Campagnolo may have just joined the disc brake party this spring, but rim braking certainly isn’t dead for road racing. So the march of technology goes on as more advanced materials tech and surface treatments continue to improve the braking performance of the top-level carbon road wheels that the pros (for the most part) still prefer for racing. Campy’s latest update brings new All Conditions Carbon Control – or AC3 – tech to their race winning Bora carbon wheel family by way of a new brake surface texture and material composition that promises unmatched carbon braking in wet or dry riding conditions….
The Campagnolo engineers are fully aware that carbon rim brake performance degrades in wet & dirty conditions (and that is one selling point for a set of Bora One DB wheels), so as the peloton continue to race on light carbon wheels & rim brakes Campy continues to improve on their popular carbon wheel family. The new AC3 project set out to boost carbon rim brake power & consistency both in the dry, and more importantly in wet conditions.
The AC3 textured brake surface design was developed with grooves to move water & debris more quickly out of the way between the brake pads & rim. Campy claims that design also provides additional edges that also add friction allowing the pad to better grip the braking surface.
AC3 apparently is more than skin deep though. Campagnolo says that the construction of the updated Bora wheels also gets a bit of a revision with a change in carbon fiber orientations at the brake track that was designed to maximize strength & durability of the new textured braking surface to ensure that it would retain its braking improvement through the life of the wheels. The rims also use a resin that is said to both better handle extreme temperatures and better dissipate heat build-up away from the pads, exceeding the performance of other carbon wheels.
In the end Campagnolo makes some very bold claims that the AC3 construction tech gives the Bora wheels a level of both wet & dry braking performance beyond any other carbon rims on the market. They say that in the dry the new AC3 Boras out brake their nearest competitor by 6% (3% better than the previous Boras), with that margin stepping up to a staggering claim of 55% on wet roads over the competition (& 43% over older Boras.)
Without experiencing them firsthand (or knowing what competitor they are benchmarking against), we can only say that anything close to those claims is a pretty huge deal, and would surely go a long way towards making wet carbon rim braking tolerable.
What we do know is that the new AC3 braking will be available in both clincher and tubular versions of the rim-brake Bora wheels in 35 & 50mm depths, plus the Bora Ultra TT disc. (No word on applying it to the 80mm deep wheels.) It will also be available at both Bora One & Bora Ultra levels (which differ in hubs & bearings only.) The new AC3 tech isn’t yet on their website and exact availability dates are still vague, but Campagnolo says that the pros are already racing AC3 wheels and amateurs have been promised them this spring 2017 (which technically ends in three weeks.)