Velocity Wheel Recommendations

Today’s mailbag brings…

Hi Bruce:

A while back you reported that you had bought some Velocity A23 wheels and liked ‘em quite a bit. I’m looking to get a set of their Helios wheels and was wondering how the A23’s were holding up.

Rob

Hi Rob!

Actually, I own three sets of wheels with Velocity hoops, and of those three, two are also Velocity in-house builds.

Yellow Bike’s wheels were my introduction to both handbuilt wheels and Velocity products. Their build is similar to the Helios you’re looking at—Aerohead rim in front, 28-hole, DT Revolutions (15/17) radial-laced, and in the back Aerohead O/C, 32-hole with DT Revolutions (15/17) laced 2X on the non-drive side, and DT Competitions (14/15) laced 3X on the drive side.

I’ve been nothing but delighted with these wheels since I bought them in May 2007. The Aerohead-Aerohead O/C hoops have been trouble-free as has been the build.

The Portland rides on a set of wheels with Velocity VXC hoops, 32 DT Competitions (14/15) laced 3X all the way around, with a Shimano dynohub on the front and a 130mm Velocity road disk hub in the back.

Due to build issues with the original build and builder, Velocity completely rebuilt both wheels in-house and paid for shipping both ways. They didn’t have to do that since they only manufactured the hoops and one hub. I already liked Velocity products, and that act of over-the-top customer service made me a customer for life.

Rebuilt by Velocity, these wheels define bulletproof. I commute on them in all four seasons, and all my heavy hauling is done on this bike too. It laughs at potholes, (even with 50 pounds of groceries on the back) jumps curbs with aplomb, and feel like they will roll over anything in their path.

Velocity A23 Wheels, PRO BuildBut you asked about the A23s.

I only got the A23s 715 miles ago. They’re Velocity’s in-house PRO build—20 radial-laced Sapim CX-Rays in front, 24 CX-Rays in back, laced radial on the non-drive side, and 2X on the drive side. Velocity hubs all the way around.

These are wheels to kill for. And they’re damned sexy too.

They have the same stout feel as all my other Velocity wheels, but at 1400 grams for the pair, they’re the lightest wheels I own. I got a hint with the Portland’s wheels, and confirmed it with the A23s—the hype about wider rims is true. They give a better ride and better handling both at the same time.

As for durability, that remains to be seen, however I have every confidence that these will roll flawlessly for thousands of miles, perhaps tens of thousands. My torture tests thus far have included regular climbs and descents on the cobbles in the cemetery, the usual commuting abuse (including bunny-hopping potholes and curb jumping), and they rode the gravel and dirt roads on my recent vacation. Nothing yet has disturbed them.

So, the Helios wheels you’re looking at are an in-house Velocity build using Aerohead-Aerohead O/C hoops like Yellow Bike’s wheels, and spokes and lacing similar to the A23s on Jeeves. IME, Velocity’s in-house builds are superb, the hoops are excellent, their hubs very good to excellent, and with the Sapim CX-Ray spokes (the strongest available to we mortals) you should have no problems for many thousands of happy miles.

IMHO, go for it. (BTW, I got my A23s at BikeMania.biz, for $200 less than Velocity’s price. They have the Helios for $479.)

P.S.: Try the Veloplugs too.

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