BORG Borg22 All Weather Tubeless wheels review£305.00

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BORG is Suffolk based shop The Cycle Clinic’s in-house wheel brand, and the Borg22 is its all-rounder wheelset, handbuilt by owner Malcolm Borg. Have I said “Borg” enough times yet?

The Borg22 is a shallow section, tubeless alloy wheelset with a focus on practicality and durability. 

It’s a sober, sensible choice that offers a great blend of practicality and performance, at a very reasonable price. 

The finer details — wide rim and tubeless-ready

The Borg22s have a usefully wide alloy rim, and they come with tubeless tape and valves as standard
The Borg22s have a usefully wide alloy rim, and they come with tubeless tape and valves as standard

The Borg22s have 22mm deep, 24mm wide, 19mm internal width alloy rims with an offset drilling on the rear for more even left-right spoke tensions.

On their own, the rims weigh a claimed 450g each which puts them in the same ballpark as classic offerings like Mavic’s Open Pro, but with a much more modern spec.

The complete wheelset weighs in at 1,631g, with the supplied tubeless rim tape adding roughly 12g per wheel, plus a few more grams for the tubeless valves.

Miche's Primato hubs look very swish
Miche's Primato hubs look very swish

Laced 24/28 to Miche Primato hubs, which builder Malcolm Borg favours for their durability and ease of servicing, the Borg22s are built up with lightweight Sapim Laser spokes on the front and beefier Sapim Forces at the rear.

As you'd expect for an Italian brand, the Miche hubs are available with both Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo freehubs
As you'd expect for an Italian brand, the Miche hubs are available with both Shimano/SRAM and Campagnolo freehubs

Borg uses Sapim self-locking alloy nipples as standard, but he’ll do brass if you’d rather take the small hit on weight in exchange for theoretically improved durability.

His choice of Miche hubs stems from extensive experience of their reliability. While I haven’t put enough miles on these wheels to really assess their longevity, it’s easy to see why they’d be suited to big miles as the main bearings are chunky 6001 cartridges, a far cry from the microscopic units used in many off-the-peg wheelsets.

Good sized bearings are a massive advantage when it comes to durability
Good sized bearings are a massive advantage when it comes to durability

There isn’t a huge amount in the way of weather protection other than the bearings’ own seals, but disassembling the hubs for a quick clean is the work of seconds, as the end-caps unscrew with a pair of 5mm Allen keys.

The matching Miche skewers weigh 105g for the pair and have nicely machined levers, and a pleasingly positive action.

Miche's skewers have particularly nice levers
Miche's skewers have particularly nice levers

As these wheels use J-bend spokes and standard nipples, there should never be any issue obtaining spares.

My test set were nice and evenly tensioned, and it’s worth mentioning that The Cycle Clinic guarantees the wheels against spoke breakage and other defects for the life of the rim.

Oh, and the wheels pictured are an early set that are missing their Borg22 logos. The shiny finish looks a little cheap, but Mr Borg tells me that a matt version will be available next year.

Riding the Borgs

They're not particularly eye-catching, but there's a lot to like about these wheels
They're not particularly eye-catching, but there's a lot to like about these wheels

On the road the Borgs are exactly what you’d expect from a wide-ish, shallow section aluminium rim built up with a sensible spoke count — they’re smooth and comfortable, and stiff enough that pedalling efforts never feel wasted.

They don’t have the totally unyielding feel of some carbon wheels but then you wouldn’t really expect that from a wheelset costing three hundred odd quid.

What you do get is a great all-rounder wheelset that offers plenty of latitude to run low pressures for extra comfort thanks to a healthy internal rim width, and a lively feel that’s a step up from the entry level wheels specced on the majority of mid-range road bikes.

The Borg22s were supplied to me with a set of IRC Formula Pro Tubeless X-Guard tyres (at 294g each), which The Cycle Clinic recommends for winter riding or big miles.

I tested the Borg22s with IRC tubeless tyres, which are imported by The Cycle Clinic
I tested the Borg22s with IRC tubeless tyres, which are imported by The Cycle Clinic

I set up my test wheels tubeless from the get-go — it seemed rude not to — and the tyres seated and sealed without issue, measuring roughly 26mm on the rim.

It’s hard to argue with the tech when it’s this painless; Malcolm Borg is a bit of a tubeless evangelist and I can certainly understand why, given that he rides in a part of the UK where the roads are cursed with an endless supply of tyre-shredding flints.

For my riding the need is perhaps less pressing, but I love the ability to run low pressures for confidence-inspiring grip and buzz-killing comfort.

Smart spec trumps sex appeal

The Borgs are a head not heart choice. Fellow roadies aren’t going to be verdant with envy at the sight of these because they’re too understated, lacking the outright bling of more obvious off-the-shelf offerings.

Riders who appreciate well made things will love these however. They’re specced for the real world, they’re fully serviceable with no proprietary parts, and they’re damned good value.

With an up-to-date rim spec and product support from an actual human being, there’s a lot to like about the Borg22s. They may not be the wheels of your dreams, but they're probably the ones you should buy. 

Matthew Allen

Senior Technical Writer, UK
Former bike mechanic, builder of wheels, hub fetishist and lover of shiny things. Likes climbing a lot, but not as good at it as he looks.
  • Age: 27
  • Height: 174cm / 5'8"
  • Weight: 53kg / 117lb
  • Waist: 71cm / 28in
  • Chest: 84cm / 33in
  • Discipline: Road, with occasional MTB dalliances
  • Preferred Terrain: Long mountain climbs followed by high-speed descents (that he doesn't get to do nearly often enough), plus scaring himself off-road when he outruns his skill set.
  • Current Bikes: Scott Addict R3 2014, Focus Cayo Disc 2015, Niner RLT 9
  • Dream Bike: Something hideously expensive and custom with external cables and a threaded bottom bracket because screw you bike industry.
  • Beer of Choice: Cider, please. Thistly Cross from Scotland
  • Location: Bristol, UK

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