Serious contenders to take the crown in their weight group. A truly classy set of wheels.
Our good friends at Velocite don’t just make frames they also make wheels (and a few other select components) the latest edition to the wheel line-up is the Gram SL wheelset. I’ve put in about 600kms on these wheels and I’m thoroughly impressed. In fact for the type of wheel (which is my type of wheel) they’re easily in the top ranks and coming in cheaper than many of the competitors. So what type of wheel is it?
The Gram SL is a 25mm low profile wheel built with a carbon fiber matrix alloy rim which is welded for strength and durability (rather than being sleeved). The hubs are 20 up front and 27 at the rear. The hubs are really interesting, the rear is a super wide 68mm non-drive side to drive side (hole to hole) and [Velocite claim] this is the widest available right now. The hubs also service incredibly easy, needing just a couple of allen keys to take apart and service, no weird washers or springs to deal with. They’re also fitted with replaceable EZO bearings which have double the normal static load bearing capacity of usual bearings found in most road bike hubs. The package also comes with skewers, rim-tape, spare spokes and warranty card (that is easy to fill in). Sounds great, but how do they ride?
For the purposes of reviewing the wheels I tried them with a couple of tyre choices, just to factor in any vague tyre effects that might make the wheels feel a certain way. The wheelset comes in at a very reasonable weight of 1390g, not making them the lightest but not too shabby either (given spoke counts, actually very good). First ride out of the box was stunning, the hub bearings are ridiculously smooth and spin like silk yarn – super smooth. Against my other wheelsets, the Gram SL’s float along, this alone had me chuckling. So much so I overshot the junction as I predicted my wheels to spin down sooner!! Not these puppies, they just keep rolling. A good thing, just had to recalibrate my senses to the new and improved rolling resistance, or rather lack or it.
The stiffness of the rims is very nice, not harsh or bumpy, the carbon matrix taking a little of the road sting out, but still giving positive feedback. When you put the power down, the rear wheel picks up immediately and the wide rear hub gives nothing in flex. This translated into the real world gave me faster times on my riding routes, most notably uphill. Going downhill was more reassuring too, although Velocite have made no comment of the actual brake surface, they had a more positive feeling under braking (on the same pads as used on other wheels). More than that these wheels are certified to a very high standard that are normally in the realms of touring bike wheels, EN 1467 certified (750000 impacts at 25km/h while loaded by 640N, for each wheel) is very reassuring to know when riding.
So what you get for your money is; handmade [and checked], super fast, stiff, smooth, low profile, carbon/alloy clinchers, easy to service and spare spokes. I can't fault these wheels, there is nothing wrong only right. Velocite have put a lot of effort into producing an amazing set of wheels that will not let you down. Absolutely superb stunning wheels from one special brand that is always working hard to get more out of their products.
Review date: 14 December 2012