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Campagnolo launches latest Bora WTO wheels

‘Wind Tunnel Optimised’ wheels get a versatile 45mm version

Pete Muir
15 Mar 2019

Campagnolo has welcomed the latest addition to its Bora wheel line-up: the WTO 45. The Bora wheel has been around for decades – indeed, Campagnolo claims it has won more races than any other wheel – but it was only in 2018 that the Italian company introduced the WTO version.

WTO stands for ‘Wind-Tunnel Optimised’ and, as the name suggests, it is the most aerodynamically advanced of the Bora wheel options. These won’t be replacing the traditional Boras, so fans of the Bora One and Bora Ultra need not panic.

When the first WTO wheels appeared in 2018, there were only two rim depths to choose from. The WTO 77 is a super-deep rimmed wheel that only comes as a front wheel, as it is designed to be paired with a disc wheel at the rear. The WTO 60 is a 60mm deep wheelset that offers high levels of aerodynamic efficiency for road racing.

The new Bora WTO 45 is a shallower version of its siblings, with the aim of being versatile – still aero but more suited to a range of conditions and terrains.

Like the 77 and 60, the WTO 45 is the result of many hours in the wind-tunnel as well as CFD analysis, and Campagnolo claims that it performs favourably against the competition in terms of aerodynamics. Most importantly, Campag’s data suggests it maintains its wind-cheating efficiency across a range of yaws, meaning it should be well suited to ‘real world’ conditions.

It also competes well on weight, coming in at 1,496g (claimed) for the rim brake wheelset and 1,520g for the disc brake version.

Part of that light weight will be down to the quality of the carbon composite used in the WTO 45, with Campagnolo boasting that the shiny finish requires no clear coat over the top – it just comes out of the mould looking like that.

It also highlights the resin, which includes UV blocking agents so that the carbon shouldn’t degrade over time by over-exposure to the sun (not usually a big problem for British riders).

To maintain the balance of the wheel, a small amount of extra carbon is placed on the rim at a point opposite the valve, ensuring a smooth spin.

That spin is further enhanced by CULT ceramic bearings in the hubs, which Campagnolo claims are nine times more efficient than steel bearings.

How efficient is that? Well, Campagnolo says it tested a WTO 77 wheel by revving it up to 500rpm and then letting it spin, and it took 46 minutes to eventually come to rest.

The spokes on the WTO 45 are a flattened diamond shape in order to be aerodynamic at all wind angles, and the spoke holes are moulded rather than drilled to maintain the integrity of the carbon rim.

On the rim brake version of the wheels, the braking surface has been given Campagnolo’s proprietary AC3 process, which adds texture to the carbon in order to improve braking in the wet by a claimed 43% over previous models.

The internal rim width for the WTO 45 is 19mm, which Campagnolo says provides the most aerodynamic shape when paired with either 25mm or 28mm tyres.

In its tests, the most efficient tyre/rim combination – taking into account both aerodynamics and rolling resistance – turned out to tubeless, so the WTO 45s are set up to be tubeless ready with no conversion kit required.

Interestingly, the second most efficient tyre type was clincher, followed by tubulars (how long will tubs remain the pro’s favourite?).

Ticking the boxes for ‘light’, ‘aerodynamic’, ‘robust’, ‘smooth’ and ‘easy handling’, the new Bora WTO 45s should be a popular choice for racing, everyday road riding and possible venturing beyond the tarmac.

At around £1,900 for a set, they are not the cheapest of wheels, but the price compares favourably with their direct competitors.

We hope to get our hands on a set to test soon, so look out for a full review on at some point in the near future.

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