Novatec X-Treme J333 wheels review£793.00

Semi-carbon clincher hoops

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Novatec’s new X-Treme J333 carbon clincher wheels have come through several weeks of heavy use unscathed. These are impressive wheels, light yet sturdy and so very easy to recommend.

We put the X-Treme J333s through a few weeks’ tough commuting on rough tarmac, smooth roads and even the occasional towpath blast, and then a punishing week-long jaunt to the Isle of Wight.

The machined brake surface was welcome when braking in the wet, offering a great, dependable feel. Through the corners they stayed rigid and during out-of-the-saddle sprints and climbs they gave no unwanted movement, brake rub or undue creaks and squeaks.

After testing, the hubs were buttery smooth, the spoke tension had remained constant and the wheels were still true.

Straight out of the bag the freehub on our test set had a slight amount of drag, but within a couple of miles this loosened up into a smooth clicky freewheel, so we’ll attribute the initial stickiness to the well packed grease inside the hub.

At 710g for the front and 886g for the rear the weight compares favourably with the competition – 75g and 84g lighter than the Mavic Cosmic Carbone SL front and rear respectively, for example. These are small savings perhaps, but undercutting the Cosmic’s list price of £942 by nearly £150 is significant.

Included in the price is a second freehub body, so you have one Shimano-compatible and one Campagnolo; great if you want to switch your wheels between bikes. You also get a set of four spare spokes and nipples (a left and right pair for both the front and rear wheels), skewers and a padded wheelbag.

The 13.6mm wide alloy rim has a 33mm deep carbon semi-aero fairing and a machined braking surface, and will accept tyres up to 25mm. The hubs are alloy with a carbon outer shell, and Sapim’s range- topping CX-Ray aero stainless spokes attach with a straight pull configuration.

Using Sapim’s own Polyax nipples with SILS (Sapim Inside Locking System), the nipple can pivot to avoid the spoke bending at the nipple head, and the thread design also locks the spoke in place. This renders thread lock unnecessary, yet allows the wheel to be retensioned easily.

Warren Rossiter

Senior Technical Editor
Approaching two decades of testing bikes, Warren can be found on a daily basis riding and exploring the road and off roads of Wiltshire's Salisbury Plain in the UK. That's when he's not travelling the world to test the latest kit, components and bikes.
  • Age: 44
  • Height: 188cm / 6'2''
  • Weight: 92kg / 203lb
  • Waist: 86cm / 34in
  • Chest: 112cm / 44in
  • Discipline: Road
  • Preferred Terrain: Big, fast descents and rough surfaces like cobbles or strada bianca
  • Current Bikes: Decade Tripster ATR, Dedacciai Temarario, Cannondale Synapse, BMC Granfondo Disc Di2, Genesis Day One CX, Parlee Z Zero Custom, Storck Scenario Comp Custom, DMR Trailstar, Bianchi Pista, Cube SUV 29er e-bike
  • Dream Bike: Bianchi Oltre Disc, Bianchi Specialissima, Cannondale Slate, Buffalo Bike
  • Beer of Choice: Brew Dog Punk IPA
  • Location: Wiltshire, UK
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