Testa della corsa.
Campagnolo's wind-cheating Bora Ultra 80 Wheelset takes its name from the "north wind" of the Mediterranean. This is an appropriate choice, because — if there was ever a wind that you'd want to keep from gaining purchase on you, it's the Bora, whose top speed of 136 miles per hour almost doubles the base speed of hurricane-grade winds. While it's obviously not equal to those conditions, the Bora 80s' profile is the best balance between handling and aerodynamics in Campagnolo's legendary line of deep rim wheels, placing it at the testa della corsa of aerodynamic wheels writ large.
The rims' generous 80-millimeter depth is likely the Bora 80s' top selling point, but Campagnolo has also gifted them with a wider, more modern width of 24.2 millimeters. This is a marked increase compared with the previous width of 20 millimeters, and its benefits include 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 Bora's deep rims and iconic branding may be the first image we associate with pro-level wheels, but their heart is actually in the CULT bearings. CULT marries superlative 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. 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.
A good wheel can't just roll well; it also has to stop well, and the new 3Diamant braking surface addresses some of the key braking issues we've 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 a pulse-free ride.
Campagnolo finishes the Bora Ultra 80s 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 weightloss 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 by hand in Vicenza, Italy, and every piece is X-rayed to scan for imperfections.