Guitar Ted's Blunt SL Review

Yesterday, Guitar Ted posted his final review of our Blunt SL wheelset over on TwentyNineInches.com. You can view it there or continue reading it below.

Velocity Blunt SL Comp Wheels: Final Review

November 28th, 2011 by Guitar Ted

Velocity Blunt SL Comp Wheels: Final Review: by Guitar Ted

With the year quickly coming to a close, here is another Final Review! This time I take a last look at the Velocity Blunt SL Comp wheels that I have been riding for several months now. The last update on these wheels can be reviewed here.
blunt final 001
For much of the test period, the Velocity Blunt SL Comp wheels spent their time on the Specialized carbon hard tail test mule. They were a great addition to this bike, but after riding them on this rig for the summer, I decided I wanted to swap the wheels over to something completely different. I had been hoping a more XC/Trail oriented full suspension tester would materialize, but that did not happen in time for this test of these wheels. so, I opted for a completely rigid set up on a new frame and fork I recently added to my personal stable of bikes: The Salsa Cycles Fargo, generation II model. (Note: The first test sled these were mounted to was a full suspension rig- the Specialized Epic Marathon. See here for that post)
Blunt SL Fargo 11 001
Adding in a rigid front end with a “not-as-stiff-as-carbon” frame brought out some different feelings in the wheels. I could feel a definite smoothness without going full on race pace as I had to do on the Stumpjumper. Likely the frame and fork feel there, but something did jump out at me more dramatically than it had with the carbon frame. Here on the Fargo, the rear wheel lateral “give” was not felt, but there was something notable in the front end.
Blunt SL Fargo 11 004
Going harder into corners, I eventually hit an obstacle at the apex of a corner with the rigid front end which I could not compensate for by unweighting the front wheel, or by steering around it. I was fully committed to a line here and the front wheel smacked the obstacle with much force. I happened to see the entire wheel deform slightly as it reacted to this input and subsequently the bike was put a bit off kilter for a brief moment and I had to gather it up quickly to keep everything moving in the direction I had intended.

This showed me that a feeling I felt with the Stumpjumper in slower, technical terrain was more pronounced with the rigid fork at speed. Hitting an obstacle in a more lateral way, (or perhaps if you were to mis-land a jump, and side load this wheel, let’s say), would certainly not be conducive to keeping this front wheel intact. While in my experience described above, the wheel returned to its shape and rolled on, I could certainly see that I had approached the “point of no return” here with regard to this wheels resistance to lateral forces before it failed.
Blunt SL Fargo 11 003
Conclusions: So, what does that tell me? Well, for starters, let’s keep in mind that the Blunt SL falls into a weight category that is reserved for XC/racing pursuits, (420gms for the rim), and is not really intended for “general trail” riding where playful, aggressive, and demanding riding is what you and your buddies are into. Velocity makes the Blunt rim for that. So, I am not all that concerned to see that the Blunt SL gets a bit flexy laterally at times since it is such a light rim. Would carbon be better here? Undoubtedly it would, but at what price? There is the conundrum riders wanting light, easily spun up wheels for 29″ers face. You can get a Blunt SL wheel built up for far less money than your typical carbon rimmed wheel goes for. The compromise is that the aluminum rim isn’t going to be as stiff. Not with this or any similarly weighted aluminum rimmed XC wheel build.

The question is how does the Blunt SL stack up against the “apples-to-apples” competition. In that regard, the answer is easy. It holds up quite nicely, thank you very much. The Blunt SL wheels I have on test here would be great XC racing wheels, endurance racing wheels, and would probably be okay “daily drivers” for smoother riders or for those that ride buff trails most of the time. Lateral performance is really quite good for this sort of wheel, and tubeless set up is easily done with Velocity’s own tubeless wheel kit. End caps are convertible from 9mm quick release to 15QR, or 20mm through axle, so all axle configurations up front are covered. (Although I might hesitate to put these on any bike requiring a 20mm through axle!)
With the variety of ways this rim can be built up by at Velocity, and with the weight of the rim to start with, a nice, race worthy wheel set is well within possibility that should satisfy most riders needs. Of course, the option of getting just the rims exists as well, so doing a custom build with different components would be another way to go here. That isn’t always the case with many carbon rims, or some aluminum rims, for that matter. Another interesting tidbit that has come to light recently is that Velocity will be producing rims in the U.S.A. come February 2012. So, here is an opportunity for riders to support a U.S. based manufacturer, if that matters to you.

I recommend these rims to anyone looking for a light weight XC/Racing/Light Trail use rim, and I can heartily recommend Velocity’s in-house complete wheel builds. (This being the second one we have tested, the wheels have come through with flying colors.) With all the options available, ease of tubeless set up, and great performance for the weight, the Blunt SL is a good rim to base your next light weight wheel set off of.

Note: Velocity sent these wheels for test/review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review. We will strive to give our honest opinions throughout.

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