TNI: Blunt SL - First Impressions

The first 'on the trail' review of the Blunt SL wheelset by Guitar Ted. He is reviewing a Blunt SL Comp with our new convertible 9mm QR/15/20 front hub. Be sure to check out the new Dirt Rag with an article written by G. Ted on the epic gravel race he runs Trans Iowa.

Velocity Blunt SL Comp Wheels: First Impressions

June 27th, 2011 by Guitar Ted

It’s been a while now since the Velocity Blunt SL wheels came over for testing and now it is time to give some first impressions on these wheels. You can catch all the details on the tech side in the Out Of The Box post here. Now, let’s see how the wheels have been holding up so far….

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If you’ve been following along with my Specialized Ground Control reports, you already know that these Blunt SL wheels have been set up tubeless with those tires. The process was easy using Velocity’s Velotape kit, which is the same for the P-35, by the way. I simply laid in the tape according to the supplied instructions, (also found on their website here), and popped in the valve stem that features a removable core. A bit of Geax latex sealant, and the tires sealed up on the Blunt SL’s with little effort at all.

Once mounted with these tires, the Blunt SL wheels held the tires air pressure well, and seem to be secure so far. I’ve had as low as 25psi in these and as high as almost 40psi with no ill effects so far. As far as tubeless compatibility, my first impression is that the Blunt SL scores highly.

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Besides the tubeless set up, these wheels have been pretty “invisible” in a good way. In fact, during tire testing of the Ground Control 2.1’s, I didn’t even give these wheels a second thought. They seem to be stable, and have not needed any attention so far. That’s a good sign, and typical of a well built hand laced and tensioned wheel set, which the Blunt SL’s are. I didn’t hear any “pinging”, which denotes spokes detensioning and stressing, which is another good sign that these should remain stable wheels for the long haul.

The hubs are working as I would expect them to. The rear hub is relatively quiet, for those wondering about such things, and engagement seems about average for a nicer quality wheel set. Those looking for a “clackity-clack” or “buzzing bee” sound from the Blunt SL’s Lightweight model hubs should probably have Velocity lace up your choice of hub to some Blunt SL’s, which they are happy to do. (Or, buy the rims and build your own.)

Overall, the wheels are solidly built. I don’t expect to have any troubles with this part of the review, but as always, I’ll be keeping an eye out for anything notable.

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Performance of the rims has been great so far. I do detect the slightest amount of flex in these rims, and that in loaded off camber situations and hard cornering at times. I can’t say as I am all that surprised by this either. I mean, I am a pretty big fella, (weighing in at 230lbs these days), and the Blunt SL rims weigh down there where at my weight, a bit of flex is to be expected. For reference, the Blunt SL seems to handle a bit better than some of competitors rims I’ve ridden, and definitely on par with others in this category. Only carbon fiber seems to be able to hold up in the stiffness category while retaining low weight. Then again, those carbon rims cost a lot more money too, so there ya go….

All right, that about covers the first impressions. now I’ll be on to more riding and a Mid-Term Report in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned……

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