just over 1400 grams if you add in the quick releases), the Bora Ultras would seem to be a great set of climbing companions. And, happily, they are. But, that’s also due to their terriﬁc lateral stiffness, which allowed our testers to put down the power efﬁciently on quick uphill accelerations. These wheels are a dream on a big day of climbing.
When the breeze picks up, the Bora Ultras retain their handling capabilities well. Being a touch deeper than many lower-cost aluminum box rims, and with a rather traditional, albeit blunted, V-shaped proﬁle, the Bora Ultras will catch a tiny bit of wind in the most blustery of conditions. But, none of our testers noted any troubles in overall handling.
Just as the Bora Ultras are a terriﬁc companion for when the road kicks up, so, too, are they a boon to your riding experience when the road descends. Because of their hearty amount of lateral stiffness and respectable amount of vertical stiffness, these wheels hold a line terriﬁcally. Pick your line, plant them into a corner and away you go.
As with any carbon clincher, there are always concerns when it comes to braking. More speciﬁcally, concern rises from the rims’ ability to manage heat. Thankfully, Campagnolo invested heavily into the Bora rims’ braking surface, and during our testing, we only experienced a solid braking feel and a good amount of modulation. We’d put the Bora Ultras near the top, although not necessarily at the pinnacle, of the carbon clincher braking-performance leader board.
Campagnolo wheels have always served us well, and knowing that the Italian company has been developing the Bora clincher line for a very long time gives us plenty of conﬁdence that these wheels will last you through the long haul. We encountered zero durability issues during our test.
• Lightweight, stiff climber
• Comfortable enough for all-day riding
• Ah, the price of prestige
Weight: 1379 grams, plus 68-gram quick releases
Rim depth: 35mm Rim width: 24.2mm (external), 17.4mm (internal)
Spoke count: F-18/R-21
Spoke type: Stainless steel
Spoke pattern: radial (front); G3 (rear)
Notes: Includes brake pads, quick releases and wheel bags. Available for both Campagnolo drivetrains; a Shimano/SRAM-compatible freehub body is also available separately.