NACCC 2012: Steven Obester on A23 wheels

From everyone here at Velocity, we hope you had a safe and awesome Memorial Day.

Down in Richmond, VA, this year's NACCC went off in grand style.  Our guy Steven from the Factory in Jacksonville took home 27th overall, aboard A23 track wheels build by The Wheel Department.  Check out the race report here.  Congratulations, Steven!!!

All photos from 904fixed.com.


Bike Jerks

It's no secret that we have a special place in our heart for the folks over at Bike Jerks.  We've been supporting Jeff's events for years because well, he puts on damn fine events where everyone seems to have a good time and some seriously good racing goes down.  He's also one hell of a rider, so whenever he needs wheels for a project, be it for All-City or otherwise, we like to hook him up with our best.  We just sent over a pair of A23s for his prototype Macho Man.

Also, we're incredibly honored to be part of the upcoming Bike Jerks Kit.  Check out the samples here and leave a note with your favorite!


Hell Track 5!!

Our old pal Tom Mosher of YNOT Cycle in Toronto is throwing the 5th edition of his 'Hell Track' urban race on June 2.  Past year's events have drawn huge crowds with epic results.  Judging by this video, the course this year is worthy of the Hell Track name.  Plus, skid punt...?  Looks awesome!


A23 Wheelset Review: Bikerumor

A few months back we sent Nick at Bikerumor.com a set of A23 Comp wheels to try out as a commuter, gravel road and cyclocross wheelset.  Nick is a bigger guy, and we were curious to find out how our Comp Build, 24/28 spoke wheelset would hold up.  Here are the results!


Velocity A23 Wheelset Stock Image
Wheels have always been my favorite part of a bike.  No other single part (do wheels count as a single part?) can effect how a bicycle performs as much as a set of wheels.  My personal preference isn’t always to go lighter however.  As I am a larger guy, and the majority of my riding is spent commuting, reliability is most important.  That’s why my personal wheels are usually a traditionally built 32 whole, 3 cross build.  That said, lightweight and low spoke count doesn’t have to equal a finicky or fragile wheel.
In searching for a reliable, do-it-all wheelset that would shave weight and add performance to the bike, I came across the A23 complete build from Velocity.  The low weight, wider 23mm rim, and great price point had me wanting a set.  That want turned into possession, and with close to 1000 miles on them now it’s time to share my experiences.  Click through for the full review.
Velocity A23 Comp Wheels Full Bike 2
First, the specifications.  Velocity will sell you a set directly from their website, and they provide options galore.  First, you have your choice from one of two builds, the Comp and the Pro.  The Comp wheelset is the more stout version, and being a larger guy who planned on using the wheels off road, that is the set I went with.  You get DT Competition spokes numbering 24, radially laced, up front.  The rear gets 28, laced two cross.  DT brass nipples lock them to the A23 rim, and Velocity specs their own brand Race hubset.  Cassette body options are available for both Shimano and Campy.   Weight comes in at 1580g claimed.  Want to shave 20g per wheel?  Upgrade to alloy nipples (price depends on color).  Speaking of colors, Velocity has a wide range of rim colors to choose from so you can get all matchy matchy if you’d like.  Stock, the wheelset runs $549.
The Pro build drops the spoke count to 20 radially laced front, and 24 spokes laced two cross in the rear.  Sapim CX-Ray spokes are used to keep weight down, along with DT alloy nipples.  Weight for the complete set comes in at a claimed 1400g, and costs $799.
Veloplugs installed vs rim strip
Out of the box, the A23′s were true and needed no special attention.  Velocity also sent along a package of their VeloPlugs, so rather than a rim strip, I snapped the plugs into place and mounted tires.  I then mounted up a cassette and put the wheels on my road bike.  Being that the rim is 23mm wide, and I had been running a more narrow rim, the brakes did need to be adjusted beyond what the barrel adjuster would allow for.  Once set up and working, I headed out for a ride.  I noticed right away that the wheels spin up quickly, thanks in part to the low weight of the a23 rim (426g claimed).  The hubs roll smooth on sealed bearings, and the braking performance was exactly what you would expect from a machined sidewall on an alloy clincher rim.  That is to say, the Kool-Stop salmon colored pads being used gripped like champs, even in the wet.
The first ride impressions were high.  But was this just the joy of a new, lighter wheel on the bike, or were these wheels really the business?  After a couple months of use, and a hundred plus miles of commuting on them, I can officially say I was still very pleased with the wheels.  No weird issues had cropped up at this point.
Velocity A23 Comp Wheels Rear Hub
I decided to start experimenting with different tire options, as well as play with different tire pressures. At first, I went with my normal commuter set up, using a 25c Continental Gatorskin tire at 110psi.  I noticed no real ride difference when compared to the more narrow alloy clinchers the A23′s replaced.  I then dropped the pressure to 90psi and found my sweet spot.  The 20 psi drop, as expected, makes for a much more comfortable ride, and I prefer this set up when commuting.
Velocity A23 Comp Wheels Decals
The next tire I wanted to test out was the set of Challenge Grifo cross tires I had laying around.  I moved the wheel set over to my cross bike and mounted up the knobbys.  I set the pressure at 55psi and hit a limestone and gravel trail, with a few mud sections here and there.  Just coming off a set of Rolf Prima ECX Tubulars (also using a Challenge cross tire) I was worried the alloy clinchers were going to disappoint.  That wasn’t the case however, as the wider rim and lower pressers do a good job of mimicking tubular ride qualities.  Come race day, a tubular set up is still preferred, but for training, and all other conditions, this is a fantastic set up.
Velocity A23 Comp Wheels Front Hub
Finally, I swapped out the knobbys for a set of Fyxation Session 23c tires to fit underneath my fenders for a bit of wet weather commuting.  The 23mm rim stretched the tire out to more of a 26c, and with 90 psi again, the wet roads were no issue.  This has officially become my preferred commuting set up.
Several months in now, and still no major issues with the wheels.  The sealed bearing hubs haven’t needed any attention.  The front wheel is as true as it was when it came out of the box.  In fact, the only thing needed so far has been a minor truing of the rear wheel after around 500 miles.  That’s to be expected as you break in a new hand built wheelset however.
Velocity A23 Comp Wheels Front QR
After all this time spent riding this wheelset, across both road, commuting, and cross, I can easily say that the A23 Comp build is an excellent all-rounder wheel.  It’s proven to be low maintenance, fast, and fun.  The best part, it’s a 1580g wheelset that only cost $549.  The price to performance value is high, making this one of my top recommendations to anyone looking to upgrade their wheels.


Fort Custer Stampede: A tribute to the Bottle Trap

This past weekend the Velocity sponsored, SWMMBA hosted Fort Custer Stampede mountain bike race went off down in Battle Creek, MI, about 90 minutes south of Velocity HQ.  Our very own Jeff Jacobi of Founders/Alger Racing managed quite well, aided in no small part by an often overlooked bicycle component.  Here's his report, a tribute to our Bottle Trap.  Available in 13 colors and guaranteed to have your bottle there when you need it most.

This last weekend I was going to take part in the Fort Custer Stampede. Unfortunately, I was not going to have any support from anyone handing off bottles.  If you’re a multi lap racer you know that a good hand off person is a vital part of your survival and mental status.  Normally my lovely wife is my trusty partner in this game.  But, for this weekend she had plans as well.

 So, I was on my own. My strategy was to use a cage mounted to the back of my seat post and also have one in my frame and one in my back jersey pocket. Yeah, that’s a lot of water.  Well, I was going 38 miles off road and through some of the roughest stuff around.

As we lined up for the race, I noticed several fellow racers with exotic carbon cages and I thought to my self "Gosh, I wonder how well they hold a bottle?"  If you have ever ridden off road you may have, at some point, lost a bottle out of your cage.  I know I have.  I used to use one of those fancy 20 gram carbon cages...I used to think that a few grams off a cage would make my race bike better and lighter.  But, I was terribly wrong!!  Those exotic cages don’t hold a bottle worth a darn!  You can’t go fast by picking up your lost bottles.

Enter the Velocity Bottle Trap!   I have been using them since they were first introduced a few years ago.  And let me tell you, I have NEVER!!!! lost a bottle out of one.  And that is no lie.

Now you might think whoop de do!    That’s not that impressive.  The fact is I ride a fully ridged CX mountain bike, and ride it like a bat out of hell.  My poor bike takes some serious abuse during a race and a bottle cage is the last thing I worry about.   Well, this last week they paid for themselves ten fold.  I seriously think they were my saving grace.

You see I was battling it out with a fellow racer as we came through the transition area for the last time.  To his dismay his bottle person was M.I.A.  He didn’t have enough water to get him through another 9.5 miles and his mental status was blown.  I knew I was sitting pretty with enough water to go the distance.  Well needless to say, he fell off the pace and I finished ahead of him...all because of the Velocity Bottle trap.  They did their job and did it well through some of the toughest torture.

Now you may think, well they're not light enough.  Well think again, they're only 30 grams!  Compare that to one of those fancy cages!  I would put our trap up against the most expensive cage on the market and I know ours would do a better job of holding a bottle than the fancy ones.  And for gosh sakes what’s ten grams?  I use to think that was a deal breaker, but you have to finish to win.  And you can’t finish with out a bottle of water.

So if you’re a rider that demands performance out of your products, you may want to look at a Velocity Bottle Trap.  They truly live up to their name.

New A23 Rim Options & Colors

As most of you know, we're transitioning into a new era here at Velocity.  With production up and running in Florida, we are changing our color pallet and offering almost exclusively anodized finishes.

We recently received our first stock of red and blue anodized A23 rims!  These babies are available in 20, 24, 28 and 32 hole drillings, with machined sidewalls.  Also, our A23 Pro and Comp build wheelsets are now available in red and blue anodized colors. 

Also, we've received a small number of 18 hole black anodized rims for those seeking a lower spoke count. Black 700c A23 rims are now available in 18-36 hole drilling with machined sidewalls.

In the future, our stock color options for most rims will be black, silver, red, white, and blue, white being the only powder coat color.

Be on the lookout here for special edition color options!


Mayors who Ride

Mayor of Jacksonville, FL riding Velocity wheels built by The Wheel Department

In celebration of Jacksonville Bike Month, Mayor Alvin Brown participated in Art Bike last week in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.  The bicycle Mayor Brown rode was built for him by the Jacksonville Bicycle Coalition, and features our A23 rims, built to track hubs by The Wheel Department.  Lookin' good Mayor Brown!

Here in Grand Rapids, we're celebrating National Bike Month with our very own Mayor George Heartwell.  Today marks the 4th annual Mayor's Bike Ride in Grand Rapids.  The ride starts at the Kroc Center on Division Ave. at 6:30PM.  For those seeking a longer journey, there's a group ride gathering downtown at Central District Cyclery, which is set to leave for the Kroc center around 6:00PM.


Ladies Army IV Polo Tournament

The fourth running of the all female 'Ladies Army' bicycle polo tournament went off this weekend in Lexington, Kentucky.  Hundreds of lady polo players from around the world (six countries?!?) descended on the courts at Coolavin Park for a weekend of fun and bike revelry.

I'm a bit shy on all of the details, but these things are clear...

Cherri (pictured middle) from The Velocity Factory took home first place with her team 'Cunning Stunts'.  Congratulations!!  

Our girl Quinn subbed in on team 'Bear Hugs' and took 2nd place and MVP honors.

Quinn was subbing for Elena, who was injured during competition yet still managed to score a goal with a severely broken collarbone.  Wow!

3, 2, 1, POLO!