With all of the noise around carbon fibre wheels, it’s easy to forget that there are still companies working on perfecting rims from good old aluminium. Granted, carbon is light, stiff, and sexy, but those attributes come with failure modes that tend towards the catastrophic and price tags that (even for the ‘cheapest’ of Chinese imports) are miles from most riders’ fiscal reality.
Introduced at Interbike last autumn, Velocity’s Blunt SS is one in the new generation of wide/light rims, which claim to increase a given tyre’s footprint and grip while allowing for ever-lower pressures and ever-greater traction. The SSs’ 27mm internal measurement is half as wide again as what had been common for the past two decades – and its gently rounded profile does little to mask its girth. The now-expected low bead hooks and a tubeless-ready (with tape) bead seat are present as well.
The Blunt SSs’ claimed 400g (and measured 370g) weight put the 27.5in rim solidly in cross-country territory. Those not on the bleeding edge of wheel size trends need not worry: 26in and 29in models are also available. Built up to a pair of DT Swiss 35o hubs using 56 DT Swiss Competition spokes and alloy nipples, our taped Blunt wheelset weighs an impressive 1,512g.
Fitted to a 140/120mm trail bike and subjected to several months’ worth of rocky trail riding, these race-weight alloy wheels should have been out of their depth.
But they weren’t.
While the 28-spoke build (only 32h & 36h models are being brought into the UK) won’t win any awards for stiffness, the Blunts are among the most solid sub-1,600g wheels this tester has ridden. Fitted to the wide SSs, 2.25 and 2.4in tyres took on a pleasantly plump shape and could be run at pressures in the neighbourhood of 20psi, providing plenty of traction without squirms or burps.
Heavier trail riders may well want a stouter rim for trail use and those in rocky areas will quickly find a number of cosmetic dings on the quite thin inner wall. But bigger cross-country racers and lighter trail riders will love the Blunt SSs’ combination of lateral stiffness, light weight, wide rim traction and reasonable price.
Verdict: Velocity has delivered a rim that punches well above its weight in terms of stiffness, durability and traction – at a price that makes sense. #Aluminiumaintdead
|Product:||Blunt SS (Blunt 35)|
|From:||Brick Lane BIkes, bricklanebikes.co.uk|
|Tested:||by Marc B for four months|