All-terrain, all-weather, all-Italian.
Despite a long list of palmares, there was always one place where you wouldn't expect to see the pros riding Campagnolo's Bora wheels: in the high mountains. That all changed in 2013 when Campy introduced the Bora Ultra 35 Wheelset, which compressed everything that we love about the Bora 50 rim into a shallower, lighter package that promised to not hinder a cyclist with extra rotational mass on climbs. The results, per Quintana's use of the Bora Ultra 35s at the Giro, speak for themselves.
The new width brings huge dividends to the Boras, including better handling and cornering, lower rolling resistance, and a smoother ride. It also nets better lateral stiffness and — in a counter-intuitive twist — actually improves aerodynamics. The width also saves weight by letting Campagnolo build a more structurally sound rim with less material, and it means you can mount bigger tires, up to 27 millimeters, for a tubular ride that's more plush and durable than ever.
The CULT cup and cone bearings are behind Campagnolo hubs' legendary rolling performance. CULT marries the smoothest ceramic bearings with thermochemically treated Cronitect races for a claimed 3.5 more watts per pedal stroke over non-CULT bearings. The interface between the ceramic balls and Cronitect races is so smooth that they virtually don't wear out and only require a thin film of oil instead of grease. All told, Campagnolo touts these as the lowest friction bearings in the world. While we normally approach anything that smacks of marketing hyperbole with healthy skepticism, taking the Boras for a spin lends credence to Campy's claim.
The 2014 Bora 35 Ultras also introduced Campy's new 3Diamant braking surface to the world. 3Diamant returns in 2015, expanded to include all Bora models because it addresses some of the key braking issues we've all had with carbon rims in the past. Campagnolo literally uses diamonds to hone the brake track to near perfection, removing imperfections and resin so that the pads connect straight to a strip of slightly textured carbon. This reduces the time it takes for the brake pads to grab the rim and it all but eliminates the usual breaking-in period for carbon brake strips, increasing stopping power by 40% in wet conditions and 20% when it's dry. It also removes any surface imperfections in the wheel for pulse-free operation.
Campagnolo finishes off the Bora Ultra 35s with a few more thoughtful details. The oversized rear flange nets additional stiffness for power transfer that takes advantage of the rims' aerodynamic profile and smooth bearings. The included quick releases have also been redesigned with an eye toward weight loss and aerodynamics. Returning features include the signature G3 spoke pattern, which absorbs road noise and improves power transfer, and rim balancing that offsets the nominal imbalance caused by the valve stem hole and associated hardware. Campy constructs and lays up all of the carbon for the Boras in Vicenza, and every piece is x-rayed to scan for imperfections.
This iteration of the Campagnolo Bora Ultra 35 Wheelset is compatible with tubular tires only, though Campagnolo has announced a clincher version due out in February, 2015.
- Carbon fiber
- 1170g per wheelset
- 35mm rip depth
- 24.2mm width
- CULT bearings
- Cronitect races
- 3Diamant braking surface
- G3 aerodynamic spokes
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Reviews & Community
Outstanding - Fast, strong, light
- Familiarity: I've used it several times
Got that as my first "real" wheel upgrades after an attempt at the Zipp 303s with Chris King ceramic hubs, and the Boras have not disappointed. The Ultra version is super light, but also strong enough for everyday use, and easily serviceable just in case. As soon as I put those wheels on I could feel a big difference when compared to the Zipps, as they accelerate faster, are more rigid and roll as nicely as the Chris Kings (kudos to the Kings here as they are super smooth). As a result I actually grabbed quite a few PRs the first time I rode the Boras, in a series of nice flats I ride almost everyday back at home. The only thing I have not tested extensively is braking under extreme conditions, as I am not a big fan of using carbon wheels continuously on big descents where there is the need to brake due to road roughness issues. So far, one of the best wheelsets I have ever used. As a comparison, just recently I started using a pair of LW Meilenstein SchwarzEd on my other bike, and the LWs are faster to accelerate and a little more rigid specially when cornering, but the Boras certianly handle heavy cross-winds much better.