Rim reviews: Velocity Quill

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The landscape of rim brake rims is changing all the time. We’ve had to our one out for the HED Belgium and Belgium+, the Easton R90SL, the Boyd Altamont, the AForce Al33, and who knows what’s next. This escalated so quickly that we made the decision to go public with the affair we’ve had with the Rail 25 and Rail 55 rims that we’ve used for wear-out and crash replacements for Rail customers. But we’re also firmly entrenched behind the validity of alloy rim brake clincher rims.

Since our entire history is an open book, you know (or could find out) that we used to sell quite a lot of Velocity A23 rims. They were, in fact, the impetus behind our original Rail design – at the time, the 18mm inside width was revolutionary, and we thought the world needed an aero carbon rim with the benefits it brought. But you can also find out that we became disenchanted with A23s when Velocity brought production to the US from Australia. We had a lot of problems, mostly with unstable joints but also with janky spoke hole drilling and some other things. We’ve only taken a few rims off the menu, and we hated to do it but we had to. To their credit, Velocity was great about it, which made us keep the door open.

When the Quill first came out, it was too light. We were in the throes of finding out that the Pacenti SL23 wouldn’t always hold up as well as it should, and were dead set against going through that routine again. So we tested a few out, thought the overall design was great but underbuilt and unstable as a result, and that was that. We weren’t alone in this assessment, as Velocity retooled and added 40 or so grams to it, and made it a way better rim. At the time, we were swimming in great rim options, and so we merrily went on with life without it. #missedconnections

Once we sniffed the change in the wind, we took a closer look at some of the rims we hadn’t been using, and the Quill jumped to the front of the line. We ordered some, and wow had they gotten their s—t together. Near perfect joints, clean hole drilling, and super nice extruding. We built some up, and it was clear we had a great new option on our hands. They build straight and round with almost completely uniform spoke tensions, they hold spoke tension under tire compression, and the sidewalls hold straight even under high spoke tension. Without being outrageous, the 25mm depth, 20mm inside width, and 475g weight are absolutely in line with what works for a lot of builds these days – the difference between a Quill build and a Belgium+ build is pretty narrow indeed, and Quills even have a full height brake track.

The looks are, well, they look like a nice looking alloy rim. The graphics are what they are, and some of what they are is easily removed if they aren’t your cup of tea. They have a bit of a generous fit with some tires – the Schwalbe Pro Ones pictured here wouldn’t giddy up without the compressor, but Conti GP5000s had an easier time. The engagement once inflated is absolute – the tires stay locked in the rims even at 0 psi.

Pricing is reasonable, and we have the usual suspect build options loaded into the store.

 

Like absolutely everything else in the world of bikes right now, we’re waiting for more to become available. We have a very few in stock but should see more before Labor Day.


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  • Dave on

    Kerry – Unless you’re using a whole s-load of air pressure I don’t see how a 42mm gravel tire, much less a 37mm tire, is too much for an 18mm inside rim. If you inflate a 42 to 70 psi, yes you’re going to kill rims and that’s on you. In the case of A23s, we fell out of love with them HARD when they brought production to the US. We might have posted about it in I don’t know like 2012 or 2013. We had a ton of builds where you got 95% of the way done and – erk – the joint just got misaligned. They were good about it and blah blah but A23 is one of an elite cadre of rims I just won’t build.

    Quills have been great. They’d be greater if we could get them but that’s a different story entirely.

  • Kerry on

    Reading this as I had a set of Velocity A23Pro wheels which were awesome until the joint cracked on the front and Velocity would not warranty them claiming that a 42mm gravel tire was too wide for it, even though I now know with hind-sight, that my brake judder was the joint going even when I ran 37mm tires on it (which still is too large according to Velocity). That really turned me off Velocity and I put that rim aside for a year and a half while I have been using a back up wheel (which is also on its last legs now).

    I need to get my front A23Pro rebuilt but obviously will not be putting a A23 on it anymore. Rim brake tubeless rims are a rarity now, but I found the Quill. This would appear to work with the larger gravel tires now.

    How is this holding up since you wrote your article. Is there any history of joint failures with this?

  • Dave on

    Jeff – Slight nod to Quill on that (of the 8 or 10 we’ve built in the last month they’ve all been basically perfect), but the Astrals are good too.

  • Jeff on

    Dave – good to know Velocity has upped their game. How does Astral’s sleeved joints compare to Velocity’s recent production? Does one have a smoother joint at braking surface than the other? The joint didn’t look pretty on the disc Wanderlust you reviewed a while back, Astral said it was a bad batch though.

  • Dave on

    Jeff – We’ve seen a hell of a lot more janky Velocity joints than you have, believe me. They’ve upped their game tremendously on these, the joints are pretty much perfect.

    Scott – There’s always a BYOH option. We don’t put everything we do on the site because we already have 17000 options (probably an understatement), but there’s always a BYOH option.



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