NOX Wheel Review - SS Specific- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    NOX Wheel Review - SS Specific

    Hey guys, I have almost 100 miles on these wheels now, so thought I'd offer up a review in case anyone else is considering some NOX wheels. These wheels are fitted to my Lynskey Pro 29 SL that I use for XC and endurance bike races. My previous wheelset consisted of Velocity Blunt SS rims laced to CK SS hubs with DT Comp spokes and brass nips. While the width was nice I wasn't really benefiting from it (one set of tires I use was actually significantly better on my narrower Arch EX wheelset) and the 1685g weight and fragility of those rims was not helping matters. I looked at the cost of rebuilding the wheels using Crest Mark3 rims with CXRay spokes and alloy nips compared to the cost of rebuilding the wheels using a NOX Skyline rim with the same spokes and nips. The price difference came in at roughly $450, but then NOX had a sale for free CXRay spoke upgrades that saved me $130. So for an additional $320 I could find out what all the buzz is with carbon rims and avoid the concerns of another flexy and potentially fragile aluminum rim. (not to mention the frequent issues with spoke bed cracks I and others experienced with the previous versions of the Crest)

    I had the wheels built up and they came in at a svelt 1475g according to my scale, including tape and valves. ~350g of rotating weight where it matters most on a wheel, I'll take it! So, how do they ride? Well, when you first pick up the bike, the lack of weight in the wheels is noticeable. So much so that when I threw my leg over it for the first time, I was expecting some pretty noodly feel from them. How can anything so light have any amount of stiffness? That went away on the first pedal stroke. It felt like I had someone helping me push the bike. It just goes! Basically, the weight makes you think they're flexy, but the stiffness makes you feel like they should weigh twice what they do.

    I received them the day before a race, so got to put them to the test on a very twisty, technical course with lots of roots and rocks hit at fairly high speeds. I had to adjust a little to the stiffness of the rim as it really made the bike's handling razor sharp. Being a bit of a hack, I found I was fighting the bike a bit more than I should and had to focus on loosening up and letting the bike work. Line precision through rock gardens was amazing, and towards the end of the race when my legs were gassed I was really appreciating the lower weight as the course forced you to dig out of slow corners again and again. On an SS, this type of course is a "death by 1000 cuts" and having the quick CK hub engagement and low rolling mass meant I could dig out faster than before while using less energy. This is going to be key for me in my upcoming Hampshire 100 race.

    Durability wise, I've already cased the rear rim once or twice which the rim simply shrugged off. I've also had a few rocks flipped up into the rims and spokes. Hits that would have scratched or dented an aluminum rim just leave behind a little dust. If I cleaned these up right now, you would never know they've already been ridden hard for 100+ miles.

    In short, if you have the means and you're in the market for a lighter wheelset, I highly recommend picking up a set of these.
    Last edited by solo-x; 08-19-2016 at 09:17 AM. Reason: scale issues

  2. #2
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    Nice writeup. What sort of issues were you having with the Blunt SS?
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    Nice writeup. What sort of issues were you having with the Blunt SS?
    The rim was very fragile. Basically, you had to run enough air pressure to NEVER case the rim or you would damage the rim. Rather defeats the advantage of being able to run lower pressures with a wider rim if you have to run higher pressures to make sure the rim doesn't look like a stop sign after a 5 mile ride.

  4. #4
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    Over a year on my first set of NOX rims. Some scratches? Sure. Dings? Zero.

    I've heard the tires bottom out countless times. After the ride, check them out... nothing.

    Nice to not look at a dinged-up aluminum rim and wonder how much longer I'm going to get out of it.

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by solo-x View Post
    The rim was very fragile. Basically, you had to run enough air pressure to NEVER case the rim or you would damage the rim. Rather defeats the advantage of being able to run lower pressures with a wider rim if you have to run higher pressures to make sure the rim doesn't look like a stop sign after a 5 mile ride.
    Ah...was kind of figuring that was the issue. I'm tempted to try the carbon route but I'm still on the fence due to cost. My Blunt 35 on the rear has a few dents from bottoming out which is worrisome, but on a positive note it hasn't hampered its ability to hold air (yet).
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by A1an View Post
    Ah...was kind of figuring that was the issue. I'm tempted to try the carbon route but I'm still on the fence due to cost. My Blunt 35 on the rear has a few dents from bottoming out which is worrisome, but on a positive note it hasn't hampered its ability to hold air (yet).
    Honestly, the cost difference is smaller than it seems at first. Yeah, the up front cost seems high, but I had my Blunt SS rims for 1 season and the rear was ready for a rebuild. That's $200 at my LBS (new rim, spokes, nips, labor), so unless I found the time, patience and ability to start building my own wheels it wasn't much different than just spending a bit more up front and getting something both light and durable. The concept of "light, cheap, durable. Pick 2" doesn't even apply because light+cheap isn't really a thing since you have to rebuild so often. YMMV

  7. #7
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    I have several hundred miles on my Teocalli rims with an Onyx SS hub on my rigid SS. Not a single issue so far. At 155 pounds, I was tempted to go with the skyline, but wanted more width since I normally run 2.35 tires.

    Have blunt SS rims on my fiancés bike. She's only around 115, so no issues so far and usually run around 18psi.

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    The NOX Skyline rim is 23mm inner width, it's not wide. I have the Velocity Blunt 35's (inner29) and the DT Swiss XM481(inner29) if I where to go carbon, I'd get wider. Especially if you want low tire pressures and a better feel. I run mine @ 20psi and I'm 150# and ride tech stuff. I have been through a few Blunt rims they are soft but a little give is kinda nice. The DT's are stronger but now way as stiff as carbon. Personally I would have no problem mounting a 2.35 Schwalbee NN or HD on a 30mm to 40mm rim. The marketing people at Stan's with their "Wideright" BS are just trying to unload their narrow Bravo wheels before people catch on. High Volume 2.35 tires fit great on wider rims, and ride better too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by hardmtnbiker View Post
    The NOX Skyline rim is 23mm inner width, it's not wide. I have the Velocity Blunt 35's (inner29) and the DT Swiss XM481(inner29) if I where to go carbon, I'd get wider. Especially if you want low tire pressures and a better feel. I run mine @ 20psi and I'm 150# and ride tech stuff. I have been through a few Blunt rims they are soft but a little give is kinda nice. The DT's are stronger but now way as stiff as carbon. Personally I would have no problem mounting a 2.35 Schwalbee NN or HD on a 30mm to 40mm rim. The marketing people at Stan's with their "Wideright" BS are just trying to unload their narrow Bravo wheels before people catch on. High Volume 2.35 tires fit great on wider rims, and ride better too.
    It depends on your frame of reference. For a low 1400g wheel set with the stiffness and durability these rims provide, 23mm internal width is very wide. But no, compared to an enduro a + wheel, it's not very wide at all. I think that how wide you go with the rim largely depends on what sort of riding you are doing though. You won't find a NN or HD on my bike because I don't do the kind of riding those tires are needed for. Thus, there is no need for me to carry the weight of a rim that would support the kind of riding that necessitates a NN or HD. I'm more often on a ~600g 2.2 tire, and as I mentioned before, I found that one of the tires I use is actually BETTER on a 21mm internal width rim then it was on a 26mm internal width rim. So if I don't need the extra volume for bombing down hill runs or braaaaping an enduro line because I don't do that and the tires I use don't benefit from it. IME, a 23mm internal rim width is a good compromise for XC style riding. Even more so for a 100 mile, 12k climbing endurance race on a single speed with "couch to 5k" level of fitness. I reserve the right to change my mind though.
    Last edited by solo-x; 08-19-2016 at 09:17 AM. Reason: scale issues

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    Good analogy. I have had lighter wheel sets with lighter tires and agree that doing a race, especially the epics you'd want to minimize rotational mass. But since I seldom to never race I'll stick with the wider rims. I've put 2.2 Racing Ralph's on i29 rim and would opt for that combo on a NOX Farlow carbon i29 rim laced to I9 hub. if I where to race again. I just ordered a WTB i35 and i40 rim and I'll be sticking with 2.35 NN and HD tires on that set unless I decide to try the Maxis Minion DHR 2 WT since Maxis is on board with the wider rim advancements.
    [Thus, there is no need for me to carry the weight of a rim that would support the kind of riding that necessitates a NN or HD.. IME, a 23mm internal rim width is a good compromise for XC style riding. Even more so for a 100 mile, 12k climbing endurance race on a single speed with "couch to 5k" level of fitness. I reserve the right to change my mind though. [/QUOTE]
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