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Wheels and Tyres

Zelvy Carbon wheelset – Long term report

High performance, handbuilt hoops at a bargain price

When picking a wheel build there are some important considerations to take into account – weight, price, longevity and looks are just a few. These Zelvy Carbon wheels hit the nail on the head.

Words: Ieuan Williams  Photos: Steve Jones, Ben Winder

FIRST IMPRESSIONS

Straight out of the box these sub thousand pound wheels have a great look to them. With a 35mm external rim width they give a great stance and shape to high volume rubber and are also wide enough to run a plus size tyre (2.8” – 3.0”) with minimal distortion.
Visually, these wheels have a high class finish with clean and minimal vinyl graphics. They would sit well on any custom trail or enduro build.

DETAILS

First off, a wheelset of this calibre at Zelvy’s price is fantastic. When this test pair rolled into the Dirt office they were priced around £800 with the exchange rate at the time – a deal that couldn’t be ignored. Handbuilt in Toowoomba, Australia, these carbon rims are available built on a choice of quality hubs and bought direct from their website, with free worldwide delivery. Our test pair are built with Chris King hubs and are running a 15mm front hub and 142mm rear. They have been faultless for the last 8 months, requiring no maintenance at all – we’ve been impressed with these hubs before and feature in the 2016 Dirt 100. The build is a 3 cross lace pattern to increase spoke length over a 2 cross – this allows you to run a lower spoke tension and gives a more compliant ride characteristic. The DT Aerolite spokes used on our wheelset are also a nice clean and refined touch, also keeping the rigidity up and the weight down. Zelvy are offering a 5 year warranty and this is transferable wherever the wheels may end up. A great thing to see, and shows they really have confidence in their product.

“There is no compromise on the blend of strength, stiffness and ride quality”

Weight wise, this pair of wheels laced up to Chris King hubs weighs in at 1852 grams, so they compare well to a Hope Hoops build with Pro2 hubs and Hope’s aluminium Enduro rims at 1999 grams. You can see that being lightweight is not the only thing these wheels are after! There is no compromise on the blend of strength, stiffness and ride quality. Setting the wheels up tubeless was simple, with Zelvy Carbon recommending the use of Gorilla tape – it gives a great seal and is really easy to apply. It’s also much cheaper than the purpose made tubeless tapes.

 

RIDE

The Zelvy Carbon wheels replaced a set of Hope Tech Enduro wheels on the Orange Alpine 160 that I’m currently riding. Straight off there is a real stiffness to the bike that was slightly lacking before and there’s a feel of quality to these wheels that shows through when rattling hard down rough tracks. If you have worries about the strength of Zelvy build, we can reassure you that after flat landing a 25 foot step down they are still true and totally intact. Impressive…
The weight reduction when fitting these may not be monumental but it is noticeable when picking up and placing the bike in technical sections.

“We use 3 different types of carbon in our wheels. To make the best rim we exploit the strengths of each grade and of each weave” – Zelvy Carbon

CONCLUSION

There is no doubt that these wheels are bang on and a recommendation from us. They are still performing like they did when they were fitted 8 months ago – there seems to be a real focus on offering a high quality product that will stand the test of time for a fair price and when compared to the likes of Enve (where rims alone are coming in at £800 each), it puts into perspective how fair the price is on this wheelset – with cheaper options available. It would be nice to see a higher quality graphic as a few areas that are more detailed have come off while cleaning.

For the 2017 model year Zelvy are no longer listing Chris King hubs as an option but there are plenty of quality hubs to choose from: Hope, Funn, White Industries, Project 321, Industry Nine and Zelvy’s own impressive Onyx hubs give plenty of choice, with spoke, rim width and graphic colour options too. All three wheel sizes are catered for and Zelvy now offer ‘Plus’ sized (41mm or 50mm External width) carbon rims in their options list too.

“This would be my choice of wheels for any custom trail bike that I build” – Ieuan Williams, Dirt.

PRICE: 2017 Example, Funn hubs/11spd Shimano freehub, 30mm carbon rims: $1,250 (AUD)

zelvycarbon.com

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