Velocity Chukker Wheelset – On Test
I like to play bike polo. It’s a fun game, and with some exceptions not particularly hard on the body, but definitely fosters a lot of bike to bike contact. When you consider all the crashing, sprinting and hard braking, it’s not surprising that I’ve had a problem keeping my polo bike’s wheels true. I mentioned this to the guys at Velocity USA, and without hesitation they sent me a Chukker wheelset to see if it didn’t solve my problems. I told them that I was running a freewheel on my polo bike, and they were especially interested in my experiences running brakes with an anodized, non-machined rim. Having read Jobst Brandt’s theories on these subjects, I was quite interested myself.
Velocity’s Chukker rims are specifically designed for the more punishing disciplines of urban cycling—namely bike polo, as evidenced by the Chukker logo. With drillings of 32, 36 and 48 holes, they’re also geared towards freestyling, heavier cyclists and tandem riders. Of course they’re also a great choice for commuters who want to run a Deep V rim with high-volume tires. The rim’s profile is not entirely new, mind you. It’s a re-issue of Velocity’s proven Deep V ATB rolled into a 700c rim. At 24mm wide, they’re designed to hold high-volume mountain bike tires, they’re certainly at home with 35′s installed. And at 32mm tall, their strength and stiffness seem to be a force to be reckoned with.
Velocity’s complete wheelsets are hand-built in Grand Rapids. They came perfectly true with brass nipples and 14g straight gauge spokes laced to Velocity’s standard black track hubs. Some dedicated fixed gear riders may be disappointed that the Velocity hubs are threaded fixed/free, so you can’t run a fixed cog on both sides.
After one month of testing, I’m fairly convinced that these wheels are going to prove themselves to be bombproof. But only time will tell. Granted, I’m not hucking off staircases, but they’ve already taken some spills on the polo court, not to mention a few mallets to the spokes, and they’re still rolling straight and true. The brakes seem to lock up as well as they did on my old rims with machined sidewalls, even in wet conditions. I’ve been skidding all over the court and burning holes through tires. Most interestingly, even though I can hear that the pads are often gritty and wet, the anodization hasn’t even started to wear off. I’m fairly certain it will eventually give way to raw aluminum, but theoretically, that should only improve braking.
Available in black, silver, bronze and olive (shown) the Chukker rim weighs 650g. The complete wheelset (with standard hubs, as shown) retails for $330, or upgrade to solid-flange premium hubs for $375. The rims alone retail for $70 each. Stay tuned for an update down the road. In the meantime, visit www.velocityusa.com for more information.