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review

BORG31 Disc wheelset

9
£540.80

VERDICT:

9
10
Quality wheelset for all types of riding – not for the weight weenies but for everyone else there is little to fault
Quality build and components
Excellent stiffness levels
Highly durable
The rims are a bit too stealth for my liking
Weight: 
1,720g

At road.cc every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The BORG31 Disc wheelset is handbuilt to deal with multiple disciplines of riding and covering 'huge mileage without the need for servicing'. The weight weenies may scoff, but these wheels offer good overall performance, excellent stiffness and will take an absolute battering without flinching.

I'm going to kick off with my one criticism straight away, as, to be honest, once I've mentioned that I've only got great things to say about the BORG31s.

> Buy these online here

I think the unbranded rims do a disservice to the wheels. It cheapens the look a little and makes the wheels look a bit 'original equipment' – that set of wheels you know you're going to upgrade as soon as possible on your new bike for a bit of bling.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - rim.jpg

Malcolm is going to deal with this though. That being Malcolm Borg, who builds these wheels at The Cycle Clinic – and had placed a rather detailed description of the wheelset in the box, including that later this year he will have rims with branding on them.

Cool. Now we've dealt with that minor whinge, let's get on with the good stuff.

These unassuming looking wheels are really great to ride.

Looking at the weight you might be thinking, 'ooh, they're going to be a bit sluggish'. But they really aren't. They feel a good couple of hundred grams lighter when climbing or sprinting.

On the flat, the 31mm-deep alloy rim gives a small amount of an aerodynamic gain over a basic box section rim, but by far the biggest positive is just how stiff they are.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - rim and tyre.jpg

The moment you stamp on the pedals, they just go. They feel tight, like nothing is being wasted at all.

It's not all about making a wheel super stiff at the cost of comfort, either. Compared with tyres and pressures, the difference a wheel can make to ride quality is tiny and hard to detect – but ride enough different wheelsets using the same tyres and pressures and the way they behave, those little mannerisms, come through. These BORG31s don't have any of that overly solid feel of some deepish section aluminium alloy rims; they're firm, but with just a touch of forgiveness.

> Buyer’s Guide: 33 of the best disc brake road wheelsets

> The best gravel wheelsets you can buy

Going back to tyres and pressures, though, the 24mm width of the rim (19mm internal) is said to work well with rubber from 25mm up to 40mm.

They came fitted with a set of IRC Roadlite X Guard 25mm tyres (review to come) and I also tried them with my go-to set of gravel tyres, 40mm Zipp Tangente Course G40s.

The reason for the difference in tyre testing... well, the BORG31s can take on a bit of everything. From road riding to cyclo-cross, gravel stuff or even touring.

> Buyer’s Guide: 25 of the best gravel bike tyres

If you've read some of my bike and kit reviews, you'll know that I'm a bit of a fan of heading off into the wilderness on rigid bikes on some pretty unforgiving military byways. If a set of wheels can handle the abuse of four to six weeks of testing over this sort of terrain then they are all right in my book.

The BORGs have taken everything in their stride, showing no signs of losing spoke tension or going out of true over the test period.

Borg says that each wheel is tested with a side load of 600N four times before dispatch. If the wheels go out of true by as little as 0.1mm they are back in the truing jig before they leave the workshop.

The build

I've touched on the dimensions of the rim, but as far as the name goes it is catchily named as the Kinlin XR31 RTS OCR.

The spoke bed is offset, which increases the dishing of the wheel – the angle of the spokes from the hub to the nipple.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - spoke nipple.jpg

The width of a modern freehub means the drive side spokes of a rear wheel can run almost straight. By offsetting the holes for the nipples, the spokes can be sat at more of an angle, which achieves a better tension balance, improving the life of the spoke.

The same can be said for the front wheel, but in relation to the slacker angle caused by the disc end of the hub.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - front hub 2.jpg

The hooked rims are compatible with both tubeless and clincher tyres, and they are supplied with tubeless tape already fitted.

Removing and refitting the 25mm tyres saw no real issues. It's a snug fit, but I could still get them on with just a nudge from the supplied IRC tyre levers for the last bit. The 40mm Zipps were very similar.

Hub-wise, the BORG DX are made by Miche to BORG's design. They use a large flange design which reduces the braking loads on the spokes, and come fitted with 6083 SKF bearings, which BORG says Miche specifies to a tighter tolerance and with better sealing than normal.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - front hub.jpg

The freehub uses a titanium core with an aluminium splined body, available in Shimano, SRAM XDR and Campagnolo versions, including for the new 13-speed cassettes.

It has a 30-point engagement which gives an instantaneous pick-up, especially from a standing start, and if you like a subtle click when freewheeling you'll be happy with the BORGs.

2021 BORG31 Disc brake wheelset - rear hub.jpg

As for the spokes, they are Sapim CX Force, which are triple butted and bladed, giving a cool look to the wheels. BORG has gone for 24 spokes front and rear, mated to Sapim alloy nipples.

Value

The BORG31s will set you back £540.80 which is a decent price for such quality.

The Mavic Allroad SL wheels that I tested recently are about 160g lighter (not that you'd really notice, considering how lively the BORGs feel) and £590. 

If you haven’t quite got the budget for the BORGs then there are a few other options on the market. Something like the DT Swiss G 1800 Spline wheelset is ideal for gravel use and less than perfect roads. They are weighty at 1,895g and Rachael found that the freehub pick up was a little slow too. They’re yours for around £350.

Conclusion

The BORG31s are a quality set of wheels, there is no doubt about it. While they might not look massively exciting, the combination of quality components and the skill of a wheelbuilder who obviously knows what they are doing means these are an absolute joy to ride. Okay, they aren't the lightest or fastest, but they aren't designed to be. If you want a set of wheels you can bung on your road bike, wet or dry, or stick on your CX or gravel bike without caring about the abuse you are about to give them, this is the wheelset for you.

Verdict

Quality wheelset for all types of riding – not for the weight weenies but for everyone else there is little to fault

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: BORG 31 Disc wheelset

Size tested: 700C

Tell us what the wheel is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

The Cycle Clinic says, "The BORG31 Disc is a disc brake only wheelset for whatever and where ever you want to go. Road riding, CX/Gravel use or touring. It is built for high miles with minimal servicing. The wheels are aerodynamic, robust and very stiff. Yes they are not the lightest but neither do they feel heavy."

A strong wheelset that belies their weight on the scales.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?

The Cycle Clinic lists these 'highlights':

A robust all weather wheelset.

700C

Reliable cartridge bearing hubs.

Centrelock rotor mounts

31mm deep.

24mm wide tubeless tyre ready rims.

Stiff yet comfortable.

Triple butted Sapim aero spokes.

Shimano 8/9/10/11speed, XDR 12 speed driver, Campagnolo 9/10/11/12 speed freehub or Campagnolo N3W 13 speed freehub.

16000km warranty.

Weight 1720g

Hand built in the shop.

Centrelock disc brake mounts (6 bolt adapter available here)

Lockring for 15mm axled hubs must be used. Centrelock rotor lockring available here.

What you get

Wheelset front and rear for centrelock rotors 24F/24R Sapim CX-force aero spokes

Choice of Campagnolo 9/10/11/12speed, Shimano 10/11 speed or SRAM XD driver freehubs.

Tubeless rim tape

Black alloy tubeless valves

IRC tyre levers

Q/R, 100x12/15, 142x12mm axles in any combination.

5 year/10000mile warranty.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for performance:
 
9/10

Stiffness and lateral stability is top notch.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
9/10
Rate the wheel for weight
 
7/10
Rate the wheel for value:
 
7/10

Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?

Yes, very much so when it comes to trueness. These wheels weren't affected by anything.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

A snug, yet reassuring fit. No real issues.

How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?

They were supplied with tubeless rim tape that worked fine when I fitted some tubeless tyres.

Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose

They ride lighter than their weight would suggest, and will take plenty of abuse.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

A solid build that'll deal with all sorts of riding.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

The bland look.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

For a quality set of alloy do-everything wheels they are well priced: a little less than Mavic's Allroad SL wheelset at £590 (lighter, but tubeless only), though you can get cheaper (and heavier) options, like the DT Swiss G 1800 Spline wheelset.

Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes

Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes

Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Apart from the subtle looks and for some the weight, there is very little here that you can criticise about this wheel build. Quality components, excellent stiffness, all without breaking the bank.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,

With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!

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