About a week ago we got the announcement that Veloity U.S.A. had Blunt SL rims and wheel sets in, and now we have a set of the wheels in for test and review. Our set is the “Comp” build using Velocity’s own branded hubs. Let’s take a closer look…..
Velocity hand builds these wheels in its Grand Rapids, Michigan facility in a “Pro” level build, or the “Comp” level build as stock options. However; they can customize a wheel build to taste within reason, so if the two stock builds do not suit you, give them a shout and they can work out the details with you and your local bike shop. This “Comp” build consists of the following specifications:
– Rims: Blunt SL rims in black, (white and silver are also available), 32 hole, disc brake only.
– Front Hub: “ATB” Convertible Disc Hub 32H, with 9mm quick release, 15 mm and 20mm through axle end caps (included)
– Front Spokes: DT Swiss Competition Double Butted 2.0/1.8mm laced 3 cross on disc side, radially on non-disc side with brass nipples.
– Rear Hub: “ATB” Lightweight Hub, 135mm OD, 32 hole.
– Rear Spokes: DT Swiss Competition Double Butted 2.0/1.8mm laced 3 cross with brass nipples.
Each Velocity wheel is hand built, as stated, and not only that, the builder signs and dates their work. It’s pretty cool to know that your wheels were built by hand, but the sign off makes it a bit more impressive, in my opinion.
The Blunt SL is a new rim borrowing from what Velocity learned making the Blunt and P-35 rims. The Blunt SL is described by Velocity as their ” tubeless race day rim “. The tubeless part is made a reality by using Velocity’s own “Velotape” and tubeless valve stems which feature removable cores. Velocity claims a weight for the 29 inch Blunt SL at 420 grams each.
Hubs: Since we’re testing the entire wheel set, here is the skinny on the hubs. The rear hub is from Velocity’s “Lightweight” models. The claimed weight is 275 gm. The hub rolls on cartridge bearings and is only offered in the 32 hole drilling. The front hub is an entirely new design, and isn’t even on the website yet. Velocity offers it as a convertible hub that accepts 9mm quick release, 15mm through axle, and 20mm through axle. No weight was available at post time, but I would assume it is similar to their 20mm through axle disc hub which weighs 250 gm.
The end caps are easily removed by simply pulling the rubber “O” rings past the grooves they seat into and swapping out what ever desired end cap you want back in. Interestingly, the inside diameter of the axle area in the hub is already compatible with a 20mm through axle, so instead of having end caps that insert into the hub, they actually snap over the outer edge of the hub in grooves where “O” rings on the 20mm through axle caps sit into to keep them in place.
Here are the 15mm and 20mm through axle end caps. You can see how the 20mm ones vary. I’m setting up the wheels to fit the test mule which is a Specialized Epic Marathon and it has a 9mm QR Reba fork. I’ll also be swapping out these wheels to other bikes as the test progresses.
The wheels actually are very similar to the Roval wheels the Epic Marathon came with, right down to the weight. With tape installed and valve stems installed, the Rovals and Blunt SL wheels both weighed 1850 gms for the set. (9mm quick release end caps installed) The lacing pattern for the front is nearly identical as well. Of course, the Roval rim and the Blunt SL are different profiles, but internal widths were similar at 21.2mm.
The Blunt SL rim has a nice inner rim profile which is reminiscent of the P-35’s, only shrunken down to smaller proportions. This made setting up the tubeless ready Specialized Ground Control prototype tires a breeze. Once the Velotape was laid in, and the excellent quality valve stem installed, the tires aired up with a floor pump easily. It couldn’t have been any easier, really. I used some Geax latex sealant in these, just for the record.
Comments: While Velocity is calling these “race day rims”, the Comp build level may not reflect a “race day” weight for many of you readers out there. The wheel set is also listed as being available in the “Pro” level build, which shaves the weight down to 1575 gms, (with 28/28 count spokes, higher end spokes, alloy nipples) Note also that the Comp build without the tape and valve stems is listed at 1775 gm. Of course, you can build your own wheels using the Blunt SL and any other compatible components you wish to get the weight down even further. For reference, the ZTR Crest rims list at 380 grams and “355” rims list out at 405 gm, so the Blunt SL is in the ball park for a “race day” rim. Blunt SL rims have a MSRP of $84.99 USD each. That’s pretty much in line with MSRP’s on similar rims.
As far as this particular wheel build goes, I see it as a great idea for an endurance wheel set, something for longer events, where maybe the lightest weight isn’t a huge concern, but durability is. Lighter riders, or folks that go easy on their wheels might be looking at something like this for their “daily driver” set of wheels. I’ll be keeping this as my focus as I test these in the coming weeks. As far as the rims themselves go, I’ll be looking for long term durability, tubeless performance, and how flexy, or not, these rims are going to be.
The wheel set will be treated as an “everyday” wheel set, just to see how it holds up. I’m already out doing some riding on these, and they will be getting a few more rides before I come back with my First Impressions. Stay tuned!
Velocity has submitted these wheels for test and review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed for this review. We will strive to give our honest opinions throughout.