Novatec X-Trail 2x2 Carbon Wheels review£590.00

Lightweight carbon chic but extremely flexy and expensive

BikeRadar score3/5Find prices on Bicycle Blue Book

Novatec carbon-coat their hubs as well as their wheels for strength, but the performance still lacks moral fibre.

We’re still not convinced the carbon adds much stiffness, and with just 24 super-narrow, bladed straight-pull spokes, the Novatecs were very flexy – to the point where they’d warp and stumble noticeably under hard cornering. That said, we did manage to get the rear wheel back to almost perfectly round after properly crisping it mid-ride.

After they’ve survived a full winter, we’ve no mechanical complaints about the bearings or freehub either, and they even come with a lube port for easy refreshing. But all this carbon will definitely burn a hole in your wallet.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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