Review: Velocity P35 Rims

Velocity P35 Rims are a reasonable choice for weight-conscious all-mountain riders looking for a sure-footed rim that’s light enough to pedal all day.

By Karl Rosengarth

My secret decoder ring tells me that the "P" in P35 refers to Kirk Pacenti, who co-designed these rims with the folks at Velocity. The "35" refers to the fatty 35mm width, which increases rim durability and allows mounted tires to spread out for a wider footprint.

The P35s are made from 6061 T6 aluminum alloy using a "sleeve joint" technique: a small aluminum alloy extrusion is fitted into the rim’s inner cavity and held in place with a heat-activated epoxy. With their 22mm height, the 26" version of the P35 rims weigh in at a respectable 545g—making them a reasonable choice for weight-conscious all-mountain riders looking for a sure-footed rim that’s light enough to pedal all day.

To accommodate my test, Velocity built a wheelset for my Santa Cruz Heckler test sled, which was equipped with a 150mm-travel RockShox Revelation Race Dual Air (20mm Maxle Lite). They laced the Electric Red powdercoated, 32-hole P35s to their Velocity brand 20mm thru-axle front hub and lightweight rear disc hub using DT Competition 2.0/1.8 butted spokes and DT brass nips. The wheels weighed in at a very respectable 1030 front/1120g rear. The P35 rims retail for $99 each. The wheelset, as provided, would retail for $600.

For the first flogging, I mounted a set of Snafu Knob Job 2.35" park tires and headed to Ray’s Indoor MTB Park in Cleveland for a day on the jumps and stunts. Thanks to the P35’s width, the Knob Job tires appeared to spread out and adopt a wide, solid-looking base. Hitting the planks at Ray’s, the set-up felt as solid as it looked. The feedback from the contact patch felt incredibly secure. I played with incrementally lowering the tire pressure, and things never got squirmy. I credit both the P35’s wide base and the Knob Job’s stiff sidewalls—a match made in heaven for park riding. Try as I might, I neither dented a rim nor pinched a tube all day. I did manage to crash and bend a spoke on a stunt, but after hand-bending it back and a few turns of the spoke wrench, everything was back to normal. It seems like it would take a significant amount of blunt trauma to hurt these rims.

The rest of my testing was conducted outdoors, including a road trip to the rugged mountains of north Georgia, with a set of Kenda Small Block Eight 2.35" tires mounted on the P35s. On the trails, the tactile feedback was best described as sure-footed and stable. I never detected a hint of wheel flex—even when careening down rocky steeps at top speed. I ran the tire pressure low enough to enhance flotation and traction, and the rims supported the tires and kept them from feeling squirmy or squirrelly. No pinch flats so far, touch wood.

The folks at Velocity tell me that the P35s work well tubeless, with Stan’s rim tape and sealant, or a similar system; however, I chose to run with tubes. P35 rims are available in 26", 650b and 700c sizes and come in black, silver, white, Electric Red and Antifreeze. Drillings: 28 (black only), 32 and 36.

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