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If you want aero on a budget, the Vel 60 RL Carbon Tubeless Disc wheelset should be on your wish list. Their deep-section carbon rims give a real-world boost to performance, and they are solid and reliable too. They might not compete on performance with the best road bike wheels if money's no object, and they aren't the lightest out there, but for this sort of money that's hardly an issue – they're certainly good value.
There is nothing hugely special about the Vels. There is no new technology, no 'out there' design, no 'unobtainium' new material that is going to change wheel design as we know it. This isn't a criticism, though. Vel has taken all of the current thinking and quality components on the market, and used it to create a well-built, durable wheelset that gives your speed a boost on the flat or when descending.
The 60mm-deep carbon fibre rim tapers from 27.5mm wide externally into a v-shape with a small radius where the nipples are seated.
The rims certainly aren't as bulbous as some on the market, and the 60 RLs don't feel as fast as something like the Hunt Limitless range, which are hugely wide, and very rounded.
Saying that, the Vels do still give a noticeable aero advantage once your speed gets above the low 20mph mark. As you get to around 22-23mph you can feel your speed increasing without the need to put in extra power – and you get a bit of a swooshy noise as they roll along, which we all know is worth an extra couple of watts.
They handle well too. Some deep-section wheels can feel fast in a straight line but once you start to lean them over or turn through a corner they can feel sluggish and a bit cumbersome. These don't.
They can catch a crosswind as you pass a gateway or something on breezy days, but not so much that it stopped me fom riding in the drops or made me save them for still days only. They feel very stable overall.
At 1,810g (with tubeless tape fitted) on our scales, the 60 RLs aren't what you'd class as lightweight, but then again if you are looking for aero gains, weight is a secondary concern. You aren't going to be buying the Vels to head off to the mountains, after all; they're not climber's wheels.
They are still quick enough off the line without feeling draggy, and thanks to plenty of stiffness from the 24 spokes, front and rear, mating the rims to the Vel-branded RE (Rapid Engagement) aluminium alloy hubs, you don't need to worry about any of your effort being wasted.
The RL's freehub offers 102 teeth, or engagement points, mated to six pawls, so lock-in is instantaneous.
Internally the rim width is 20.3mm, which makes them ideally compatible with 25mm to 34mm tyres according to Vel.
I tried them with both a 25mm and a 32mm pair, and fitment was relatively straightforward, whether using an inner tube or running them tubeless.
Vel stands by its workmanship with a three-year warranty (up from two years if you register within three months of purchasing), and while the test period has only been a couple of months, they are showing no signs of not being able to deal with the weather or the poor finish of my local roads.
They have a maximum pressure limit of 120psi, and a maximum system weight of 110kg. That means bike, rider and any kit can't be more than 110kg.
Price, though, is where the Vels really stand out. At just £799 (and £590 currently) the 60 RLs are some of the cheapest you can buy with this depth of rim.
Hunt is rarely rivalled when it comes to value, but even its 65 Carbon Aero Disc wheelset (I tested the 40/50 combo a couple of years back) is more expensive at £849. They are a fair bit lighter, though, at 1,596g.
And Scribe's Aero Wide+ wheels are available in a 60mm depth, with a claimed weight of 1,579g, for £870.
The 60 RLs are a quality package for the money. There are lighter and faster options out there, but not for this sort of money. If you are a time triallist or road racer looking for some free speed on a budget then these can't be overlooked.
Real world speed boost on a sensible budget, with reliability added in
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Vel 60 RL Carbon Tubeless Disc Wheelset
Size tested: 700C, 60mm deep
Tell us what the wheel 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?
Vel says, "For riders wanting to maximise their speed on flatter courses, Vel's 60 RL Carbon Tubeless Disc Wheelset is a rapid, reliable and great value choice.
The 60mm deep Toray carbon rims have an external width of 27.5mm, offering good sidewall support to tyres up to 34mm wide and presenting a nice, blunt profile to the air for the least wind resistance. Suitable for use with tubeless-ready or tubed tyres, the wheels are supplied ready taped, with tubeless valves in the box ready to go.
Sealed hub bearings help the wheels roll smoothly and Center Lock rotor fittings provide simple and secure braking and with six pawls and a 102 tooth engagement ring, the rear hub offers near-instant responses to any inputs, so will not be found wanting when accelerating out of corners or initiating the finish line sprint. In the spirit of longevity and serviceability, the bladed Pillar Wing PSR21 spokes have been fitted with brass nipples to make truing and replacement simpler and extra spokes and nipples are supplied with every wheelset."
A solid set of wheels if you want aero on a budget, although they aren't the lightest.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
Clincher / tubeless-ready tyre compatible
Double wrapped with tubeless rim tape
Wheel Size: 700c
Rim: Toray 24/30T carbon
Rim ERD (Effective Rim Diameter): 519mm
Rim Depth: 60mm
Internal Rim Width: 20.3mm
External Rim Width: 27.5mm
Spokes: Pillar Wing PSR21 straight pull, 14g, two-cross lacing with brass nipples
Spoke Count: Front - 24 / Rear - 24
Hubs: Vel RE Rapid Engagement, AL6061 CNC machined shell, sealed bearings, 102T engagement ring with six pawls
Bearings: Front 6902 x 2, rear 17287 x2, 6902 x 1, 6903 x1
Disc Standard: Center Lock
Front Axle: 12x100mm
Rear Axle: 12x142mm
Recommended Tyre Size: 25-34mm
Maximum tyre pressure: 120psi
Manufacturer Claimed Weight: Front - 760 grams / Rear - 930 grams / Wheelset - 1,690 grams
Compatibility: Shimano/SRAM / SRAM XDR / Shimano Microspline
Includes: Spare spokes, nipples and tubeless valves
Maximum system weight: 110kg
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
The wheels stayed true throughout testing, with no issues whatsoever.
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
Fitting tyres wasn't an issue, whether tubeless or clinchers with an inner tube.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The extras were decent quality and performed just fine.
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
They don't feel as fast as something like Hunt's Limitless wheels, but they are noticeably aero once the speed rises above 20mph.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
A good balance of performance and weight.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Heavier than some at this price point.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Vels are well priced for the specs. Scribe's Aero Wide+ 60s are around £70 more, though lighter, while Hunt's 60 Limitless Aero Disc wheels are also lighter (and arguably faster), but pricier by quite a chunk.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Yes
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
There are faster, and lighter, wheels out there, but for their price the Vels are very good – well made, a sensible weight and providing good real world aero advantages for less than their rivals.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,
As part of the Tech Hub here at F-At Digital, our senior product reviewer Stu uses the knowledge gained from putting well over a 1,000 products through their paces (including hundreds of bikes) to write in-depth reviews of a huge range of kit. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 160,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. Although, as he spends a fair bit of his time reviewing ebikes these days he's becoming an expert in letting the motor take the strain. He's also waiting for 23mm race tyres to make a comeback!