An expertly built wheelset that combines all the qualities most of us are looking for in a set of all-rounder wheels at a decent price.
Lightweight for 'training' wheels
Slight aero advantage over box-section rims
Handbuilt in the UK
Not as bling as some of the big brands' wheels (if that's important to you)
A wheelset for all seasons with hints of aero to add elements of speed and handbuilt for strength and robustness, these Borg 31 wheels offer all that you need from a wheelset for under £500 – no nonsense, performance was a no-brainer for Editor’s Choice selection.
Suffolk-based Malcolm Borg handbuilds his own wheels, choosing the rims, spokes and hubs that he considers best for the job.
He calls the Borg 31 “all-weather training/racing wheels” and uses a tubeless 31mm-deep rim from Taiwanese company Kinlin to supply strength, stiffness and a small amount of aerodynamic advantage over a box-section rim.
The rim has an external width of 24mm, so it is pretty wide. A 25mm tyre sits perfectly with no ‘lightbulbing’ at all.
Borg swears by tubeless and set these wheels up with IRC Formula Pro RBCC tyres with MaXalami MaXSeal Sealant (£490 all in).
Borg likes the robust forged shell of the Miche Primato hubs for this type of wheel, as well as the big 6001 bearings. He says that due to their size they show low rolling resistance (rolling resistance is inversley related to rolling diameter) but also big bearings have a higher load value so wear at a slower rate. Water ingress into the hub is generally stopped by the bearing seals. We haven’t put anything like enough miles on them to be able to comment, but Borg claims 10,000 miles of all-weather use before the bearings get graunchy.
They’re also simple to maintain: the end caps come off with two 5mm Allen keys and the freeaxle design means the axle just pulls out.
On the road the Borg 31 wheels felt super stable with the wide rim, and very fast in corners.
We ran them at 80psi for better traction on greasy roads with the threat of ice patches and felt very confident.
The Borg 31 wheels use heavier Sapim CX-Force spokes in the rear for extra stiffness while the front is laced with Sapim CX Rays (both types are bladed), and on climbs and out of the saddle there was no hint of brake rub.
The human touch behind Borg’s wheels is a big USP: you’re benefitting from his personal riding experience and wheel-building expertise, and he loves to talk wheels, too. They may not have the Italianate bling of Fulcrum but for no-nonsense riding on British lanes they can’t be beat.
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
And the vital statistics:
Egan Bernal taken to hospital after training accident in Colombia
The Ineos rider is said to be in a stable condition and undergoing further assessment
By Jonny Long • Published
Barcelona will host opening two stages of Vuelta a España in 2023
Race organisers announced the Catalonian city will return for the first time since 2012
By Ryan Dabbs • Published
'It's millions of car drivers who need education': cyclists react to Highway Code changes
Jake Stewart says cycling in the UK is 'doomed' after seeing reaction to Highway Code update
By Adam Becket • Published