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Verdict: 
A brilliant way into the world of tubular, or an excellent second wheelset option
Weight: 
1,685g
BORG22T Disc Road/CX tubular tyre disc brake wheelset
9 10

The BORG22T wheelset features 22mm-deep aluminium tubular rims and triple butted Sapim Force spokes laced onto Miche Syntium DX hubs. It's not a flashy package, but it bats well above its price tag – it's tough, fast and will suit riders looking for a brilliant cyclo-cross wheelset.

Sometimes a product will genuinely surprise you. Take a look at the spec list of the BORG22T wheels and you'd be forgiven for not expecting much, and certainly not at this price. But I put them on my bike and was surprised to find they're excellent. I wouldn't expect to find a tubular disc wheelset below the £1,000 mark; finding such a great set of wheels for £340 has made me question why I'd spend more.

> Buy these online here

The first feature of this set of wheels is possibly the most important. They are handbuilt by Malcolm Borg at The Cycle Clinic. That means you get an opportunity to communicate with Malcolm who will tune the spoke tension to suit your weight and riding requirements. It also means that Malcolm is not restricted to using one brand's rims, hubs and spokes.

Rims

The rims feature a 23mm width, which mated up very well with the 32mm Dugast Rhino and Typhoon tyres I glued on. The wide profile provided a great base, and they were very easy to glue, needing only a light clean with acetone beforehand. I used five layers of glue, two on the base tape and three on the rim. I've had no issues rolling tubs with this method, even with my pressures down to 16psi.

BORG22T Wheels - rim.jpg

BORG22T Wheels - rim.jpg

The rims are disc brake specific and therefore have no brake track. The main benefit of this is that it removes a little rotational weight. It also means the rim can be designed differently for increased stiffness and more tyre support.

Hubs

I was initially sceptical of the Miche hubs. The Italian brand has been producing hubs for ages, but with horrendously muddy conditions on my cross rides, I was concerned the mud and constant washing would ruin them. I have had no issues whatsoever. The freehub is near silent, with quick engagement, and continues to spin beautifully.

BORG22T Wheels - front hub 2.jpg

BORG22T Wheels - front hub 2.jpg

The hubs can be switched between quick release and thru-axle with the supplied end caps. My frame required the 142x12 option, but the ability to use 100x12 or 100x15 makes these very versatile if you change bikes. I used the quick releases on my road wheels, and they were perfectly secure. The hubs also come with a choice of freehub between Shimano 8/9/10/11, Campagnolo 9/10/11 or SRAM XD 11 drivers.

BORG22T Wheels - rear hub.jpg

BORG22T Wheels - rear hub.jpg

Spokes

The wheels came with a relatively high spoke count of 28, front and rear (18 front, 24 rear is more typical). It adds a little overall weight, but for cyclo-cross, with rims bottoming out quite frequently, I like the added robustness. The higher spoke count also adds a good deal of stiffness while keeping the spoke tensions suitable for rough ground.

Ride

Despite the relatively high weight on the spec sheet, the ride is actually very responsive. Most of the weight is found at the hub, and they spin up quite quickly. I also liked the reassurance of aluminium rims for the muddiest races as I was constantly hitting hidden roots and rocks.

BORG22T wheels mud.jpg

BORG22T wheels mud.jpg

The only times I found myself wishing for a deeper rim was in long ruts; the tracking is a little more stable on a deeper rim – but I should really see this as a chance to better my handling!

Tyres

Malcolm also imports the rather lovely Dugast Typhoon and Rhino tyres. For us here in the UK, muddy races are a weekly occurrence, so I chose a Rhino for the front and a Typhoon for the rear. The construction is beautiful and really defines a cross bike. I sealed the cotton sidewalls with Aquasure, a thick waterproofer – it's no harder than gluing a tyre and is really worth it.

> Buyer's Guide: Road bike wheels

Conclusion

If you're looking at getting some tubulars for cyclo-cross, or you want a set of robust wheels for muddy races, you'd be hard pressed to find a better wheelset at this price. The aluminium rim and higher spoke count mean these put up a strong and robust performance. The hubs are unfussy and have lasted very well. For the price, the BORG22T wheels are excellent.

Verdict

A brilliant way into the world of tubular, or an excellent second wheelset option

road.cc test report

Make and model: BORG22T Disc Road/CX tubular tyre disc brake wheelset

Size tested: 22mm depth

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?

From Malcolm Borg:

"The BORG22T Disc wheelset is perfect for road and CX race bikes using disc brakes. The rim for tubular tyres only is 23mm wide and 22mm deep and very stiff. Therefore Wider tubular tyres are perfect for this rim. The tyres shown are vittoria Pave 27mm. they are not included with the wheels.

These are stiff and light wheels for CX racing or general road use. Tubular tyres are quite practical for advise on riding with tubs just ask.

Available with a choice of freehub Shimano 8/9/10/11 speed, campagnolo 9/10/11 speed or SRAM XD 11 speed drivers. Thru axle compatibility with 100x12, 100x15 and 142x12mm.

Available in 28F/28R spoke count.

Weight of the 28F/28R BORG22T DISC wheelset is 1690g"

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

28F/28R BORG22T disc 23mm wide 22mm deep rims Sapim Force spokes,SILS nipples with Miche Syntium DX hubs for 100mm front and 135mm rear frame and forks.

Q/R skewers supplied but kits for 100x12mm 100x15mm and 142x12mm are supplied

Campagnolo 9/10/11 speed shimano 8/9/10/11 speed or SRAM XD driver freehub bodies.

5 year or 10,000 miles guarantee against spoke failure (anything reasonable covered too). The rims won't wear out so I can't do a guarantee for the life of the rim that might be a very long time.

Rate the wheel for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The spoke count is a great balance of stiffness, weight and robustness. The rim is perfect for wide tyres and the hubs are well chosen for performance and price. Borg builds these superbly. They have stayed true throughout testing.

Rate the wheel for performance:
 
8/10

They aren't as fast as carbon. But they're a helluva lot cheaper.

The stiffness is good, but still takes up little shocks. The acceleration is good from slow speeds, especially off the start line.

Rate the wheel for durability:
 
10/10

They've been through a lot of mud and come out perfectly. They're still straight and rolling nicely.

Rate the wheel for weight
 
5/10

Not as light as carbon options. If you're concerned about weight, you'll need to spend more.

Rate the wheel for value:
 
10/10

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

No issues with spoke tension and the wheels are perfectly true, even after hitting countless roots and rocks.

How easy did you find it to fit tyres?

As with all tubulars, I stretch them overnight. Then use a five-layer gluing method, three even layers on the rim and two on the base tape. Mount, straighten and leave for 24 hours. I've used this method loads and it was easy again with the Dugast tyres.

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

Thru-axle hubs, so no skewers.

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

It's fast enough and really robust. I'm very impressed with the performance, especially at this price.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel

They are bombproof. I can't count the number of roots I hit. They are perfectly true despite this.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel

Deep ruts left me wanting a deeper rim, but that's to aid my poor handling skills. I'll just have to get better!

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 score

These have to be serious contenders if you're looking at tubular wheels for cross. They are robust, fast enough for racing and won't break the bank.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 22  Height: 177cm  Weight: 64kg

I usually ride: Cannondale Supersix Di2  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 5-10 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo-cross, commuting, club rides, general fitness riding, I specialise in the Cafe Ride!

Son of a Marathon runner, Nephew of a National 24hr Champion, the racing genetics have completely passed him by. Liam spends his time plodding his way through cyclocross races, very busy not winning. As an advocate for perfectly clean chains, he can be found cleaning his bike instead of training. A shop mechanic, Liam has many helpful skills, such as being able to identify 'cross tubs by the tread pattern alone. If you bump into him, he'll probably be eating.

8 comments

Avatar
surly_by_name [521 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

Talk about lipstick on a pig .... those Dugasts would make any wheel look good. But 32s? Dunno why anyone would buy 32s, even in a file tread, when (unless you are racing under UCI regs and even then you can ride 33s).

Avatar
Liam Cahill [84 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

surly_by_name wrote:

Talk about lipstick on a pig .... those Dugasts would make any wheel look good. But 32s? Dunno why anyone would buy 32s, even in a file tread, when (unless you are racing under UCI regs and even then you can ride 33s).

The Dugasts are beautiful. But who in a race will notice the difference in 1mm? Think your name has to start with 'Mathieu' and end with 'Van Der Poel' to notice a difference...

Avatar
surly_by_name [521 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Liam Cahill wrote:
surly_by_name wrote:

Talk about lipstick on a pig .... those Dugasts would make any wheel look good. But 32s? Dunno why anyone would buy 32s, even in a file tread, when (unless you are racing under UCI regs and even then you can ride 33s).

The Dugasts are beautiful. But who in a race will notice the difference in 1mm? Think your name has to start with 'Mathieu' and end with 'Van Der Poel' to notice a difference...

I don't understand why you wouldn't run the widest tyre that you can, not because wider tyres are faster (unlikely, all other things being equal) but because they provide more grip. If you aren't racing a UCI sanctioned event the only constraint on tyre width is the clearance of your frame, the width of your rim and/or the maximum size made by your preferred tyre manufacturer. Assuming you have a standard cross frame (vs an Open UP, for example, which will take MTB tyres) and regular rims, then if your manufacturer of choice is Dugasts or FMB then the widest tyre you can buy is a 34. You would need pro wattage to realise any benefit in terms of increased speed from the reduced drag of a 32, so why would you buy 32s when you can have a wider tyre which will deliver tangible benefits in terms of grip? Certainly (with my mid-table handling skills) I feel a whole lot more comfortable cornering on 34s . If I could get 40s in there I would.  Although maybe you are on to something, at least in the mud - MTB muds are often narrower to cut through the mud to the harder surface below, so maybe the skinnier Rhino make sense. Anyway, a quick google search confirms that you are far quicker around a cross course than I am (as well as being a category younger), so evidence suggests 32s win. 

Avatar
BikeBud [255 posts] 5 months ago
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"I wouldn't expect to find a tubular disc wheelset below the £1,000 mark"

More money than sense?  I bought a fantastic set of hand-built CX wheels (disc tubulars) weighing under 1500g for approximately £400.  

Kinesis also do a tubular disc cx wheel.  

Avatar
surly_by_name [521 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
BikeBud wrote:

"I wouldn't expect to find a tubular disc wheelset below the £1,000 mark"

More money than sense?  I bought a fantastic set of hand-built CX wheels (disc tubulars) weighing under 1500g for approximately £400.  

Kinesis also do a tubular disc cx wheel.  

I missed that when I read article. Agree with BikeBud,  a quick search on ebay shows you can get a pair of Velocity Major Toms on Novatec hubs with Sapim race spokes for c.£320 hand built in the UK. Or you can buy some 38mm carbon tubs on Novatec hubs with bladed spokes (a la Sapim cxray) from China on ebay for about c.£340. I've got a couple of pairs of the latter and have been riding them for a couple of seasons without any troubles at all. I know a few chaps in our cross league (including one who is a shop mechanic for a living) who have the same wheels seemingly without problems. 

Avatar
Liam Cahill [84 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

surly_by_name wrote:

BikeBud wrote:

"I wouldn't expect to find a tubular disc wheelset below the £1,000 mark"

More money than sense?  I bought a fantastic set of hand-built CX wheels (disc tubulars) weighing under 1500g for approximately £400.  

Kinesis also do a tubular disc cx wheel.  

I missed that when I read article. Agree with BikeBud,  a quick search on ebay shows you can get a pair of Velocity Major Toms on Novatec hubs with Sapim race spokes for c.£320 hand built in the UK. Or you can buy some 38mm carbon tubs on Novatec hubs with bladed spokes (a la Sapim cxray) from China on ebay for about c.£340. I've got a couple of pairs of the latter and have been riding them for a couple of seasons without any troubles at all. I know a few chaps in our cross league (including one who is a shop mechanic for a living) who have the same wheels seemingly without problems. 

Should clarify, I meant carbon. And yes, you can get them from China, but I'd consider them a similar risk to buying second hand. Although the pros/cons of Chinese  wheels and where to get them could make a whole other article.

Avatar
Liam Cahill [84 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes

surly_by_name wrote:

Liam Cahill wrote:

surly_by_name wrote:

Talk about lipstick on a pig .... those Dugasts would make any wheel look good. But 32s? Dunno why anyone would buy 32s, even in a file tread, when (unless you are racing under UCI regs and even then you can ride 33s).

The Dugasts are beautiful. But who in a race will notice the difference in 1mm? Think your name has to start with 'Mathieu' and end with 'Van Der Poel' to notice a difference...

Although maybe you are on to something, at least in the mud - MTB muds are often narrower to cut through the mud to the harder surface below, so maybe the skinnier Rhino make sense. Anyway, a quick google search confirms that you are far quicker around a cross course than I am (as well as being a category younger), so evidence suggests 32s win. 

To be honest. They came as 32s so that's what I rode. If they'd have sent 33s I'd have no complaints. From interviews with pros like Ian Field, it seems the 33s are favourites in the file treads for the sand, with the 32 being more common in the Rhino. I'm off to Helen Wyman's CX camp next month so I'll ask her opinion...

Avatar
surly_by_name [521 posts] 5 months ago
0 likes
Liam Cahill wrote:
surly_by_name wrote:
Liam Cahill wrote:
surly_by_name wrote:

Talk about lipstick on a pig .... those Dugasts would make any wheel look good. But 32s? Dunno why anyone would buy 32s, even in a file tread, when (unless you are racing under UCI regs and even then you can ride 33s).

The Dugasts are beautiful. But who in a race will notice the difference in 1mm? Think your name has to start with 'Mathieu' and end with 'Van Der Poel' to notice a difference...

Although maybe you are on to something, at least in the mud - MTB muds are often narrower to cut through the mud to the harder surface below, so maybe the skinnier Rhino make sense. Anyway, a quick google search confirms that you are far quicker around a cross course than I am (as well as being a category younger), so evidence suggests 32s win. 

To be honest. They came as 32s so that's what I rode. If they'd have sent 33s I'd have no complaints. From interviews with pros like Ian Field, it seems the 33s are favourites in the file treads for the sand, with the 32 being more common in the Rhino. I'm off to Helen Wyman's CX camp next month so I'll ask her opinion...

Fair play, if someone gave me a pair of Dugasts I wouldn't look that particular gift horse in the mouth! Interested in cxhelen's thoughts, although (warning: tyre nerd alert) she's sponsored by Challenge, who only seem to advertise 33mm on their website (but they offer a "team edition"). [Turns out you can buy Challenge 32s.]