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.Campagnolo Bora WTO 33 Disc Brake

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.

Campagnolo Bora WTO 33 Disc Brake

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 and Merlin Cycles, 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.

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11 comments

  • Steve, how would you compare this wheels to the ENVE SES 3.4 Disc? I’m about 91kg and after reading your review of the ENVEs those are on my shopping list.

    Thank you!

  • Hey bud. How do they compare to other wheels you’ve reviewed ?!

  • Steve,

    Any plans to review the rim brake version of this wheelset? I’ve been looking at this wheelset for my rim brake bike but waiting on some real reviews rather than marketing press releases. I’m specifically interested in the brake track performance in comparison to some of the other leading performers.

    • Omar, Sorry, hadn’t planned on it. Most of the newer developments are on the disc brake side nowadays so trying to focus my time and budget there. Steve

  • Quiet surprised how these Bora WTO scored average in stiffness and acceleration. They didn’t deserve a “+” in your chart? Did Nate spend any time with these? With G3 lacing and cup-and-cone hubs, these should accelerate like a greyhound.

  • Hi Omar,
    I purchased the Bora WTO 45 Rim Brake wheels this Spring and love them. I have been running them with 24mm Specialized Turbo Cotton clinchers on a Cannondale Caad12 with Campy Chorus 11 speed. This is my first pair of carbon wheels so I can only compare to my previous aluminum Zondas. The WTOs are much faster at high speeds as they should be. After my first ride on the new wheels my Strava PRs lit up the page in yellow when I returned from a route a ride routinely. It feels faster when I’m riding and sometimes like I’m being pushed which always brings a smile. I did have to open my brakes as far as they go to accommodate the wider rims and they have a very tight tolerance between the rim and the new red pads. That being said, there is no flex at all side-side when sprinting or climbing out of the saddle and I have not had any issues with brake rub. I run the 24mm clinchers at 90psi because I’m used to them and they have always worked well for me. I’m only 150lbs and trying to ride fast and less concerned with comfort. Although honestly, I don’t find these uncomfortable even on an aluminum frame, I can ride 3-4hrs and feel good. The 24mm tires also maintain the 105% rule for aerodynamics for what that’s worth. Because you need to put the special red brake pads on, it’s inconvenient to switch back and forth with aluminum rims but I like riding the WTOs all the time. They do make a distinctive sound like a jet when you brake but its not annoying or overly loud, I think it sounds kinda cool. What I did notice is that I actually don’t brake often. I’ve only been riding solo and live near mostly rural roads. When I have had to brake it feels like it takes longer to stop than my aluminum rims but not dramatically so and I have complete confidence in them The 45 is a great all-round wheel that’s fast on flats and climbs and feels very stable on descents. It’s hard to find many reviews on these, worth checking out is the Chris Miller Cycling youtube review. Google “chris miller cycling bora youtube review”

  • Hi All, I’d be very grateful for some advice please,

    I purchased some WTO 45’s after ready all the great reviews. I have to say currently I am quite disappointed, the reason being lateral wheel flex on low grade climbs, could this be because the bearings need slight adjustment or what else could it be?

    Thanks

    • Gary, let me start with a few questions to try to identify what might be going on. What indicates to you that there is too much lateral flex? Is your concern about the rear wheel flex or both rear and front? Are these rim or disc brake wheels? If rim brake, how much space do you have between the rim and brake pads? If disc brake, have you adjusted the calipers so the rotors are centered? Are the rotors true or slightly out of true? Are wheels true? Do any of the spokes feel like they have a good deal less tension than the others? Are the quick releases or through-axles fastened down tight? What size tire and pressure are you running? How much do you weigh? where did you buy the wheels? Have you shared your concerns with the dealer? What feedback did you get? Steve

      • Hi Steve,

        Rim brake, Rear Wheel, Axle fastened down tight, tubeless 80PSI, 700c GP5000. 16.5 Stone.

        I cant measure the space on the pads as bike is in the LBS, how much would you say is reasonable, I know they are not set tight.

        I will get the spokes checked by LBS. Can the bearings be tightened a little?

        I noticed the rub on a low level incline, when I got home I put pressure on the rim by the brake on the rear it felt more easy to move than i’d expect TBH. I have been told I can expect rub on high end wheels at my weight.

        I will contact the retailer but wanted to gauge opinion first – should i expect no rub?

        Thank you

        • Gary, Sounds like you are doing all the right things. Your check of the wheel’s true and spoke tensions should identify any issues. Don’t think that bearing adjustment will affect the stiffness. At your weight and with most wheels, you likely will get some rub even with the calipers open to the right spacing. Steve

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