Introduced in Spring 2015, Venn Composites’ filament-wound carbon rim construction brought about an entirely new way to make rims. One that could be lighter without giving up strength or stiffness, all with a process that allows for perfect 100% repeatability and consistency from rim to rim. It’s also completely automated, which cuts down on manufacturing costs, and those savings are passed on to you and me.

The rim design uses a wide, NACA-like profile designed to improve aerodynamics on the relatively shallow 35mm depth. They’re tubeless ready and come in disc- or rim brake specific versions. We’ve been riding a set of the disc brake ones for about a year as part of our Project Road Bike, here’s how it’s going…

venn-rev-35-TCD-woven-carbon-fiber-wheels-review03

The complete wheelset uses Venn hubs laced 24/24 with bladed spokes and comes at 675g (front, 15mm thru axle) and 794g (rear, QR). The hubs are convertible to work with any modern axle type and fit 6-bolt brake rotors. Total wheelset weight = 1,471g.

hutchinson-fusion-road-tubeless-tires-actual-weight-review01

I paired them with Hutchinson Fusion 3 RoadTubeless 700×23 and 700×25 tires. I’ve found to be very consistent in setup and performance, making them a good test partner.

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

I had one each of the 23mm and 25mm wide tires on hand, so I put the 25 on the front (left) and the 23 on the rear (right). Venn recommends a 23mm tire to optimize aerodynamics, which leaves a lot more of the rim’s upper edge exposed to the wind. They don’t provide charts and graphs and test results, but there’s plenty of research out there that suggests small lips can reduce turbulence, so maybe. Interestingly, I did notice that steering seemed just a tad more susceptible to crosswind gusts than some other, deeper aero wheels I’ve tested. So, A) it could be that a 23mm would have mitigated this, or B) the focus of these rims was on filament winding technology and not specifically on aerodynamics.

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and rim width measurements

Measurements come in at 27mm at the widest, about 24.8mm at the top of the rim, and 19mm internal. That’s fairly wide for a 23mm tire recommendation, but good if you wanted to use these as an XC rim, which they say is perfectly safe. It also means they’re good for cyclocross.

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

UPDATE: These test wheels were first generation and used a rounded, U-shaped rim bed with no seat for the tire to “pop” into and secure its bead. But, the current generation of rim has a revised shape with proper tire shelfs to help hold the bead in place once inflated. While I can’t attest to its effectiveness, it’s a step in the right direction to improve the tubeless readiness of these otherwise fine wheels. Here’s what the current rim profile looks like, followed by my original comments about the test set of wheels I rode:

venn-rev-35-tcd-rim-profile-2016

(ORIGINAL: …good for cyclocross…except (in my opinion) for one thing: There’s no tire bead channel to “lock” the tire into place as it’s inflated. With most tubeless ready rims, there’s some manner of flat or even channeled bead seat that the tire audibly pops into. This helps hold the tire in place should you lose air pressure…or just run really low pressures, as you might for cyclocross or mountain biking. Without this, the tire beads slide back down to the center of the rim’s U-shaped bed as they lose air. That shape makes for easy tire installation, but I’m a little worried what might happen should you experience a blowout. Thus far, I’ve had no problems while riding, though.)

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

The hubs are non-branded but worked fine. They rolled smooth and have had zero issues during testing.

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

Overall, the Venn REV 35 TCD wheels have been solid performers that introduce an exciting new rim construction technology to the market. And that is their strong suit. Aerodynamics are average compared to more sophisticated shapes, and tubeless readiness is questionable. But they’re light, and they’re stiff, and from a fabrication and durability standpoint, they’ve excelled. That, and they look bad ass:

Venn REV 35 TCD woven carbon fiber road tubeless wheels review and actual weights

The rims were laterally stiff throughout testing – slaloming, wiggling, hard cornering, fast sweepers, etc. They also rode well. These were mounted to the Culprit RoaDi, an alloy frame, with Culprit’s massively stiff stem connecting it to the bars. Even with these potentially firm sections between the wheels and my hands and arse, the ride never felt harsh.

The other claimed benefit to filament wound construction? Cost reduction. And that comes through in a retail price of just $938 for this wheelset. So, if you’re not sold on tubeless yet and don’t need the most aero wheelset, you can get a lightweight and otherwise exceptional set of full carbon rims laced up and ready to ride for under a grand.

This review wraps up our Project Road Bike build. While Culprit is transitioning out of the frame business to focus on components, they have limited inventory left. Check out Part One for details on the frame and cockpit, and Part Two for our review of Campagnolo Chorus EPS.

Velocite-Bikes.com

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RobertW
RobertW
5 years ago

“Aerodynamics are average compared to more sophisticated shapes” How do you know this? I am not associated with Venn. I am just curious about some of the claims in this article.

RobertW
RobertW
5 years ago
Reply to  Tyler Benedict

Thank you.

sad
sad
5 years ago

I’m also questioning the “average aerodynamics” and where that’s coming from. Maybe because they’re not super deep?
The wheels look nice and well priced otherwise. I’d be tempted.

From a more technical POV I’m also curious how a NACA profile is used on wheels. The NACA profiles are wing profiles thus you only get their properties on the front and back side of the rim, and obviously, its entirely depending on the NACA profile itself (which one is it?). The side is also important and I wonder how they figured that one out then.

Eugene Chan
5 years ago

Unfortunately I have a less than ideal anecdote. After roughly 2000 miles on these rims since late Spring, my front rim has a lenghthwise crack between two spoke holes that continues partial down both sides of the rim profile. It’s possible this is an impact crack, but I am running wide tires with a rider+bike weight of under 170 pounds. I’m hoping this was a freak occurrence because its certainly nice having more affordable carbon wheel options out there. I’ve just asked my wheelbuilder to contact Velocite/Victor about my case and will provide updates as needed.

Velaro
Velaro
5 years ago
Reply to  Eugene Chan

Welcome to the club. My rear rim also broke last weekend after about 15 km into the ride. Walking home was not funny. The rim flange separated on one side on a length of about 10 cm which caused the tire to bulge out. I always controlled the tyre pressure (25 mm tubeless tire setup) before every ride and never went over 7 bars.

Victor Major
5 years ago

I’ll add some information about the aerodynamics. You can find some aero data here from a wind tunnel run: http://www.venn-cycling.com/index.php/wheels/disc-brake-wheels

Basically the Rev 35 rim profile offers similar drag performance to deeper section rims (50mm+). This may help explain the handling as aerodynamically they behave similar to much deeper rims.

Charlie
Charlie
5 years ago

The flat top of the rim isn’t optimal. It should be as round as possible (like the front of a drop) as seen on Zipp/Enve rims or even some chinese rims from Yishun.