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The VeloElite Carbon 240-50mm (Rim) wheels are a high-quality, hand-built option for old-school rim brake users, with some thoroughly modern details – such as the renowned DT Swiss 240 hubs, wide external measurements, and tubeless ready rims. They're not the lightest or the cheapest, but if you want wheels expertly built to your needs with great backup, they're a good choice.
Thanks to the unceasing march of bike tech, there aren't that many high-performance rim-brake wheelsets still available. Most manufacturers, whether budget or high-end, seem to concentrate on disc bikes these days. But capable wheelsets are still out there.
One such upgrade is from relative newcomer VeloElite: a company that hand-builds all of its wheels in the UK. The VeloElite Carbon 240-50mm (Rim) is, as the name suggests, a 50mm carbon wheel designed purely for rim brakes (though there's also a disc brake version with a similar spec).
They're hand-made to your specific needs – you tell them your weight and what you're going to be using the wheels for, and VeloElite builds them.
The rims are 50mm deep for some aero gains, though don't expect any kind of wind-tunnel testing – these aren't mass-produced, after all (and even then you might not get any info). The rim bed is 18mm wide internally, which is plenty wide enough for road tyres between 23 and 28mm, and 28mm externally.
Against something like the Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset, VeloElite's are 1mm narrower internally, but 1mm wider externally. They're a hooked design, and ours came with 25mm Continental GP5000 tubeless tyres installed. These sit perfectly flush with the wide rims, which in theory should improve the aero as the wind can flow smoothly over both rim and tyre. The 28mm GP5000 option should be a good match, too.
The carbon fibre has a modest matt finish, and you get subtle VE logos above the valve holes. If you want a low key but striking look, VeloElite's wheels deliver.
Though on paper the £1,200 tag might seem a little outlandish when a similar wheelset from Hunt is just £779, bear in mind that just the DT Swiss hubs, if bought separately, would set you back about £475.
Though it's easy to cost-save on the hubs, they do a lot of the heavy lifting when it comes performance. We opted for the DT Swiss 240 hubs, though for a little less you can have the slightly heavier 350 hubs; or for a little more, the lighter 180s. The 240 is compatible with Shimano, SRAM, XDR and Campagnolo.
The 240 hub is exceptional from a technical standpoint. Its Ratchet EXP freehub – completely redesigned now – offers improved reliability, low maintenance, and high levels of axle stiffness. Its 36 teeth offer a 10-degree engagement for instant responses.
VeloElite hasn't scrimped on the rest of the wheelset either. Spokes are premium Sapim CX-Ray – bladed for better aero performance, and with excellent strength and low weight thanks to their stainless-steel construction. By default, you get a 24/24 pattern front and rear, but depending on your weight this could change – I weigh about 185 pounds, and my wheels came in at 20/24.
Each spoke attaches to the rim with a high-quality Sapim double-ended nipple, and nipple washers ensure stiffness and strength.
VeloElite includes its own specification of quick release skewers – chunky looking items with a very solid closure system – and brake pads designed to work specifically with the directional 3K twill braking track. VeloElite says the braking has been tested up to 255°C.
The wheels are tubeless ready and come with very thick rim tape fitted, as well as good-quality tubeless valves, so all you need do is install your preferred tyres and sealant, and away you go.
Unlike some bigger brands' wheelsets, there are no spare spokes or nipples included. VeloElite does offer a 90-day 'ride and return' option though, so you can send them back if you're not satisfied. You also get a two-year warranty, plus a discount on a new set if you crash-damage your own.
In testing, these performed admirably, and easily equal the (admittedly cheaper) Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset I normally run on my Condor Italia RC. If you want to improve your average speed in a wide range of road riding scenarios, then VeloElite's deep wheels will do the trick.
They're reasonably quick to accelerate, and most importantly they allow you to glide along on the flats with less effort (for a given speed) than shallower rims. They're certainly stiff enough for my 83kg weight, too, even in this 20/24 spoke count, and hill climbs are no issue either, even if they're not all that light.
Where the Hunt wheels gain the advantage in price, the VeloElite wheels are simply better-specced. The hubs are super smooth and sound sublime, though they're pretty quiet – no worries about deafening your ride buddies with an obnoxious freehub here.
We measured these at 1631.5g with rim tape and tubeless valves fitted; VeloElite's claimed naked weight of 1545g seems about right. That's certainly not super light, but given the depth and width of the rims it's pretty decent.
The only slight negative during testing was in braking. They stop very well, with plenty of power (and an ability to deal with extreme heat), but don't inspire quite as much confidence in long, steep descents as some, such as the Hunts do. It's trickier to modulate braking efforts, perhaps because of the notched brake track, though I couldn't say for certain.
Hand-built wheels are never going to be as cheap as their mass-produced counterparts. The natural competitor, that Hunt 50 Carbon Wide Aero wheelset, is now just £779 yet still fast, good-looking, and reliable. It also includes some nice extras, such as spare spokes and a spacer, and longer warranty at three years.
It's pretty noisy on the freehub side, though, but while the crash replacement warranty is another £59, taking it means Hunt will cover the full cost of replacement.
For even less, the Prime RR-50 V3 Carbon Clincher Wheelset proves fast, stable and consistent for braking. No, build quality isn't up there with the best, but you do pay just £599.99 – they're a very reasonably upgrade if you're looking for 50mm rim brake wheels on a budget.
On opposite end of the scale, the Swiss Side Hadron Ultimate 485 wheels also have DT Swiss 240 hubs – the older style, but with custom ceramic bearings – and windtunnel data to support the performance claims for £1,950.
For immediate performance per pound, then, these aren't the best option; there are much cheaper wheels that perform just as well. However, the extra few hundred quid could really pay dividends in the long run. The hubs are really worth having, the (personalised) build is great and every component is high quality. These should serve you for a very long time to come, and I highly recommend them.
High-quality carbon wheels for rim brakes, with a hand-built touch – but you do pay a premium
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road.cc test report
Make and model: VeloElite Carbon 240 50mm wheels
Size tested: 700C
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?
VeloElite says, "The VeloElite Carbon 240-50mm (Rim) is is our race level carbon rim wheelset, ideal for those where performance is key! It is very common in the industry at this price point to rebrand cheap hubs to keep the cost down, we simply will not compromise on quality. We have selected DT Swiss 240 hubs which are an industry leader and globally recognised."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the wheel?
VE Carbon 50mm rims
DT Swiss 240 hubs
Sapim CX-Ray spokes
24/24 spoke pattern
Internal width: 18mm
External width: 28mm
Pair of Wheels
Handbuilt in the UK
VeloElite Quick release skewers included
Carbon specific brake blocks included
Stealth – standard grey small logo
Hand built and very well put together. Each wheel is built to the specs of the rider, and VeloElite says it adds nipple washers for strength and reliability, which some manufacturers don't do (to save weight).
There are aero benefits, they're plenty stiff and get up to speed easily. The DT Swiss hub isn't the fastest-engaging hub out there, but it seemed rapid enough to me. They're not the lightest aero wheels, but climbing is still good.
In my experience hand-built wheels last a very long time without issue, so I see no reason why these wouldn't be the same. Out of the box everything was perfect, and you can tell they're built to last.
Not the lightest out there, but VeloElite is very clear it won't sacrifice quality and reliability for weight savings.
They're expensive, but then they're hand built and feature premium parts too – you can pay a lot more for some of these features from big brands.
Did the wheels stay true? Any issues with spoke tension?
After several hundred miles testing, no issues (I run brake pads very close to the rim, so it's easy to tell if they've gone out even the slightest).
How easy did you find it to fit tyres?
No more difficult than any other wheel I've tried.
How did the wheel extras (eg skewers and rim tape) perform?
The skewers are noticeably sturdier, with a better closure mechanism, than other brands I've tried. The rim tape is quality too – nice and thick, and somehow seems better because it's hi-vis!
Tell us how the wheel performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good aero gains, stiff and reasonably light. Braking is strong, too, if a little harsh.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the wheel
DT Swiss's buttery-smooth hubs and Ratchet EXP freehub; it's quick to engage and sounds heavenly.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the wheel
Braking is powerful, but not the easiest to modulate on fast descents.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
There aren't many rim-brake options out there to compare with, but at the premium end you're looking at spending a lot more – £1,950 – for a set of Swiss Side Hadron Ultimate 485 wheels. These feature the old-style DT Swiss 240 hubs, albeit custom made ones.
For £430 less than the VeloElite wheels, Hunt's 50 Carbon Aero Wide wheelset is a strong competitor. They are built very well, and perform very well. While they're not quite the same luxury proposition, they do come with a longer warranty, and a crash replacement policy is only an extra £59.
Did you enjoy using the wheel? Yes
Would you consider buying the wheel? Possibly just a little out of my price range...
Would you recommend the wheel to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
For immediate performance per pound, these aren't the best option; there are much cheaper wheels that perform just as well. However, the extra cost should pay dividends in the long run. The hubs are really worth having, the (personalised) build is excellent and every component is high quality. They should serve you for a very long time to come, and I highly recommend them.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,