Velocity P35 Review

by Brian Mullin on September 15, 2010

At the 2009 Interbike, I was highly intrigued by the Australian rim maker Velocity P35 or Pacenti 35 rims. The ultra wide 35mm rim, is 22mm deep with an inside width of 29.5mm, and seemed ideal for fat tires and brutal All Mountain riding. The rim was co-designed by Kirk Pacenti, who is also well known for his development of the 650b wheel size for mountain bike use. The P35 is available in 26”, 650b, and 29” sizes, drilled with either 32 or 36 holes, and comes in black, silver, white, electric red (shown) and antifreeze green.

Velocity was kind enough to send along a set of the P35’s, which were built with their own hubs, and their brand new tubeless kit installed. They have been thoroughly tested on my Ibis Mojo, and recently the front has been used on my Yeti ASR 7.

Build Specs:
Rim: Velocity P35
Size: 26 inch
Color: Electric Red
Front – Velocity ATB 20mm 32 hole black
Rear – Velocity ATB 32 hole black
Spokes: DT Competition 2.0/1.8
Spoke pattern: 3 cross
Nipples: brass silver 2.0

Installation
The rims came installed with their new Velotape (blue tape not yellow) which is specifically designed to convert P35 rims and wheelsets to a tubeless mode. You can also purchase a two tire kit for $24.99, which includes 10 meters of tape, and two tubeless valves with removable cores. I have installed the same sort of tape, and basically you apply the tape in the center of the rim, and slowly lay it down, keeping the roll of tape taut, with a strong enough pull to stretch it slightly, and push it down with your finger tip to adhere it to the cavity, until you cover the entire circumference plus a couple of extra inches. Then you pierce the valve hole, and insert the valve stem and tighten its nut down.

They were easy to set up tubeless, with either UST or normal tires, and popped up without any issue. Their Velotape tubeless system worked well, and I had no issues getting my usual assortment of tires to bead up on the rims. Some tires may require some sealant to hold air, but I use sealant with all my tubeless systems, so it was a moot point. I had more luck with tires that have a stout sidewalls, then floppy ones. After many months of use, I noticed the Velotape was starting to pull up in a couple of areas, although it wasn’t leaking, but my prodigious tire swap outs greatly exacerbated the issue.

Impressions
I have been riding the Velocity P35 wheelset since mid spring, and I must say the rims are monstrously wide. It took me quite a few rides to get used to the stability and rigidity that they offer, and until you have ridden a rim this wide, it’s hard to understand the feeling they imbue. The rims let a tire flare out wide, giving a larger footprint, and allowing lower air pressure, all which give excellent traction, control and comfort. It may slightly alter the characteristics of a tire, since the tires sit out wider, and their corresponding profile is changed, and I found that fatter tires seem to work better than narrow ones. The rim profile along with the width, gives excellent lateral stiffness without much of a weight penalty.

I bashed these beasts through any terrain that I could toss them at, and they just stayed on line. I tossed them over sideways, torqued them hard, plowed them through rock gardens and smashed them into square ledges, and it did nothing impede them. You can pretty much bowl your way over anything, without any hesitance nor flex (2.0/1.8 spokes help). The stable and wide platform does mean it takes an extra touch of effort to roll them over, but it’s not much in the grand scheme of things. I did notice that they don’t accelerate very well, but when you can drive straight into anything it doesn’t seem to matter, and the monstrous tractor like traction certainly offers a more than a fair advantage. The Velocity hubs are somewhat primitive and a tad heavy, but have so far proven to be pretty stout and smooth, and I didn’t have any issues with the bearings nor pawls.

Measured Specs:
Front – 1002.7 grams
Rear – 1053.8 grams
Total – 2056.5 grams
Note – weight includes tubeless tape and valves

I noticed the other day, that on some technical terrain, where I needed to make a laser like steering adjustment, that the rims were slow to respond, making it more difficult to choose a precise line. I have ridden other wide rims that have slightly better steering, but there seems to be some other synergy going on (rim shape, spokes, hubs, ?) that makes it more anomalous. Fortunately, you can plow your way through whichever line you are left with, but it did make for some awkward transitions. They are very stable and want to stay in an upright position, and they take some initiative to muster them over on their side, but once there, they rail like crazy, and the width allows you to plunge them into berms to your heart content.

The wheel build has been bombproof, and the spoke tension and rim’s true have stayed the same the entire test period. I do wish the front hub had conversion adapters, so that it could be used with 9mm, 15mm or 20mm forks. The rim’s are painted, in contrast to the usual anodization, and I have found they’re getting chewed up and scratched quite easily. In daylight conditions, you can also see some minor painting imperfections (not a big deal).

Bottom Line
The Velocity P35 rims are stable, rigid, ultra wide, with a large footprint, which makes any tire have better traction, control and comfort. It is highly suggested to use fat tires due to the tire flare out. The stability and width allow you to blast through most anything, and ignore your line, which is a good thing,  since quick steering changes are more difficult. It takes some initiative to roll them over on their sides, but once there they are rail masters. Their new tubeless Velotape system worked just fine, and will allow a plethora of tires to be run in a tubeless mode. The Velocity wheel build was a surprise, and was strong, durable, smooth and remained true.

The P35 rims are uber wide monster!

Strengths
– Stable
– Massive width
– Strong
– Tubeless via Velotape
– Large footprint for tires

Weaknesses
– Lack of front hub adapters
– Heavy hubs
– Takes initiative to roll over to sides

MSRP: Rims $99, Wheels $600

Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Velocity P35 Company Specs:
Outside Width: 35mm
Inside Width: 29.5mm
Depth: 22mm
Weight: 29” 595 grams, 650b 570 grams, 26” 535 grams
BSD: 29″ 622, 650b 584, 26″ 559
ERD: 29″ 598, 650b 560.5, 26″ 536
Drillings: 32h, 36h (28h for 26″ only)
url: http://www.velocityusa.com/default.asp?contentID=715

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