CAMPAGNOLO BORA WTO 33 DISC – GREAT LOOKS AND ENGINEERING
It’s easy to see how one can fall in love with the Campagnolo Bora WTO 33 Disc Brake wheels.
Taking them out of the box created one of those rare moments when I say to myself, “Wow. These look special.”
The glossy black paint finish on the rims is stunning. It’s as high quality as any I’ve seen on a fine automobile. I couldn’t help but look down at them gleaming in the sun from time to time during my month of test rides.
Likewise, the hub shells, while aluminum, look finely fitted and coated. The freehubs (I ordered Campagnolo 12-speed, Shimano HG11, and SRAM XDR bodies to test with different groupsets) look like they were precision machined.
I seldom even comment on the aesthetics of wheelsets or any bicycle component let alone open a review with the kind of praise of a product’s looks that I just did. One’s view of beauty, fashion, style, and the like are all subjective and personal. Far be it for me to suggest that my subjective perception of these things is how you should see it.
But the Bora WTO wheels are unique. Like them are not, their extraordinary look sets them far apart from other road wheels.
If that’s where the story ended – skin-deep beauty and all of that – this would be a rather shallow review.
Instead, what you see on the surface is an indication of the engineering that shows up in the Bora WTO 33 wheelset’s performance.
The pleasing-to-the-eyes hubs I commented on above roll silky smooth on the road. The freehubs sing a refined, even-tempered tune I can listen to for hours rather than the loud or harsh emissions of other hubs that shout to stand out or the uneven whomp, whomp of those that don’t sound as well made.
I sensed these wheels would roll better than most after putting my thru-axles into the hubs. They don’t slap in as with every other wheelset I’ve attached to a frame. Instead, they slide in with a little resistance and tighten up only with the proper alignment of axle and frame that suggests tighter tolerances than most wheels.
Once installed, they spin in the stand seemingly forever or, in reality, for enough time for me to grab something from my workbench and come back to the stand and see them still turning.
The Bora WTO 33 disc brake wheels are also sufficiently though not overly stiff. Whether doing a 20-minute climb up an average 7% grade or 20-minute tempo intervals punctuated by sprint bursts every few minutes, the wheels didn’t flinch even though my legs wanted to.
Going downhill and handling at speed feels confident both on the Vittoria Corsa G+ 2.0 and Continental Grand Prix 5000 tubeless tires I paired with these Campagnolos. At recommended tire pressures, they feel comfortable but not overly plush.
Despite their 33mm low-profile depth, the Bora WTO 33 rides more like a smooth-rolling all-around wheelset that isn’t affected by crosswinds than a highly responsive, fast accelerating wheelset to take on your next alpine climbing vacation. Its 1512 gram measured weight (including pre-installed rim strips but not tubeless valves) is also in line with today’s all-around road disc wheelsets.
If the Campagnolo Bora WTO 33 Disc Brake’s combination of looks, engineering, and performance suits you, you can order them starting at USD$1730, £1,600, €1,830 using these links to the wheelset’s page at Competitive Cyclist, Tredz, and Wiggle, stores I recommend for their combination of low prices and high customer satisfaction ratings on a broad selection of enthusiast-level cycling gear.
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You can compare my performance evaluation of the Bora WTO 33 with other all-around road disc wheelsets in this review.