Review: Velocity Blunt SL wheelset

By Shannon Mominee

Velocity’s new 29” Blunt SL Pro wheelset is handbuilt in Grand Rapids, MI. They’re marketed as a race day wheel, because the 1,565g weight is comparable to other “racing” wheelsets. I used them as my primary wheels for optimal trail mileage during the test.

The Blunt SL is a blend of the wider Blunt and the P35 rim with the addition of Velocity’s tubeless rim bead. The Pro build uses Blunt SL rims and lightweight disc hubs with 6-bolt rotor mounts, laced with Sapim CX-Ray bladed, J-bend spokes to alloy nipples. Each wheel has 28 spokes; the front is radial laced on the drive-side and two-cross on the non-drive side. The rear wheel is laced two-cross on both sides. The rims have an internal width of 20.8mm and a 25mm external width.

Velocity Velotape and valve stems are used to convert the wheels for tubeless use. The front hub has two sealed cartridge bearings and uses a 9mm quick-release. A 15/20mm compatible front hub option is also available for no additional charge. The rear hub has four cartridge bearings, a standard quick release, and 3 pawls with 30 engagement points. The rear hub is not compatible with 142mm axle spacing. Front hub preload is easily done via a setscrew. Two 5mm hex keys adjust the rear. My hubs didn’t require adjustment during the test.

On the trail the Blunts rolled smooth and remained dent-free after an encounter with a snakebite-causing rock. They didn’t, however, feel as stiff as the burlier Industry9 wheels they replaced (reviewed in Issue #138), especially through high-speed turns. Hub engagement wasn’t as instantaneous either, and was apparent when starting from a stop on an uphill section or when slow speed balancing and back pedaling was required.

After a few long rides I was preparing do a tubeless conversion on these wheels— the rims sealed nicely with Stan’s sealant and UST tires—and placed them in our truing stand to see how they were holding up. The wheels were in need of truing. I had a hard time truing them because some spokes were locked into the nipple and wanted twist even as I held them with a bladed spoke tool.

For my 185lbs. weight and riding style I wouldn’t use the Pro Build as an everyday wheelset, but if you’re racing and don’t mind truing bladed spokes as a trade-off for low weight, then I’d give them a try. The Comp build appears to be a more durable product to me. It uses the same rim but has 32-DT Swiss double-butted spokes laced three-cross with brass nipples. They are $250 less, weigh 200g more, but should be a stiffer wheel and easier to maintain. Skewers are included, as well as a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Price: $800

Weight: 1,565 grams

Country of Origin: Assembled in the United States