It was long overdue for me to finally build up a pair of light carbon road wheels for myself. I had ordered a set of Matte Punch hubs from Chris King over a year ago and they sat on my bench waiting for me to finally decide what rims would complement them.
With all the great choices out there I admit to deliberating for many months on which company and which model would grace my road wheels. After building up several pairs of excellent carbon rims from Astral Cycling on other builds it became clear who would be building my rims. This USA company is based in Oregon, coincidentally the same state that Chris King works from, hence the title “the Oregon wheels”.
So, which rim model was the right one? After some consideration I decided upon the Veil series. The Veil 4 to be precise. Its 42mm deep and weighs 445 grams which in my opinion is pretty much ideal for a carbon road rim. Its external dimension is 28.5mm wide with an internal width of 19.5 mm. Ideal for the 28 mm tires I’d planned to be riding. The 42 mm depth ticked all the boxes for me. Deep enough to offer some aerodynamic benefits but not deep enough to be problematic in strong cross winds. It also offers the right amount of stiffness with the large flange found on the Chris King R45 hub. I choose 24 holes, front and rear to keep the weight low. Sapim’s bladed CX Ray was the spoke of choice to add stiffness and to keep that spinning weight down. Light alloy Alpina ABS 5.5 mm hex head nipples were an important choice. Sapim’s HM stainless steel washers fit that nipple perfectly. They provide a perfect platform for the nipple to turn effortlessly on and help to stop cracks from forming in the rim.
As far as aesthetics are concerned, I am partial to the very subtle light grey coloured decals that are perfectly understated. Very tastefully done!
Chris King has recently celebrated 40 years in business and it was time to finally invest in a set of his impressive hubs. I decided to get a not so subtle colour and couldn’t resist the very electric Matte Punch. Certainly at very least a conversation piece when out with other riders. Since Chris King makes his own bearings I thought I would opt for the upgrade to ceramic hybrid ones. Even if it’s somewhat of a placebo effect its good to know you are spinning on uber fast bearings! I love that big 57.4 mm flange on the R45 disc hub. It adds a degree of needed stiffness in the build, especially on wheels with lower spoke counts like the ones I was building. Disc brake wheels require that extra degree of stiffness as they undergo serious forces when braking.
How did these wheels build up? Impressive in a word. I was quite blown away with how well built those Veil 4 rims were. In the initial stages of the build they were exceptionally round and required very little correction in this area. That’s a sign of a superb rim with a high degree of quality control. You certainly don’t see that every day! When reaching the final tension of about 110 kgf the rims showed little sign of being overwhelmed at this tension which is a good thing. All in all a very well designed and built rim. Kudos to the guys at Astral Cycling for keeping their quality control very tight.
The final decisions for this build were tires and tubes. I wanted light weight high quality tires with ultra low rolling resistance and tubes with the same properties. In the end Vittoria’s graphene infused tires won out. Light and fast 28 mm tires with a reputation for speed. Vittoria’s tires have been independently tested as having the lowest rolling resistance.
My tube of choice was the new Tubolito. You may have yet to hear of this product as its rather new. A bright orange high tech material that’s neither butyl or latex. The material is used in the world of speaker design but exhibits properties that work well for inner tubes. Its approximately a third the weight of a regular butyl tube and twice as puncture resistant. Its one piece and doesn’t loose air pressure overnight like a latex tube. Lastly, it folds down so small that two can easily fit in your seat bag. Pricy but exotic, I imagine a perfect compliment for my very light set up.
Shimano Ultegra disc rotors and cassette were the obvious choice to work seamlessly with my Ultegra R8000 group.
I am super stoked to get out on these wheels and I now have little excuse to not be up front and centre on those fast group rides! If you feel that a pair of similar wheels might enhance your ride, let me know as I’d be happy to build you up a pair.