Velocite's Gram SL wheels have the stated aim of being 'the stiffest, highest performance low profile 700c clincher wheels in the world.' Nothing like shooting for the stars, and these hoops are good all-rounders, with a low weight and a stiff build.
Like a number of wheels out there now, these Velocite wheels use a rim that's an alloy extruded section with a bonded carbon layer over the top. The carbon is structural, not decorative, allowing the alloy extrusion to be thinner; the rims weigh 400g each which is pretty light.
Twenty radial spokes are used to build the front wheel. At the rear there are 27: 9 on the non-drive side and 18 opposite. The 2:1 lacing is something that other manufacturers – Fulcrum, for example – also use, as it allows a more even tension over the wheel; normally the spokes behind the cassette, which have less of a dish, need to be much tighter. The non-drive spokes are heavier gauge to compensate for the fact that they have more work to do. All the spokes are flattened in section and straight-pull from the hubs, which are pretty minimal in design and house replaceable oversize bearings. The alloy freehub is available in 10- or 11-speed Shimano and 11-speed Campagnolo incarnations. You get decent quick release skewers and spare spokes, and rim tape is included too.
Velocite claim a weight of 1,390g for these wheels and ours weighed in at just 8g more than that, which is well within acceptable tolerances for a hand-built wheel. Sub-1,400g then, which is lighter then most clinchers, even with a spoke count that's fairly high for a racing wheelset: 16/20 front and rear spokes is more usual at this kind of weight.
Out on the road they felt very quick under acceleration, but they're also extremely stiff so they don't ever feel vague, or rub on the brake blocks under heavy load. They were true when they arrived and stayed that way over a few hundred miles of testing, with the bearings staying smooth despite some proper soakings. The alloy freehub showed a bit of notching when we pulled the cassette off at the end of the test period, but no more so than many other wheels we've tried.
Comfort-wise, it's hard to isolate what's down to the wheels and what comes from the frame, tyres, saddle, bars, bar tape, chamois, gloves... sometimes a pair of wheels can make a bike feel harsh, and lightweight wheels have a tendency to not be the stiffest. Neither was an issue here, the Gram SLs were responsive, stiff and comfort-wise, absolutely fine. The 25mm deep rims weren't a problem in crosswinds either, although equally you won't get a shove from them when the wind's blowing the right way.
All good news, then? Well, yes. They're very good. The only issue they face, and it's a major one, is that they're vying for your money with the highly-regarded Shimano Dura Ace C24, which has a similarly-constructed (and even lighter) rim, a very similar overall weight and broadly comparable performance.
I've used both wheels, I couldn't tell you which is better; it'd be a marginal decision. The C24s retail for £775, more than the Gram SLs, but you can have a pair for a lot less than that if you shop around: less than £600 at time of writing. You're unlikely to get as good a deal on the Velocite wheels, although if you do see them discounted then they're certainly worth looking at. If you're running a Campagnolo drivetrain then they're a good alternative to the Shimano/SRAM-only C24s, even at the full retail price.
Stiff, light race wheels that perform well across the board. Good Shimano C24 alternative if you're running Campagnolo.
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Make and model: Velocite Gram SL wheelset
Size tested: 700c
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Velocite Gram SL 25mm carbon clincher road bike wheels with alloy braking surface were designed with a singular objective in mind: be the stiffest, highest performance low profile 700c clincher wheels in the world.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
EN 14764 certified (750000 impacts at 25km/h while loaded by 640N, for each wheel Carbon fiber matrix with advanced proprietary 6 series alloy welded rims for ultimate strength and durability, 400g each CNC alloy rim sidewalls with wear indicator Alloy locked nipples to prevent spontaneous spoke unwinding Low ductility Pillar aero blade spokes, 20 radial on front, 27 2:1 (triplet) spokes on the rear. Non drive-side spokes are double the gauge of drive side spokes for ultimate stiffness and reliability Velocite Gram advanced cold forged hubs with environmental sealing and widest flange spacing for stiffest possible wheels Replaceable, oversize 69xx series EZO sealed cartridge bearings Handmade, stress relieved, individually QC certified Quick release skewers, spare spokes, warranty card, QC certificate, rim tapes are included 1390g per set
Very nicely built, arrived true and stayed that way.
Fast rolling, comfortable and stiff.
Lightweight construction but didn't feel flimsy.
Very light for a clincher.
Certainly not harsh; nice and stiff.
Not amazing value at RRP but you're getting a quality set of wheels.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Light, fast, good-looking.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
C24s are cheaper.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? For a Campagnolo race bike, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? See above.
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 102kg
I usually ride: whatever I'm testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium 853
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.