Novatec have been making quality wheels for years but for some reason they’ve never really made a big name for themselves. I mean did you know that you you’ll find their wheels at World Cup DH races under some fairly big named riders? Probably not. Anyway, judging by these new DH wheels of theirs they’re probably worth taking a bit more notice of.
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We can’t give you an exact UK pricing on these wheels as currently they’re only available direct for €599, but with the exchange rate at the moment that translates into something around the £520 mark. That’s for the pair. That kind of puts them in a bit of a middle ground price wise, but Novatec reckon that performance wise these will rival any wheels. Obviously we’re going to have to wait until after a good few months of testing to tell you if that really is the case, but first impressions are very promising.
The fact that they’re built up using top quality Sapim double butted spokes is a good sign for starters. So often manufacturers try and save money by scrimping on this important area. The hubs seem to be particularly good quality too. When I took the rear one apart there was a lovely ‘pop’ sound as I removed the axle. Tolerances seem very good indeed. Also, the freehub mechanism uses no fewer than six pawls, all of which have two teeth for engagement. This should prove to be very reliable and it provides a fast pick-up. The springs which push the pawls aren’t too strong either so it’s not too loud and there’s very minimal drag. I have to admit that I was cursing a bit when I put it back together as the seal was a bugger to get back into place, but then again over the years I’ve found that often easy seals equal not so good seals, and tricky seals equal much better ones. The fact that you have to undo the axle end caps with 17mm cone spanners also means that you wont suffer from that annoying thing when the cassette and freehub body accidentally fall off the rest of the wheel when you have it out of the bike. The front wheel adaptors simply push on and off though, and they stay securely in place so you won’t be losing them.
These wheels are available with either 32 or 36 spokes which means you can choose what is best for your needs. The pair we’ve got are the 36 version and despite having those extra spokes they still weigh in a respectable 999g for the front and 1195g for the rear. Not the lightest, but then again these feel like they’ll take much more of a beating than some lighter wheels. We’ll let you know how we get on with these in due couse, but from the way it looks right now we should maybe pay a bit more attention to what these guys are producing.