8.10.2010

P to the 35

Now, there is plenty of finality in the word final, but this might be more of a sign off. Guitar Ted has been putting a set of our P35's through the ringer since the beginning of the year and has given us and the world his thoughts throughout the process [see the On Test, Out of the Box, & Midterm reports]. G-Ted stamp of approval? In this final review, we think so!

Velocity Wheelset: P-35 Rims: Final Review

August 9th, 2010 by Guitar Ted

The P-35 rim, introduced last year, was the second widely available rim in the 30 plus millimeter range. How would it hold up to regular mountain biking. How would it play with your tires? Is it a worthy choice for average trail riding 29″er freaks? These are the questions I had going into this review. Now, after several months of riding everything from packed snow machine trails to swampy, muddy track, to dry, rooty single track, here are my final observations on these rims/wheels. Also, as a bonus, I’ll cover the new Velocity rim tape that turns any set of P-35’s to tubeless compatible wheels. If you have missed the last Mid-Term Report, you can click this link to read that.

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P-35 rim on the front here of this Big Mama full suspension bike.

Wide Track: The P-35’s claim to fame is its reasonable weight plus its width. The width spreads out a 29″er tire, and is also said to give the tire better support. One thing needs to be considered though when looking at a 35mm wide rim. Your tires may actually end up being worse performers on a P-35 than they are on narrower rims. Why? It is because the tread area on some tires actually flattens out when the beads are spaced further apart. This flattening of the tread area may “close up” the tread, making your tires skittish, or loose. Generally, I would suggest using wider tires, over 2.3″, on this class rim due to this phenomenon, but experimentation is always good.

The wider rims also may cause issues with tire clearance in some frames. If you set these up with 2.4″ers, it will certainly cause you to use up most, if not all, your chain stay clearance. Many older 29″er frames were not made with these rims and 2.4″ tires in mind. For instance, the Ardents on the P-35’s I had were nearly 62mm wide at the casing. That sort of casing width isn’t going to leave a lot of “breathing room” in a lot of frames out there!

The Wheel Set: Now for a word on the wheels specifically, which are built on Velocity branded hubs. These wheels were trouble free during the entire testing period. They stayed true, and to my surprise, the wheels did not develop fouled bearings despite my best efforts to get them contaminated. The bearings are very smooth to this day, and I wouldn’t hesitate to have Velocity build me a set again. The tensions were great, and I have no complaints on the build. The only thing I would suggest is for Velocity U.S.A. to consider developing a front hub that is convertible from 9mm QR to 15QR, to 20mm through axle. This would make buying a hub from Velocity much more appealing, and make the hub a versatile one that could go from bike to bike with a quick end cap change.

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All you need to set up a pair of P-35’s to be tubeless compatible.

Velocity Velotape: The Velotape came out after we received the wheel set, so Velocity sent the Velotape out after our Mid-Term Update. I set up the rims after removing the tire and make shift rim strip I used previously. Let me tell you, the Velotape is a far more elegant solution! I cleaned the inner rim cavity thoroughly, and then I was all set.

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It is important to slightly stretch the tape as you apply it to make sure you minimize any air pockets after application. (It is kind of like applying a decal, if that makes sense.) The inner cavity of the P-35 is “U” shaped, so following up with some pressure from your index finger where the tape meets the rim is advisable. (See image above)

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After overlapping the tape at the rim seam, according to the instructions, you pierce a hole at the valve drilling to allow installation of the supplied valve stem. (Make sure you pierce the valve stem drilling and not a spoke hole!)

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When inserting the stem, make sure it is seated all the way in, as shown here.

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The valve stem nut comes with a supplied washer that goes against the rim as shown. Then you are ready to install a tire, add sealant, and air it up! I used the Ardent 2.4″er again, and the process was seamless. So far, the system has proven very trail worthy. (By the way, the valve stem does have a removable core.)

Conclusions: The Velocity P-35 rim succeeds in that it is a trail worthy rim at a reasonable weight and price. It comes in many colors, and is easily found from many on-line and local bike shops. The new Velotape adds extra value to these rims, but it is an extra purchase on top of the rims, so be aware of that. The rims seem to be of average stiffness and would be best suited to XC to light AM uses. Front single speed applications, and anywhere a rider sees that a wider footprint on a 29″er would be advantageous would be places to look at using a P-35 rim. The weight is very reasonable for the width, but even so, this isn’t an XC racers rim. This rim is for the everyday 29″er rider that wants to maximize the performance of the wider tires on the market for 29′ers.

The wheel build gets an A+. I had zero issues with it, and the tensions were good and remained so during the entire test. The hubs were also a highlight, and for the money, they were a great value. I didn’t necessarily care for the thread on free wheel compatibility or the fact that the 20mm through axle is not convertible to other standards now available. If you don’t want to fuss with building up a set of P-35’s, have your bike shop do it through Velocity U.S.A. and they will be a great wheel set, if this one we tested is anything to go by. They do have standard geared cassette hubs for geared use which can be set up with spacers for single speed use.

The Velotape is an easy to apply solution to get the P-35’s going as a tubeless wheel set. I had no issues with setting up the tires I was using as tubeless on this system and the valve stems and tape seem to be top notch quality stuff. I’ve seen much worse!

Finally, the Velocity P-35 is a welcomed addition to the choices for a 29″er rider in terms of rims and wheels. The colors available are unmatched by other companies, the quality is consistent, and the rims themselves are workhorse pieces that should serve most riders well, save chunk riders and anyone pushing the limits of 29″er wheels. These folks should look elsewhere for rims, but for a wide swath of the 29″er riding public that is wanting a wide footprint for their rubber, the P-35 rim from Velocity U.S.A. should be a serious consideration.


Note: Twenty Nine Inches received this wheel set at no charge for test and review. We are not being bribed or paid for the review here and we will strive to give our honest opinions throughout.

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The P35 is available in these sizes and drillings:

26" [559], 650b, 700c/29er in 32 and 36 hole drillings in these colors:

Black, Silver, White, Electric Red, and Antifreeze Green

* Lumberjack Plaid and Teak P35's are available in 26" and 700c sizes with 32 and 36 hole drillings

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