Campagnolo Bora One Wheelset

Campagnolo Bora One Campagnolo Bora One Wheelset

Campagnolo Bora One

The name Bora has been synonymous with top end race wheels for die-hard Campy fans, and consequently Campy has been able to set their price without worrying too much about competition. After all, if you’re a Campagnolo fan, then you are one thing – loyal to Campy. That meant that the Bora, certainly a top class wheel with seriously scientific technology behind it, didn’t really have to compete on price, especially in the mid to deep section rim market, traditionally only for the more serious riders prepared to part with their cash for their favorite components.

What’s so great about the Bora One?

You’ll sense that I’m not a Campagnolo loyalist, but I will give credit where it’s due, and the Bora One is certainly a very good wheelset.  I’m a big fan of carbon wheels with aluminum braking surfaces, since I hate swapping out brake pads and I want to be sure I can stop on a descent or in dusty and gritty conditions. I’d like to be able to stop when it’s raining too, and that is one place the Bora One does not excel. For this reason, I’m almost inclined to recommend the 2013 Bora One, which foregoes the aluminum surface but comes with its own special carbon-specific brake pads that were a thoughtful response to this very complaint about the Bora One – and now you can stop when it rains too. Convenient, no, but effective, yes, and that’s important when it comes to braking.

The Bora One uses what is now pretty standard asymmetrical spoke lacing in the rear wheel, which means you can take some spokes out and save weight without losing stability or power transfer. That’s not special anymore, but the Bora One gets Campagnolo’s top-end Record hubs, which is something to write home about. I may not be a Campy proponent, but I’ll happily concede that the record hubs are just about the smoothest you can find. And forget the spokes, Campy has been very clever in trimming grams off the Bora One wheelset, and at only 590g in front and 760g in the rear, this is one seriously light wheelset. For a light rider like me, where power is in short supply and weight is everything, that makes me stop and think again about the Bora One. You can’t get much lighter than that, especially in a 50mm rim. Let’s face it, it’s a perfect blend of lightness and aerodynamics, and those silky hubs give a nice dose of smoothness to round out the package.

So what’s the downside?

If you are a heavier rider, or a powerful sprinter, then the Bora One wheelset might just not hold up under your efforts. They are plenty stiff enough for the thrust of a lighter rider’s drive – stiff enough to be a bit unforgiving on longer rides - but if you are approaching 200 pounds then you might do better looking for a deeper rim or a little more bulk and strength from your wheelset.  The other factor is what I alluded to at the beginning, and that’s the price.

At around $2300, The Bora One is worth considering if you are looking at Zipps, but these days there are some very competitive, and much cheaper models on the market, like the SRAM S60, nearly $1000 cheaper. Of course, the SRAM is nowhere near as light, but with the Bora One you also don’t get a handy clincher option. If you are a serious racer, and you won’t even consider a clincher for your race wheels because you have to have the stability and pressure of tubular rims, then you won’t care about that. Likely you won’t care about the price either, and you’ll be happy to pay for those feather light qualities too. And if it’s got the Bora label, so much the better.



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