Velocity A23 Pro Build (long-term)


Velocity A23 Pro Wheelset from VelocityUSA.com

Velocity A23 Pro wheelset, they’re amazing aluminum wheels that seem to be able to do everything if you get them built right… for me that means more spokes because I’m heavy and I race cyclocross and road. I have them built up 24 front/ 28 rear.

Pro spec for the wheels includes aluminum nipples and sapim cx-ray spokes, I think they’re the best spokes available because they just seem to be extremely durable because they seem to have am increased ability to deform and return to their original shape.

Velocity USA’s website has the pro build listed at 1400 grams for a 20f/24r build. I didn’t confirm the naked wheel weight but I do believe when I weighed my heavier pro built wheelset with Michelin pro race 3’s and tubes they were right around 2000 grams. The hubs our velocity’s house brand hubs which roll great and have lasted well also. The hub bearings are sealed.

I’ve had the velocity A23’s for a year and a half now with at least a dozen road races including one endo crash where I piled into the back of a downed cyclist in the final sprint. Front wheel completely survived but had a few spokes needing half a turn or so. I was around 240lbs when I originally ordered them which is why they have the heavier spoke count. I’ve since lost 20 pounds or more (gained a little during my rest between road and cx season) and I’ve used them for gravel road races like Cone-Azalia and the Barry-Roubaix. I would use them for cx this year but I have switched to disc brakes for the rest of the year and I used powertap wheel for my earlier race (laced to A23 rims mind you). I have intentions of getting some A23’s built with disc hubs for training and as a second set for cx, my primary race wheels are velocity major tom pro build 28f/28r, look for a review on those in a couple months when I get some races on them.

The claim to fame of the A23 is lightweight and the wide footprint due to the 23mm wide rim, comparable to the HED belgium rims but much more affordable with no less performance. I’m not sure how much of a difference the width makes running 23mm tires but it makes a big difference when you jump to the 25mm tires or wider. This season my primary race wheels were sram S60’s which have a narrow rim bed. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m much faster this year or if there’s something about the narrower rim that causes problems but I ran Michelin pro race 3’s this year and last year and I had several instances where the rear tire would slide and/or bounce around more taking fast corners. Never had that experience with the A23’s, again not sure if that’s the rim’s doing or not. I ran 23mm tires in both instances since my road race bike won’t accept 25mm tires; never slid around using conti gatorskins while they were mounted to the A23 rims on my powertap wheels when I participated in some training races.

The A23’s spin up very quick, there is little flex in the wheel when getting on the heat for the sprint, and I know a thing or two about flexing a wheel being a 220lb sprinter. The wheels climb like any lightweight wheel should, fantastic (I’m no mountain goat either). The biggest change I remember when I first got the wheel is that they accelerate much faster but they also decelerate a little faster when coasting. Why? Because there was much less rotational mass spinning to keep the wheel rolling. Want to test that, get a lightweight road wheel and a 29er wheel, with tires so there’s a clear weight difference, spin them and try to stop them with your hand on the brake track (gloves recommended). The heavy outer weight (rim and tire) keeps rolling longer (harder to stop) simply because there’s more inertia.

My overall experience of the A23 Pro wheelset has been great. Next season I’m strongly considering running the A23’s as my crit wheels where acceleration and handling become more important than aerodynamics. They will also continue to be my gravel road racing wheel unless I’m running my velocity major toms instead.

The A23’s are also available in a comp build which uses a DT double butted spoke with a stock spoke count of 24f/28r rated at 1580 grams. Best thing about velocity wheels is that you can tell them what you want from your wheels and they’ll alter the build to get you what you need, like my 24f/28r pro build. They do a hell of a job building them up too.

Cycleops Alloy Wheelset with A23 Rims from Cycleops.com

About Chad Rector

I've been a competitive athlete since I was knee high and continue to train and compete. After college I found my way into competitive cycling from "competitive commuting" (timing how long it takes you to get to work, grocery store, beating cars at the stop light, etc.). My true passion is cyclocross, it's the right mix of intensity, crazyiness, and pain all in a nice compact package. I race on the road in criteriums, road races and time trials. I've stuck to cross country and endurance for mountain bike racing.
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