I'm was looking to build a new wheelset that I can use on my rigid Karate Monkey 29er using either cyclocross or Trekking tires for gravel / dirt road riding and 29er tires for singletrack (mostly cross country riding). I need a rim I can use with either disc or v-brakes, depending on my setup at the time. My weight tends to be around 190lbs. I also tend to be really hard on my wheels and have bent rims on my 29er before. I'm not really concerned about tubeless compatibility.

I planned to use this rim, the velocity A23, since it seems to be recommended for cyclocross on velocity's website. It seems to meet all the specs superfically. I can use it with rim brakes, it's relatively light, and it's 23mm wide, which should be good for wider 29er tires while still being suitable for 32mm+ cyclocross tires. It comes with the appropriate amount of drillings for 32 spoke mountain bike hubs. It also doesn't seem that it would be too weak for disc brakes since velocity themselves offers them in a build as a road disc wheelset.

Would the velocity A23 rim be suitable for this wheelset build? Are there any factors besides tire compatibility, spoke hole count matching the hubs, and brake compatibility I need to be concerned about?

  • I've run Velocity Synergys for quite some time (4 years on my oldest pair) and they're phenomenal! They're the same width as the A23 and I've run 35mm-45mm tires without issue. – WTHarper Jan 31 '13 at 21:25
  • 2
    One plus about the Synergy models is the off center rear rim (or front rim if you're running discs.) I recently procured a wheelset that not only has a 0-dish rear wheel but has nearly the same spoke length on the front and rear wheels (it's off by 1.5mm.) – WTHarper Jan 31 '13 at 21:27
  • I appreciate the good alternatives to the A23, however, I'm trying to determine whether this particular rim is a good choice for this type of riding. If it's a bad choice or a less than great choice, then I'm trying to determine why, so a better option can be chosen. – Benzo Feb 3 '13 at 11:39
  • It looks like universal cycles sells Velocity A23 rims laced up to 135mm spaced disc hubs. Although, using non-machined brake tracks (so I wouldn't be using this build) universalcycles.com/shopping/product_details.php?id=47219 – Benzo Feb 3 '13 at 11:55

I've briefly ridden A23's on a road bike, and while I think they'd be OK for cyclocross I did find them a bit flexy (I am ~220lbs). I've spent significant time on the delgado cross rims, and I found the A23's noticeably less stiff. I think you'd want something a bit beefier for singletrack riding, especially if you are hard on wheels.

In your situation I'd probably want more of a mountain bike rim that's skinny enough for the cross tires than a road rim that might be strong enough to stand up to mountain biking, but imagine the lack of good mountain bike options with v-brake compatibility does make the road rims more attractive (along with their light weight). Guess this all depends on your weight and trails you ride though - I'm a pretty heavy guy and ride in eastern PA where we have a lot of rocks/roots. A lot of people seem to like the mavic open pros as a 29er rim and they don't look much beefier than the A23's - I always assumed these folks weighed 120 lbs and were riding really smooth singletrack but I guess I could be wrong.

If sticking with Velocity, maybe the Dyad would be more up your alley? They look a bit like A23's on steroids.

  • Ok, exactly what I needed. If the A23's are going to be too flexy for riding hard, I think the Dyad seems like a good choice for this wheelset, it really looks like a slightly larger version of the A23. I'll go with Dyad or synergy rims. – Benzo Feb 5 '13 at 16:15

If you can find a 700c Salsa Delgado Cross rim, these will work fantastic for this application. Designed as a burly cross rim but was one of the early 29er rims, works great.

  • I do own a wheelset with these rims, I do like them for cx riding. – Benzo Feb 3 '13 at 4:33

Based on my experience with A23's (a couple posts down from yours) I'd find out first of all if you can mount your favorite tires on without too much trouble. (I know there're other factors to consider, but I had to go back to my old rims . . . and that was for road tires.)

  • Most of the tires I'll be mounting on this would be fatter tires 32c or bigger, so I'm not worried about mounting them. Bigger tires tend to be a bit easier to mount. – Benzo Feb 3 '13 at 4:34

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