Pro-Lite Bortola C28W wheelset review£999.00

Low-profile carbon clinchers

BikeRadar score3/5

Taiwanese manufacturer Pro-Lite’s Bortola C28W is a 28.6mm deep, carbon, tubeless-compatible clincher wheelset that weighs on our scales 1,699g including rim tape, plus 116g for the quick-release skewers.

Pro-Lite builds the Bortolas by hand on its own hubs, using straight-pull spokes in a 20 front, 24 rear configuration that includes “spoke braces” at the rear non-driveside.

On the road, the Bortolas feel livelier than their weight might suggest thanks to impressive lateral stiffness

These mimic old-school tying and soldering beloved of old-school pro mechanics and claim to reduce both torsional and lateral flex. This is something I'm slightly sceptical about, as world-renowned wheel guru Jobst Brandt asserts that tying and soldering is bunk having tested it, but it doesn’t do any harm.

The rims are wide externally at over 26mm (25mm nominally), but their internal width is middling at 17mm, likely a consequence of the beefing-up deemed necessary to withstand high braking temperatures. As a result they offer a little more tyre volume than traditional wheels, but nothing extreme.

On the road, the Bortolas feel livelier than their weight might suggest thanks to impressive lateral stiffness. At the same time, they exhibit none of the excessive firmness that blights the ride quality of many deeper section wheels. As you’d expect from the shallow, blunt profile, they are largely unperturbed by crosswinds.

While braking from high speeds is predictable with no lack of power from the supplied pads, I experienced a slight pulsing sensation when slowing to a halt. It was never alarming, but it was hard to ignore too.

The Bortolas are well built and offer competent all-round performance, but they don’t have a standout feature that makes them shine as an upgrade for the money, and they’re heavier than some significantly cheaper alternatives.

This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

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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