Campagnolo Bora One DB and Shamal Ultra DB first look

New disc-specific carbon wheels from the Italian brand

The Bora DB takes it name from the Latin 'Boreas' for north wind and was first introduced in 1994, when it weighed almost 200g less than anything on the market and had great aerodynamics.

The Bora DB originally had a hybrid carbon-alloy construction, then a full carbon construction with low spoke counts, and next a G3 spoke pattern. Several editions later we have its latest wheel, a disc-brake wheelset, and Campagnolo aims to offer the same Bora performance as before.

Many brands have repurposed existing rim brake rims for disc wheels, but this is something that Campagnolo doesn’t believe in because it says it creates compromises for efficiency and performance. The brand claims that the new Bora DB features one of the few carbon rims designed specifically for disc use. 

Bora One DB

Campagnolo says this smooth, shiny, protective finish is a result of its moulding process
Campagnolo says this smooth, shiny, protective finish is a result of its moulding process

The Bora One 35 DB will be the first of the new wheels to hit the market and although its rim looks externally familiar, with similar aerodynamics to the rim-braked version, its carbon layup is very different to deal with disc brake forces.

Campagnolo has its own production facilities and materials, and it makes use of a proprietary resin. All of the carbon sheets are laser cut in-house to ensure accurate orientation. 

Both wheels are structurally different; the front now has to compensate for asymmetric loads because the rotor is on one side, so the rims are no longer symmetrical and they are also front- and rear-specific. The G3 spoke pattern helps deal with the left-right imbalance: 24 spokes with 16 spokes on the disc side and eight radial on the non-disc side.

24 spokes in the front wheel, the same as the rear
24 spokes in the front wheel, the same as the rear

The rear wheel was already asymmetric due to the cassette, but the disc rotor means there are asymmetric forces on both sides opposing each other. There’s less brake force transmitted through the rear wheel and the torque from the drivetrain is greater than the braking force, therefore the rear has 16 driveside spokes and eight on the disc side.

Campagnolo’s magnetic Momag Technology allows spoke nipples to be fed in to the rim through the valve hole, maintaining an undrilled rim bed for greater integrity. The spoke holes are fabricated into the rim, there’s no drilling at all, so no broken fibres which should mean greater safety and reliability.

The rim’s clear, shiny surface is the result of a proprietary Campagnolo production process and there’s no additional surface finish, so what you see is exactly how it leaves the mould. It’s UV-resistant too to increase carbon life and it needs no paint or other protection.

The rim measures 24.2mm wide externally and is designed to fit 25mm and 28mm tyres perfectly, as well as giving some aero benefit. The tyre’s wider stance offers increased grip and handling.

All the new Bora wheelsets come with USB ceramic bearings as standard
All the new Bora wheelsets come with USB ceramic bearings as standard

A structural counterweight is incorporated in to the rim’s carbon fibre weave to counter the weight of the valve, something Campagnolo terms Rim Dynamic Balance.

The hubs have one-piece aluminium bodies for strength with redesigned flanges for the new spoke pattern, and every edge has been rounded for aesthetics and possible aero benefit.

USB ceramic bearings can be adjusted via a lock-ring and although the wheelset has 12mm thru axles front and rear, there are also adaptors for quick release and alternate thru-axle diameters.

I got to ride the feathery light Bora One 35 DB tubular wheelset and my first impression is that it climbs like a goat, accelerates very rapidly and works well with my 25mm tyres to provide a consistently stable feel throughout long descents.

Bora One DB pricing, weights and availability

Bora One 35 DB tubular

  • Front: 604g
  • Rear: 693g
  • Total: 1,297g
  • £1,615.92 / €1,906.79 / $1,965 — available May

Bora One 50 DB tubular

  • Front: 639g
  • Rear: 725g
  • Total: 1,364g
  • £1,615.92 / €1,906.79 / $1,965 — available May

Bora One 35 DB clincher

  • Front: 703g
  • Rear: 806g
  • Total: 1,509g
  • £1,812.98 / €2,139.32 / $2,195 — available July

No Ultra designation is included within the range’s naming conventions at this time, but it could appear in the future.

Shamal Ultra DB

Campagnolo innovated the factory built wheel system with the Shamal over 20 years ago. It has a notable race history and is still a race-ready aluminium wheelset. Despite looking visually similar to its rim-braked predecessor, the Shamal Ultra DB has been completely adapted for disc braking. The rim is 22mm wide, using Campy’s C17 standard, and works ideally with 25mm and 28mm tyres for the same reasons as the Bora.

It has a two-way fit undrilled rim bed, so it’s tubeless-ready, and needing only a valve this gives greater structural integrity with a subsequent performance increase.

The rims have differentiated rim heights too — 30mm rear, 27mm front, and toroidal milling removes excess material between the spoke holes.

There are oversized aluminium spokes with new black anodised self-locking nipples in a Mega G3 spoke pattern on both wheels, but the thicker spokes and stronger rim bed mean only 21 spokes per wheel in a 14/7 pattern. There are more spokes on the disc side of the asymmetric front wheel, but more on the driveside of the rear as the forces are greater there.

New Shamal Mega G3 hubs have a carbon shell at the front, made possible by the wider stance of the aluminium spokes, and alloy hub flanges. The rear hub is a solid, one-piece aluminium structure designed to cope with the high opposing torque loads.

The wheelset has USB ceramic bearings and comes with 12mm thru-axle fittings with other adaptors sold separately.

The Shamal Ultra DB is intended to match Record-level in terms of quality, but will of course work across the board.

Shamal Ultra DB pricing, weights and availability

The Shamal Ultra DB will be available from September and per pair is claimed to weigh 1,540g.

  • £1,105.53 / €1,304.52 / $1,375

MyCampy app

Campagnolo’s bike app has been reworked to be more efficient than last year’s original. Called MyCampy 2.0, it’s not designed to be another Strava and record only rider performance data, but to help the rider to make better, more efficient use of their componentry by shifting gear at different times, and so on.

It will also say when to renew parts for efficiency’s sake, but it doesn’t only work for Campagnolo equipment, you can use it with almost anything.

The MyCampy app will be available via the AppStore, Google, etc. and will go live in early June.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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