If Santa knew you well enough, there'd be a set of carbon wheels waiting under the tree on Christmas Day. Beating an iTunes gift card hands down, upgrading your wheels has a huge impact on your bike, though when it comes to upgrading to carbon it's not just the appeal of weight, but also the feel and ride quality that the inherent property of carbon has, it's almost a bit hard to explain without trying it yourself.
The not-so-minor details
Zelvy Carbon Funn PDL
See Zelvy site for pricing and build options.
Tough as nails.
Great feel and stiffness/weight ratio.
Customs stickers are next level!
Paying the price of carbon.
We have spent two months on these Zelvy wheels, with wide carbon rims, Funn hubs and dialled custom coloured stickers. Did we dig them? Does a bear s#*t in the woods?
Who’s Zelvy, and what are these wheels?
Zelvy is an Australian based brand doing many things with carbon including bars, bottle cages, chain guides, carbon rotors and rims for road and mountain bikes. For a young little company based in Toowoomba, QLD, they already have had a big impact on the scene by providing high quality products direct to the consumer at reasonable prices with excellent warranty terms.
All wheels are pre-built for despatch and Zelvy also carry all spares for all the hub options available. For the maddest Zelvy fans, there is the Podium Elite Program, a membership rewards program that can include everything from discounts, to free crash replacements.
This isn’t our first experience with Zelvy Carbon wheels, though, we had a great set of 35mm wheels on our Trek Fuel EX 29 early last year, they gave that bike some serious grip and sturdiness that it needed to push it a little harder. Check out that review here – Zelvy Carbon 35 29er Pro wheelset.
Why the different width rims? And does it work?
The front rim’s internal width measures 36mm and rear is 30mm wide internally. The different internal rim widths allow for better tyre profiles (a wider, more aggressive tyre at the front paired with something slightly thinner and faster rolling on the rear). It sure makes a lot of sense to us and addresses a criticism we tend to have with wide rims – drag.
35mm of rim width up the front gives the bike a whole lot to lean on in the turns, with the front tyre taking a seriously broad shape with huge air volume. The effect is instant, traction in spades! With lower tyre pressures the tyre conforms to the ground more, the width of the rim allows the low pressure without it squirming or rolling around like it would on a traditional width rim (around 19-23mm). And out back the slightly narrower rim doesn’t feel as draggy on the tarmac as the front wheel, a very good thing when it comes to acceleration, it’s the rear wheel that you need to wind up to get moving, after all.
Narrower tyres on the rear are common place on bikes, so why no the rim too?
How’d they feel?
We talk about ‘feel’ a lot in reference to carbon wheels; it’s the way they feel lively and energetic underneath you that we like. There’s the low weight to high stiffness ratio of course, but carbon seems to absorb shock whilst remaining stiff better than aluminium rims.
The Zelvy’s use traditional spokes and nipples which is handy for whoever has to maintain them, the spoke tension felt quite light to us, coming off a set of SRAM and Wheelworks wheels with much higher tension. On the trail, they felt smooth and direct, a nice balance between too stiff and wobbly.
Absolutely, they are tough enough for us on a 160mm travel enduro bike on Sydney’s rocky trails, three days at Mt Buller (the Delatite was particularly hard on wheels during opening weekend) and hammering the Flow and All Mountain Track at Thredbo during the Cannonball Festival. The wheels remain straight and true to this day, without taking a spoke key to them at all. Thumbs up, Zelvy!
During one particularly frightening moment on the freshly updated Abom DH track in Mt Buller we got offline and totally wailed a microwave-sized rock with the rear wheel, it was quite ugly to say the least. The tyre stood no chance, pissing out sealant everywhere reducing us to a halt. To the wheel’s credit the tyre didn’t unseat itself from the bead, so we continued to ride gently down the track to the waiting shuttle, once at the top we repaired the tyre without taking it off the wheel with a couple Dynaplugs, and pumped it back up, made easier with the tyre still stuck to the rim wall. We were back riding again in no time, and despite the monumental impact the wheel is 100% fine, that’s confidence inspiring for sure.
Funn Fantom hubs ok?
More than ok, we found them to be stellar performers the whole time. The small brand Funn is best known for their bars and flat pedals that Sam Hill used for years, but we’ve not used their hubs until now. Firstly, they sound great! Not too loud it’s distracting or off-putting, but the rear wheel has a zinging freehub that changes pitch as the speed increases, everyone who heard or rode the bike was impressed (the important things in life…).
Secondly, the engagement is super quick and positive too with a 6-pawl design that engages every 3.5 degrees, adding to the fast reaction of the light rims, and hub bearings don’t show any signs of contamination or fatigue. We’re going to continue to use these wheels for a few more months as we have a BOX Components drivetrain to fit on the Canyon, the cassette uses a Shimano freehub body which is easily interchangeable with the SRAM XD Driver we have on now.
Zelvy offers three hub varieties with their MTB wheels, Funn, Industry 9 and ONYX. With Funn the lowest price option, perhaps not such a flashy name but we’re more than happy with them and are very competitive at 530 grams.
These wheels are sold online with international shipping; the process is pretty easy too with an option for each step of the way; choose wheel size, hub model, from rim width, front hub axle width, rear rim width, rear hub axle width and finally sticker options and colour.
We’d be daft not to mention the customisable stickers that are an option; they offer fifteen custom sticker sets on every wheel purchase. White and silver are the standard colours, but for twenty dollars extra you can buy any of the other thirteen options. We were pretty darn impressed with the job they did matching the wheels to the Canyon Strive, blue/orange fade and all!
Pretty impressed then?
These Zelvy wheels have been fantastic during our review, after two and a half months of pounding on our Canyon Strive, they’ve exceeded our expectations, and we’re happy to recommend them for someone looking to upgrade a vital part of their bike or add confidence to a race rig.