Velocity used to be known for deep V rims painted in garish colors. The rims were heavy, radially overbuilt, and laterally just so so. Messengers rode them, and as an art student in Baltimore, I wanted to ride them too. I’ve ridden few rims that are as clunky as those. They were narrow, easily dented, and in retrospect, ugly. I am pretty sure Velocity still makes them if you want to channel your inner 2001 art school nerd.
Rim design has come a long way since the Deep V rims. Engineers realize a bigger rim cavity, a larger rim cross section, makes for a stiffer rim. The walls of the rim can be slimmed down as the rim cavity gets bigger. Think about Cannondale’s down tubes. They’re huge, but very thin. The large diameter makes them strong, and stiff, not the thin walls. Cliffhangers are tubeless compatible touring rims with a big cross section. They’re heavy, not because they’re wide and tall (they are both) but because they are made for big loads and minimal maintenance. Lots of big rims are under built (see 90% of what Stan’s makes) and can not handle those same big impacts or high loads. Under built rims are unstable, they cannot take high spoke tension, and are prone to going out of tru with hard usage.
The Cliffhangers are probably the best rim brake compatible touring rim on the market today. Why? Strong, stiff, machined sidewall (the Velocity Atlas lacks this, inexplicably), tubeless ready (all touring bikes should be tubeless!), able to take high spoke tension. They’re also US made. What’s not perfect? We wish they had eyelets for lower friction wheel building (not a big deal, but one can dream) and we wish they were welded, not pinned. Functionally, a welded rim is no stronger than a pinned or sleeved rim, but it makes for a nicer wheel build, and looks better too. No visible joint. These issues should not overshadow a great rim. These come in 26, 650b, and 700c sizes. The 36 hole version is strong enough for Tandem usage or round the world touring. Usually only available in black with machined silver sidewalls. If you are patient, we can get them in silver too. But you gotta be patient! Learn more about our wheel building process here, or get in contact to have some Cliffhangers laced up to one of our favorite hubs.