WTO is the abbreviation for Wind Tunnel Optimised. The Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels are thus made to fool the wind. Therefore, the Italians rely on internal nipples, elliptical aero spokes and a rim shape optimized for 25 mm tires. Read on for all the details and first ride impressions.
With the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels Campagnolo present the new top models of the Bora series. The Bora wheels have their origin 25 years ago. Since then, Campagnolo strive to set the performance standard for racing wheels – and this has not changed for the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels: They are intended to be the fastest wheels in Bora history. To achieve this goal, Campagnolo have invested in new technologies and production facilities at the Italian company site in Vicenza in recent years. Here Campagnolo develop all parts of the wheels themselves and operate the production of prototypes. As befits a manufacturer with WorldTour experience, the pro-riders of UAE Team Emirates, AG2R CITROËN and Lotto Soudal have put the wheels through their paces in racing already. Caleb Ewan (Lotto Soudal) sprinted to victory on them in stage 7 of this year’s UAE Tour, Tadej Pogačar even rode them to overall race victory in the same race and Olympic champion Greg Van Avermaet (AG2R CITROËN) rode them in the spring classics. We have put the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45 on test for you already. All technical details, background information and our first impression can be found here.
The technical details of the Camapgnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels
The Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO series includes three variants that differ in rim depth and width, but otherwise come with the same technology. While the 33-mm version has an inner width of 21 mm, the 45- and 60-mm versions have to make do with an inner width of 19 mm. However, all three versions are said to be aerodynamically optimized for 25-mm tires. All parts, from the nipples to the spokes to the hubs, are developed by Campagnolo itself. For this purpose, Campagnolos own H.U.L.C. carbon, which is supposed to ensure an optimal ratio of stiffness and weight, is used for the rims and for the front hub. In addition, the carbon is processed in a way that no painting is necessary. With the Aero Mo-Mag nipples Campagnolo rely on internal nipples, which are accessible from the outside without having to pull off the tire. The receptacles of the nipples are integrated into the carbon layup, so that no drilling through the rim is necessary.
This means that no rim tape is necessary for a tubeless setup and the stiffness is said to be higher without drilling. Between the nipple and rim sits a polymer plate, which, according to the manufacturer, allows the nipple to align itself in the direction of the spoke and also prevent corrosion. The iconic G3 lacing pattern promises to improve power transfer during sprinting and braking – and tie into the visual legacy of the Bora series. The design of the Bora Ultra WTO hubs was developed to enable this lacing pattern. They are also prepared for centerlock rotors and comply with the 100/142 mm axle standard. Unlike the carbon front hub, the rear hub is made of CNC machined aluminum. It can accommodate the Campagnolo N3W freewheel as well as Shimano HG and SRAM XDR freewheels. Inside the hubs are Campagnolos CULT ceramic bearings, which are said to reduce friction by 40% compared to sealed industrial bearings.
|Product||Profile depth||Internal width||External width||Weight (set)*||Price|
|Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 33||33 mm||21 mm||27.4 mm||1,385 g||€ 3,150 (N3W free hub)
€ 3,155 (HG free hub)
€ 3,160 (XDR free hub)
|Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45||45 mm||19 mm||26.1 mm||1,425 g|
|Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 60||60 mm||19 mm||26.1 mm||1,530 g|
Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO – Faster than ever?
If you believe the calculations of Campagnolo, the Bora Ultra WTO wheels are the fastest in the 25-year history of Bora. Assuming a 70 kg, 175 cm rider completes a 150 km course, 50 km of which is uphill with an average gradient of 5%, with an average power of 3 W/kg, the 45mm version is said to be seven seconds faster compared to the cheaper and heavier Bora WTO 45 wheel – both tubeless built. Compared to the Bora One 50 wheels, the difference is said to be over three minutes (with clincher tires) or over seven minutes (with tubular tires). As is so often the case with such calculations, many assumptions are made. Not everyone weighs 70 kg and not everyone can push 3 W/kg for just under five hours. For us, the calculations are therefore rather relevant for professionals and ambitious athletes who are fighting for victories. For everyone else, seven minutes is also a lot, but for them the plus in comfort is a much bigger gain, made possible by the lower pressure of the tubeless setup. More comfort means less fatigue and more power for demanding situations. Keep this component in mind when doing the math, and you may even be able to average more power on the new Bora Ultra WTO wheels than you would on uncomfortable Bora One 50 with tubular tires. And that would be a real advantage, because it counts beyond all assumptions.
The first ride impressions of the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO
We had the opportunity to ride the Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO wheels in the 45 mm version even before their presentation. If you like the iconic G3 lacing pattern, then the wheels are visually a real treat. The unpainted carbon rims shine in the sun and the glued discreet logos round off the high-quality look. Although Campagnolo say the wheels are aerodynamically optimized for use with 25 mm tires, the wheels for the test came on 28mm-wide Schwalbe Pro One TLE tires. They form a slight O beyond the rim flank, but still make a nice unit with the wheels. In exchange for the perfect aerodynamics of the 25 mm tires, they also provide some extra comfort. Here, you’ll have to decide for yourself where your focus should lie. Between the 33 mm version for pure mountain riding and the 60 mm version for speed records on the flats, the Bora Ultra WTO 45 we tested are a good compromise for changing terrain. They feel stiff enough to build up speed quickly and, despite the relatively flat 45 mm rim for aero wheels, are aerodynamic enough to efficiently maintain the speed built up. With a weight of 1,425 g for the set, the wheels are roughly on par with the Bontrager Aeolus RSL 51 or the Roval Rapide CLX, making them no slouch on the mountain.
As a launch partner of Campagnolo, the wheels were mounted on the Parapera Atmos for the test. In this overall system, the Bora Ultra WTO contributed to a very good vibration damping. Even heftier bumps were defused in a very balanced way. Despite the resonance body of the carbon rim, the wheels manage without a loud aero whump. They merely produce a characteristic whirring sound. Even the freewheel of the mounted Campagnolo Super Record EPS groupset comes along on quiet soles and is barely audible – a matter of taste! The Campagnolo Bora Ultra WTO 45 wheels have left a good first impression with us. For everything else and detailed comparisons with the competition, we have to do some further testing.
The sign of the times: Disc-only and not for tubular tires
The trend is your friend! Campagnolo follow this motto only partly with the Bora Ultra WTO wheels. It is almost surprising that Campagnolo optimized the new wheels aerodynamically for the use of 25 mm tires, but the 45 mm version and the 60 mm version have to make do with an inner width of 19 mm. The 33 mm version with 21 mm inner width is significantly wider – just like some competitors. In the choice of tires and braking technology, however, Campagnolo also follow all current trends.
The Bora Ultra WTO wheels are available exclusively for disc brakes and clinchers as well as tubeless tires. We already know this from Roval or Bontrager. The mountain fleas among cyclists who want to continue to rely on rim brakes and tubular tires for weight reasons, have alternatives in the Campagnolo portfolio, but have to do without the new top model.
With the Bora Ultra WTO wheels Campagnolo bring interesting technologies to use, but do not go all in on the trend for super wide tire-wheel-systems. On paper, they are nevertheless an alternative to consider besides DT-Swiss, Roval or Bontrager – although significantly more expensive. The 45mm version made a good first impression on us. For everything else and detailed comparisons with the competition, we’ll have to do further testing.
For further details visit campagnolo.com
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Words: Tobias Hörsch Photos: Tobias Hörsch & Campagnolo