VeloElite’s autologically named CarbonWide 350-50 wheels are pitched squarely at the value-centric upgrade market. Deep-section wheels are an ideal step up for anyone looking for performance (or simply aesthetic) improvements to their bike, and the £1,000 price point is a common arbitrary spending barrier.
The 50mm depth is a popular all-round option, chosen as a fast wheel for flatter riding, while still being usable for hillier rides.
Triathletes, time triallists and riders looking for improvements on group rides are among those who favour this kind of depth, if they’d prefer to purchase a single set of wheels to cover a list of uses.
They aren’t just good for riders looking for all-out sporting performance though; recreational riders benefit from aero optimisation because the enhancements take effect at any speed. Any rider is able to get from A to B with less input.
VeloElite Carbon Wide 350-50 wheels details and specifications
With a maximum width of 30.1mm, this is– as the CarbonWide name suggests – one of the widest rims currently available.
The rim measures 28.5mm externally across the bead, 21.2mm internally and, as the ‘-50’ in the name suggests, are 50.1mm deep.
The profile features a blunt spoke bed, which creates a flattened leading/trailing (depending on the point in the wheel’s rotation) edge.
This is to create an improvement in stability at higher yaw angles – that’s crosswinds, for those of us not perfectly versed in aerodynamics.
It’s worth noting VeloElite doesn’t build with rebranded third-party hubs – it offers a range of quality-brand hubs, including Chris King, Aivee and Industry Nine, alongside the brand’s staple DT Swiss-centred wheels.
The CarbonWide range comprises 38mm and these 50mm-deep rims, but the narrower profiles are available in widths from 30mm through to nominally triathlon-aimed 88mm depths.
All are available from stock with options of DT Swiss hubs, and custom builds are available.
This pair shipped already set for the specification we requested; 12mm bolt-through axles front and rear, with centrelock rotor fitting.
At 722g front and 853g rear, they aren’t the lightest, but are from the heaviest in class.
No optional end caps were included, presumably because the hubs are supplied to VeloElite in a given configuration, and that’s how they’re built and shipped.
Although the rims arrived pre-taped to accept a tubeless setup, no valves were included.
Build quality is very good; both roundness and trueness out of the box are towards the aspirational standard of accuracy and spoke tension is pretty uniform across each wheel.
Graphics on the rim are simple, appear to be under the lacquer and are claimed to be available in a range of colours. However, there doesn’t appear to be a facility to choose that on the website.
Both valve drillings match up with the hub graphics – a widely accepted hint at a wheelbuilder’s attention to detail.
VeloElite Carbon Wide 350-50 wheels performance
Mounting tyres isn’t too much of a fight; the overall diameter of the rim is 632mm, while the depth is 8.2mm when taped. All that relates to a reasonable amount of space to utilise when fitting tyres, making it a relatively easy job.
The bead seat is a ETRTO (European Tyre and Rim Technical Organisation) standard 622mm, so seating tyres will make a satisfying sound as well as sealing well during tubeless setup.
The aerodynamic flattened spokes are J-bend Sapim CX-Rays, regarded as one of the strongest on the market and widely available should the need to replace a couple arise. 24 of these per wheel are laced in a two-cross pattern.
The DT Swiss hubs have push-fit caps, which makes cleaning and greasing the workings a tool-free affair right up to the point at which bearing replacement comes into the conversation.
Even then a regular bearing puller and press will be all that’s required to replace moving parts, and the only specific tool necessary would be the ring nut remover in the extreme case that the toothed driven ring which threads into the hub shell needed replacing for any reason.
That DT Swiss ring drive system relies on two toothed rings rotating against one another, one being the previously mentioned captive driven ring in the hub and the driving ring being sprung and rotating with the freehub body.
Pedalling force engages the two rings with 36 points or 10 degrees of engagement. This offers a distinctive sound, which is appreciated for its affirmation of physics in motion by some and disapproved of by others as being intrusive.
The carbon rim it’s laced to acts as an echo chamber, amplifying and changing the tone slightly.
Sound aside, the 350-50s offer a stable, predictable ride. The improvement in crosswind performance is tangible, causing less twitching during rapid changes, such as passing gateways between hedges.
That’s not to say there’s no twitch, it’s just easier to manage than older, sharper-edged rims. Maintaining speed is just as expected, the handful of watts saved meaning speed is carried a little further into climbs and a little longer after descents flatten out.
Momentum is also carried into corners, but the width of the rims means any given tyre widens too, and grip is improved as a by-product. That also means braking performance improves, offering more confidence and ultimately more speed.
The only place I can really fault the VeloElite wheels is that stiffness doesn’t quite match the other areas of performance. Accelerating hard out of the saddle reveals a slightly vague feeling, almost as if the tyres are soft.
They don’t feel flexy in the same cooked spaghetti way some wheels have previously, but they’re not going to rattle your teeth loose.
Some of that is down to the width and the increased size of air cushion the higher tyre volume offers, but having adjusted air pressures in an attempt to make the ride a little harsher, the flex remains noticeable and unchanged.
I’m not talking a night-and-day difference here, it’s a subtlety that only a rider with many kilometres on a huge number of different wheels will notice.
None of that seems to impact cornering, however. If anything, the subtle lateral compliance means direction changes are the VeloElite’s strong suit.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a long, steady curve or rapid slalom type switches, the 350-50s feel planted and unflappable.
Late-tightening apexes can be approached with more confidence. That’s because of a combination of the inherent stability and the grip offered by the large contact patch of the tyres.
VeloElite Carbon Wide 350-50 wheels bottom line
Overall, these wheels represent good value for money, combining high-quality components with a progressive rim shape and great handling for an option that has to be considered.
They aren’t quite perfect, but you’d sacrifice value in the spokes and hub to gain a stiffer rim. For a lot of riders though, the high quality of the build and the long-term serviceability of the hubs will outweigh the outright performance.
The VeloElite CarbonWide 350-50 wheelset would make a great buy for someone’s first pair of deep-section wheels, or an ideal selection as a workhorse high-use set if you don’t want to shell out for a marquee brand costing more than the bike they’ll be put on.
How we tested
We’ve assessed seven pairs of road bike wheels around the £1,000 price point over months of gruelling testing.
From varied endurance rides to high-intensity short but hilly blasts, we’ve put these wheelsets through their paces.
Each set of wheels had a list of parameters measured – including trueness, roundness and spoke-tension variance – out of the box, with measurements taken again at 500km.
Wheels on test
- VeloElite Carbon Wide 350-50
- Fulcrum Racing Zero DB
- HED Ardennes RA Pro
- Bontrager Aeolus Elite 50
- Scribe Aero Wide 42 D+
- Vision SC55 DB TLR
- Zipp 303S
|Price||br_price, 5, 3, Price, AUD $1857.00EUR €1188.00GBP £999.00USD $1341.00|
|Weight||br_weight, 5, 6, Weight, 1,575g (700c) – including tubeless compatible rim tape, Array, g|
|Brand||br_brand, 5, 10, Brand, Veloelite|
|Freehub||br_freehub, 11, 0, Freehub, Shimano/SRAM 11speed, SRAM XDR, Campag|
|Rim depth||br_rimDepth, 11, 0, Rim depth, 50.1mm|
|Rim internal width||br_rimInternalWidth, 11, 0, Rim internal width, 21.2mm|
|Rim material||br_rimMaterial, 11, 0, Rim material, Carbon|
|Spoke count||br_spokeCountFront, 11, 0, Spoke count, 24 front, 24 rear|
|Spokes||br_spokes, 11, 0, Spokes, Sapim CX-Ray, J-bend|
|Tubeless compatibility||br_tubelessCompatibility, 11, 0, Tubeless compatibility, Tubeless ready|
|Wheel size||br_wheelSize, 11, 0, Wheel size, 29in/700c|